Volkswagen's rebirth ad is missing something pretty vital: humans


What a tantalizing piece of creative. I mean, seriously, Volkswagen’s new spot is a beautiful harmony appealing to nearly all of the senses. A tip of the hat to all those fine thinkers who orchestrated such a masterpiece.

But it’s not enough.

The spot, put together by Johannes Leonardo, is missing one vital ingredient: humans (beside that one broody guy sketching in the shadows).

The agency, which has some awesome work in its portfolio for brands including Adidas, EA Sports and Amazon, was tasked with a monumental challenge: help VW pull off a screeching U-turn in the wake of its emissions scandal to win back consumer trust and (while they’re at it) push the auto giant’s new era of electric.

It really, really doesn’t help that the disgrace happened all the way back in September 2015. There are no excuses for why this took so damn long. And addressing it in a big way now only underlines the number of years which have past.

VW did own up to the fact it had lied to millions of people. Good. The tone, however, was too ominous -- and the brand never really says "sorry." I also can’t shake off the feeling that the company is almost justifying its past mistake because it’s led to this groundbreaking creation.

VW needs less flashing scenes of darkness which resemble that confusing battle of the dead in Game of Thrones and a greater emphasis on people.

Think how wonderfully raw and gritty it would have real humans on camera literally telling VW what it should do to win back their trust. Unfortunately, here, the brand tells you what they’ve done to win back your trust -- mock up an electric camper van that’s "not available for sale. Specifications may change."

People buy people. And there’s not one person in this ad who makes me want to fall back in love with VW.

Good luck with your electricity.

Subscribe today for just $89 a year

Get the very latest news and insight from Campaign with unrestricted access to , plus get exclusive discounts to Campaign events

Become a subscriber


The latest work, news, advice, comment and analysis, sent to you every day

register free