Best Branded Content - Volkswagen Old Wives Videos

Posted in Insights

A good content strategy is always dependent on execution. An idea only gets a brand so far, and an idea that doesn’t fit within the brand doesn’t do much of anything—well, nothing good anyway. Last month we showed how even a brand with a notoriously terrible reputation, with more foes than friends, can still create impactful content worthy of respect and admiration.

This month, we explore the strategy of literal redirection, wherein a brand takes a literal approach to the messaging, or focuses its attention on the pre-conceived ideas the audience may have, and redirects in a clever, branded, and informational way.

In Volkswagen’s creative effort of dispelling rumors (or, “Old Wives Tales”) surrounding the diesel engine, it packed three Old Wives in one of its new diesel cars while each rumor was broached and then dismissed by the comedic trio, seen here in four, 30-second spots.

Literal Redirection
What we have is a brand addressing the concerns surrounding its product in a candid, literal manner. “They” say diesel is slow, so let’s show them how fast the car can go. “They” say diesel is loud, so let’s show them how you can’t even hear when it’s powered on. “They” say it’s hard to find stations to re-fuel diesel, so let’s show them not only a cool gadget in the car, but also the ubiquitous places to fill up. “They” say diesel stinks, so let’s show them that it’s actually the (Internet-famous) dog Tuna who stinks, and not actually the car.

The connective tissue of the three Old Wives aides in the creative execution of the intended education. Viewers are flooded with facts and figures (and Matthew McConaughey’s ramblings) in every other car commercial, wherein here they’re treated to a bit of fun; these are the relatable arguments viewers have probably had with their own grandmothers over the “latest thing”. And (most likely) like your grandmother’s stories, the interpretation of the concerns is so literal they become comedic.

This strategy is successful because the brand is addressing a viewer’s initial thoughts and concerns without any room for interpretation. It’s pretty straightforward. And when you only have 30-seconds to sell an idea and a product, you don’t want to waste it on over-explanation. The viewer “gets” this; they understand what’s being communicated. Sprinkle in the added spice of the Old Wives, and they enjoy it, too.

FINE’s Literal Redirection

This strategy was most recently seen in FINE’s work on the Adrian award-winning Kimpton yoga mat campaign and the loaner bike branding campaign. In print, the yoga campaign shows guests in expected yoga poses, but the copy redirects this literal interpretation with creative plays on words. The campaign imagery, courtesy of a custom photo shoot, demonstrates the many ways to “find in-room peace” with poses that suggest yoga integrated with family, business, and leisure time. It helps elevate Kimpton’s beloved irreverence while showcasing its highly stylized environments, all in a matter of one powerful shot and a few words of copy.

Likewise, to promote Kimpton’s guest loaner bike program, custom photography and messaging account for all the ways you'll find bikes woven into the guest experience that put a spin on the average hotel stay. This redirection on literal bike uses adds an element of fun and instantly makes the campaign one to remember. It’s an exceptional brand touchpoint, symbolizing the values of fitness, lifestyle, design, and the environment that Kimpton’s always embraced.

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