Volkswagen’s newest EV ad doubles as a late-night comedy special

Volkswagen’s newest advertising initiative for its all-electric ID.4 is a late-night comedy special, created by Taxi in partnership with Touché Media and the popular Canadian French-language television network, Noovo.

It aired live on Sept. 16. from 2 a.m. to 6 a.m., with late-night viewers seeing the brand’s spokesperson and Quebec comedian Pier-Luc Funk perform improvised comedy sketches while waiting for his ID.4 to charge.

A 40-minute version of the special is now available for streaming on, along with four smaller clips showcasing the best of Funk’s sketches. 

At a time when nearly every auto brand is advertising electric vehicles, there’s a lot of noise to compete with, said Taxi’s group creative director, Allen Kwong. “We felt that by turning unused media into entertainment, and disarming people with comedy, we were able to stand out.”

The segment, titled “Sans Émission,” was filmed in a single-sequence, using a soundstage that doubled as an EV charging station. “Sans Émission” has two meanings in Quebec: “No broadcast,” indicating the overnight period when TV stations go dark, and “No emission,” a reference to the lack of greenhouse gasses produced by electric vehicles.

The late-night special was also fitting because it’s typically the time when owners charge their EVs, said Kwong.

Taxi spent about a year researching with Touché Media to determine the right partner for the campaign, before landing on Noovo.

The live stream was teased as if it were a real TV show starring the popular comedian, and timed to coincide with the highly anticipated fall TV season in Quebec, when viewers are looking out for new television series.

It was promoted via out-of-home, OLV, digital, social and radio. “We had listings in the TV guide in advance of the live broadcast, so we really did treat it like entertainment,” said Kwong.

Volkswagen’s social team also pulled an all-nighter to post live commentary alongside the stream. “The Volkswagen brand has always had an interesting, quirky, humorous tone,” said Kwong, adding that the stars aligned to reach viewers through the late-night media space.

Emma Johnston-Wheeler