Volkswagen shows off its revamped Jetta GLI with user-captured footage

Who: Volkswagen Canada, DDB Canada (Toronto), performance driving and content crew Hoonigan, Touché! (media).

What: “Power to the People,” a new campaign promoting the 2019 Volkswagen Jetta GLI.

When & Where: The five-week campaign debuted on June 9. It includes a :90 cinema ad, as well as both a :15 and :30 appearing on YouTube and social.

Why:  The creative showcases the performance capabilities of the revamped GLI, which features full sport suspension and boasts 228 horsepower, making it the most powerful Jetta ever.

How: The video assets are built around user-captured footage of NASCAR driver Maryeve Dufault putting the GLI through its paces in her hometown of Sorel-Tracy, Que, a town of approximately 34,000 people in the southwestern part of the province.

The video uses footage captured by nearly 100 people, using a combination of iPhone cameras, point-and-shoots, drones and GoPros. The user-generated content is a nod to Volkswagen’s standing as “the people’s car.” The footage was woven together by director Brian Scotto, the director of Ken Block’s famed “Gymkhana” series.

“We chose [Maryeve] partly because of her driving cred and because she was from an everyday town that had some cool hills and places we thought we could get some good footage of the car,” says Erin Kawalecki, vice-president creative director.

While they were given instructions on optimal camera angles and techniques, the shooters—which included some film students and drone operators—were also given the freedom to  experiment.

A farewell to cars: Introducing the spot on LinkedIn, DDB Canada CEO/CCO Brent Choi called the campaign’s debut “bittersweet,” since it is DDB’s last work with the German automaker.

Last year, Volkswagen moved its North American assignment to WPP following a seven-month agency review. WPP created a new entity called The VW Partnership to handle the account, comprised of agencies including Taxi, Possible, David, Geometry Global and Hogarth.

And we quote: “The norm seems to be putting your car in a crazy location, like the top of a skyscraper, an aircraft carrier or racing through the streets of Dubai—using an exciting backdrop to prove the car’s performance. We wanted to take the car to a more everyday location, so that way that’s the only thing [viewers] will be focusing on,” says Kawalecki.

“[The GLI is] such an exciting, eye-catching ride, we knew people would want to capture footage of the vehicle in action. So, instead of filming our own ad, we wanted to show off the Jetta GLI through the eyes of our fans.” —Virginie Ludmer, marketing manager, Volkswagen Canada.

(Photo: Matt Barnes for Complex Canada)

Chris Powell