Volkswagen wraps up the year with some gifts

Who: Volkswagen with Type1 for creative and strategy.

What: A couple of year-end brand ads / stunts from Volkswagen’s Canadian division: “A year in electric,” a fun and playful way to join in on people discussing and sharing their favourite songs of the year through Spotify Wrapped, and a fourth iteration of “Volksgiving” in which VW owners are surprised with special gifts for the holidays.

When & Where:  A year in the making, the Spotify “hack” was revealed last week and pushed out through social, while the Volksgiving reveal content went into market on Friday.

Why (I): Both efforts are of the sharable content variety, as opposed to big-budget, traditional “advertising.” For “A year in electric” Type1, led by Taxi, wanted to become part of the annual tradition of people sharing their Spotify Wrapped playlist while delivering a message about the brand’s commitment to going all-electric.

“It’s always fantastic when a brand can put their mission into action. Volkswagen’s commitment to carbon net neutrality is more than just a statement,” said Taxi’s co-chief creative officer Alexis Bronstorph in a release. “We can bring this to life in really fun ways, like getting in on something we all love to share—Spotify Wrapped.”

Why (II): For “Volksgiving,” VW once again gave surprise gifts to VW owners chosen for going the “extra distance to make change, support communities and help grow a sustainable environment.”

“This year, we wanted to celebrate our Volkswagen owners who go the extra distance in their Volkswagen vehicles to help bring communities together, make Canada a more inclusive country and to create a sustainable future for everyone,” said Lynne Piette, Volkswagen’s director of marketing. “To celebrate their selfless efforts, we wanted to give them a fun and special experience they won’t forget.”

How (I): Type1 created a playlist of 10 electric-themed songs by well-known artists, including “The Power” by Snap!, “High Voltage” by AC/DC, and two Drake songs: “Energy” and “Charged Up.” Then the team managing VW’s Spotify account simply listened to them over and over. (Well, they pressed play over and over again; I hope for their sake that’s not all they listened to this year. I mean do they even know about Taylor’s version?)

At the end of the year, when Spotify sent out the personalized Wrapped lists, VW got one that was “all electric” to share across social channels as everyone else was sharing theirs.

How (II): For Thanksgiving, VW followed its model of giving significant gifts to VW owners who’ve been doing nice things. “Whether building community gardens, running marathons or providing humanitarian aid, these owners have traveled far and wide to support their community, do good, and provide a sustainable experience for those around them.”

The surprises are captured on video of course and turned into digital content pushed out through VW’s social channels, along with a website profiling the VW drivers who have gone the extra distance.

David Brown