Volkswagen: Inside the VW Academy

A number of brands are forging deeper relationships with the comedy sector as they strike broader creative partnerships with key comedic talent. Rokk Vodka recently brought SNL regulars The Lonely Island on board as creative directors and the trend seems set to gain pace in 2011.

Volkswagen is the latest brand to opt for a direct comedy alignment via its new webisode series “Inside the VW Academy”, which sees the automotive company teaming up with Saturday Night Live comedian Bill Hader and SNL writer John Mulaney.

The series of online shorts pairs up Hader with trained Volkswagen product specialist, Danielle Gumro, in order to deliver a hybrid of product information alongside more humourous asides.

The websiodes are available via a dedicated YouTube Channel and currently feature three videos for each of the brand’s key 2011 vehicles – the all-new 2011 Jetta, 2011 Tiguan and the 2011 Touareg.  A total of eighteen videos are anticipated to air via the site as well as featuring prominently on the brand’s main website.

“There was a real collaboration between Volkswagen and Bill Hader on the set of ‘Inside the VW Academy’ and the unscripted comedy resulted in a unique and interesting format to engage consumers,” said Tim Ellis, Vice President of Marketing, Volkswagen of America.  "This high quality online entertainment highlights our superior German engineering in a new way and underscores all the value you get when buying a Volkswagen."

The campaign mirrors a recent effort form Philips which teamed up a celebrity endorser with an actor playing the role of a bumbling marketing executive on the set of various ad shoots. The Phillips offering was much more of a story led webisode promotion, building a narrative around the couple as opposed to the more traditional straight women, funny guy routine depicted in the Volkswagen ads. Both, however, managed to leverage plenty of product info in and around their light-hearted comedy premise.

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