Volkswagen: You Can Come Home Again

It doesn’t take a historian to recall what helped fuel Volkswagen’s 1980s resurgence—music in their ads. And, not just any music but catchy, hip, alternative tunes by little-known artists such as Nick Drake and Trio, whose “Da-Da-Da” became, for a time, intrinsically linked with 20-somethings and the VW Golf (and vice versa).

Segue to 2007 and one finds a new ad agency with a similar, battle-tested tactic, albeit turned up, “one louder, to eleven.” As reported in Jewel Gopwani’s Detroit Free Press story this week, Volkswagen plans to use not just one song from Wilco’s new CD, “Sky Blue Sky,” but nearly half of the album’s offerings—perhaps five to seven songs—in their summer product ad campaign.

It would appear to be a “win-win” for all involved. Wilco could use the exposure (and I’m sure the job pays quite well). The collaboration will also serve, more importantly for Volkswagen, to provide the strong emotional link with its core audience that, critics have argued, has waned in recent years.

Under VW executive vice-president Adrian Hallmark and his team, Volkswagen is returning to its “sweet spot.” Generations X & Y are sure to take note—enjoying both great music and awesome rides along the way.