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Is VW Pushing the Wrong EV With its VW BUZZ Ads?

Volkswagen has just launched a new ad campaign spotlighting their involvement in moving towards an electric future.  Following the release of the “Hello Light” ad which hit the public on June 5th, the Volkswagen “Drive Bigger” campaign looks to showcase the ID. Buzz with a much more lighthearted feel.

But wait.  The ID. Buzz does not come out until 2022.  What exactly is Volkswagen doing?

Volkswagen “Drive Bigger” Campaign

Volkswagen’s newest advertising crusade is aiming to be a nostalgic return to the fun, engaging ads the company released in the 50s and 60s.   The ads are slated to run in print, television, digital, and social media platforms.

“‘Drive Bigger’ isn’t just a slogan – it’s the definition of Volkswagen’s calling to work towards a larger purpose, including its pledge to [a] goal of global carbon neutrality across our fleet, production and administration by 2050,” said Volkswagen in a press release about their newest ad campaign.  “Our goal is to become a benchmark of environmental responsibility in our industry, an automaker that inspires people; not just through our vehicles, but by how we go about our business. It’s time to make VW stand for something again.”

Their newest ad, “Something Big“, seems focused less on pitching its vehicles and more on brand introspection and pushing ideals of environmentalism and acts of kindness.  “In a time where the world has long catered to self-interest, we will invite people to see a more progressive path,” said Jim Zabel, the senior vice president of marketing for VW America, said in a statement. “It’s a point of view we’re dedicated to as we look to the future and it’s a belief we can champion as we evolve our values in classic Volkswagen style: with humility, humanity, and humor.”

What About the ID. 3 or Crozz?

The thing is, the Volkswagen ID. Buzz is not the first electric car coming in Volkswagen’s upcoming lineup.  In fact, the ID. Crozz and ID. 3 are both expected to roll out in 2020, the first in an expected wave of 27 electric vehicles to be released by 2025.  But neither of these cars are being seen in ads– the current hype is all about the electric bus. 

On one hand, I can see the appeal of doing so.  The Volkswagen bus has almost a cult following in the U.S. as a symbol of freedom and hippie romanticism that remains a cultural icon to this day.  There are bound to be loads of people out there who get excited seeing these ads.  Even I think that seeing the Volkswagen bus rebirthed in an electric form is pretty cool. 

But on the other hand, it seems a little strange to focus on a vehicle that is little more than a concept model at this point.  Is Volkswagen trying to drum up excitement in general and let the other models ride the ID. Buzz wave?  Or is this just another attempt by Volkswagen at greenwashing their company in order to bury Dieselgate as quickly as possible so that they can capitalize on electric cars?  I for one really hope that it is the former.

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