Brand: Routan (Volkswagen)
Execution: TV, Online, Print
Reviewer: David Vinjamuri
To promote its new minivan, the Routan, Volkswagen agency Crispin, Porter + Bogusky created a mock-documentary featuring Brooke Shields entitled “Routan Boom.”Â The four-minute online documentary anchors a campaign also featuring tv spots and print ads.Â The premise of the documentary is that couples are having children just to have an excuse to get the “German engineering” found in the Routan.Â The various couples Brooke Shields approaches all deny this, but she is unconvinced.
This campaign brims with ironic humor.Â Brooke Shields excels in her deadpan impersonation of a documentary reporter unflustered by the lack of any real story.Â It is very difficult to imagine many spots for a minivan having any interest past the core viewership of parents currently shopping for a new car, but this spot expands the pool.Â It has been successful in drawing some media attention and blog posts.
The premise of the spot may have a fatal flaw.Â As Autoblog notes, “It’s likely that the Routan is a perfectly fine minivan, maybe even markedly better than the Dodge Caravan and Chrysler Town and Country, but does VW honestly think people won’t realize it’s true origins?”Â Premising an advertising campaign – even a satirical one – on a factually incorrect concept is deceptive and will not help Volkswagen in a time of great hostility to automakers.
Branding Bottom Line:
The Volkswagen Routan is actually Mili Vanili.