VW literally does the robot(o)

For all the talk about robots one day replacing humans, it appears to have already happened in a new VW ad—although, since the robot seems pretty charming, we get it.

The new spot, “Electric Feels Good,” appears to be a shot-for-shot recreation of the automaker’s Super Bowl ad for the EV ID.Buzz, an electric version of the iconic VW Microbus.

The original featured a man paying for gum and happily declining the attendant’s offer for gas. As he returns to his vehicle, he can’t help but robotically dance to some unheard music, while his happy friends inside the EV ID.Buzz do the same. Once he unplugs the charger from the ID.Buzz and opens the door, the Styx song “Mr. Roboto” is revealed as the tune that’s got them all grooving.

The remake is identical, except the main character is replaced by a happy dancing robot. It, too, declines the gas, performs the same dance moves, unplugs the charger and slips behind the wheel as they drive off.

When the first version came out, Taxi creative director Allen Kwong told The Message the campaign was about brand’s long history of playfulness, in contrast to the earnest tone of most other EV advertising. “Volkswagen’s cars in general have always been fun, [but] where’s the fun in going electric if you’re not going to enjoy it?”

The quirky song was a perfect fit for that goal, he said. “We’ve heard it too many times to count in thinking about it for the spot, filming it, editing it, and literally every single time it comes on, people who’ve heard it probably hundreds of times over the past several months still hum along and sing it. It’s so catchy and happy.”

But why the new version with the robot? VW wasn’t saying much, but provided this statement hinting that we’ll be seeing more of the robot in the future (so to speak): “Our Electric Feels Good campaign continues to evolve,” it said. “The robot’s introduction leans into the iconic ‘Mr. Roboto’ song, and provides us with a unique character that can be carried forward into the future. Keep your eyes peeled for further robot sightings!”

David Brown