“In the darkness, we found the light.” It’s an emotive statement by VW that provides the climax to an emotive film – the brand’s first major consumer response to the global diesel emissions debacle in which it found itself in 2015.
The TVC launched in the US during the NBA Finals and is supported by remakes of two if its most classic print ads, Lemon and Think Small, by Doyle Dane Bernbach in the 1960s, both of which tackle VW’s emissions problem, promising that the brand will do its bit for the planet in the future, and stating its intention to be carbon neutral by 2050.
The campaign, by Johannes Leonardo, is the preface to VW’s launch of its first electric cars. It’s also the first work by Johannes Leonardo, which became VW’s lead agency in the US February, taking over from Deutsch and Arnold.
The film is a striking new style of advertising for VW, devoid of humour and focusing on the back story of the design and manufacturing process, rather than the products that result from it. The spot, Hello Light, relies on both its own visual drama (brilliant direction by Somesuch’s Daniel Wolfe) and the power of Simon and Garfunkel’s classic hit, The Sound of Silence.
Sadly, the film’s run on TV is limited. It will run only until June 19 when a new brand campaign, Drive Something Bigger Than Yourself, launches, focusing on the environmental benefits of electric cars. The print ads will run in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal and Washington Post.