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VIDEO of VW Super Bowl ad: NO CARS, but lots of happiness???

OMG! WTH? EPIC FAIL? Well, we will have to see, but Volkswagen released a teaser of its 2013 Super Bowl ad that is only missing ONE key traditional facet of automotive advertising: the car. The unusual ad is a mashup of the uhappiest people documented in viral videos on the web with a musical overlay of Jimmy Cliff's classic song, C'mon Get Happy, according to Automotive News.


The piece was apparently created in the spirit of the marque's previous SMILES ad. Now, the teaser ad it isn't a full version of the one for the big game, but even going for 30 seconds without a car seems risky - especially for a brand that finished 2012 near the back of the pack in sales with a 3 percent market share in the U.S.

"Touchy-feely" ads didn't work so well with the launch of the Infinity brand, and I don't think it's the wisest investment for Volkswagen at this juncture, ESPECIALLY with a Motor Trend Car of the Year in the stable. My opinion, of course. What's yours? Any VW stores excited about this?

Tom LaPointe
Interactive Media Manager / Industry Analyst
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Views: 1067

Tags: VW, Volkswagen, ads, advertising, fail, marketing, sales, super-bowl, television, tv


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Comment by Peter Duffy on January 25, 2013 at 1:44pm

It's absolutely brilliant. Make it about the people, not about YOU the company. Volkswagen has always had marketing that dwarfed other car manufacturers. Fantastic, and very very well done. I can't wait to see the rest. -p

Comment by Ken Dugas on January 25, 2013 at 1:36pm

Actually...I think it's refreshing!

Comment by Ken Nix on January 25, 2013 at 1:32pm

Being the founder of, I have first hand knowledge that VW owners are on the norm happier, as long as they didn't buy their VW between 1995 and 2005 ;).  Volkswagen is a state of mind, not just a car. Even the majority of people who bought between 95 and 05 still defend their Vdubs with gusto, even though they may have dealt with tons of  Electrical Problems (IMO). VW has always been associated with quirkiness, weirdness, comrodery, and just plain strange. Even the word sounds weird and looks like it is misspelled. Should it be Volkswagon?? Go ahead and say Volkswagen to a stranger. Then say nothing else until they do. I'll bet 9 out of ten will crack a smile thinking of a VW commercial or something funny associated with VW. Like the time they Slugbugged a friend so hard that they had to go to Urgent Care. BTW, If they smile, most likely, They're HAPPY...

Comment by David Leger on January 25, 2013 at 1:26pm

Personally... I like it... Risky... YES... Will it get buzz? YES... It's a brand ad, and as far as teasers go... I think it's a good one... You get a bit of that WTF effect... Sometimes, it's about creating a feeling, not selling a car. They took a risk and ventured outside of the norms or car advertising... But again it's a teaser... I like it.

Comment by Dave Immel on January 25, 2013 at 1:19pm

I posted the same comment on You Tube yesterday when I saw the VW tease.  Did I miss the car?  And...after last years hit with Darth Vader, WTH?????

Comment by Tom Gorham on January 25, 2013 at 1:18pm


Comment by Charles Kim on January 25, 2013 at 1:16pm

Apparently everyone missed the tagline "Game Day - 2.13.13"...this is a pre-Super Bowl spot...not the actual Super Bowl spot...

Comment by Joe Webb on January 25, 2013 at 1:14pm

Okay... okay. I'll do it. I'll make sure to create a commercial for 2014's Super Bowl.  Which OEM will hire me to do this?

Comment by Ralph Paglia on January 25, 2013 at 1:04pm

Sure seems like they could have achieved the same emotional response with visuals that incorporate actual VW products... I am a professional marketer and I know how important it is to use a venue like the Super Bowl to stimulate a strong emotional response that resonates long enough to impact the effectiveness of all advertising across all media that follows the big event... However, why not incorporate the advertiser's products in the ad itself? What would be so wrong with seeing a bunch of people pulling into a parking lot in their VW cars and SUV's to achieve the same effect as all those people running through a grassy meadow?  This looks to me more like a TV commercial designed to win awards for the agency  rather than to serve the needs of the client... Volkswagen and its dealer network.  How many people are going to talk about how great this TV spot is, but not remember who the company is or what they sell?

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