||Volkswagen Uses Music to Promote New Beetle
German Auto Import Uses Music to Promote Redesigned Beetle; Signs Title of Sea Otter Classic to Reach Cycling Enthusiasts
With a portfolio largely comprised of pro sports teams and endurance events, Volkswagen of America, Inc. is setting its sights on another type of property: music.
The German auto import this month will sponsor a performance exhibition by electronic music pioneers Kraftwerk at The Museum of Modern Art in New York City, and this summer will align with a handful of music festivals through an integrated partnership with Rolling Stone magazine.
"Volkswagen has fantastic awareness, but we suffer from a lack of consideration. We're looking for new ways to bolster our consideration set," said Clark Campbell, Volkswagen's general manager, experiential marketing.
VW is using the ties to promote the redesigned 2012 Beetle. The model represents the Beetle's second redesign in its more than 50-year history.
The automaker will sponsor the April 10-17 Kraftwerk exhibition as part of its year-old MOMA partnership. VW signed a two-year partnership with the museum in 2011 to help expand its presence in the U.S. market.
The performance exhibition -- dubbed Kraftwerk: Retrospective 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 -- will have eight shows, each of which will highlight one of the group's albums.
"It's a phenomenal event that won't happen again anytime soon, and it aligns with our goal to be culturally relevant," said Campbell.
In addition to the exhibition’s one-off nature, VW also was drawn to the band's German roots and use of the Beetle in songs and album artwork. The beginning of Kraftwerk's 1974 song Autobahn features the sound of a Beetle starting up, and the album cover features a Beetle on the autobahn.
VW has longed used music as the cornerstone of its TV ads, added Campbell, pointing to Trio's Da Da Da in the late '90s and, more recently, Chamillionaire's Ridin Dirty and Ted Nugent's Stranglehold in ads for the VW Tiguan.
VW is activating its Rolling Stone partnership with the co-branded Volkswagen Rock & Roll Fan Tailgate party, a music/lifestyle experiential program that features concerts and sports-related content. VW kicked off the program at the 2012 Super Bowl with performances by Jane's Addiction, The Roots and other acts.
The automaker displayed two Beetles on the center stage of the Fan Tailgate Party, with each vehicle wrapped in the colors of the Super Bowl's two competing teams—the New England Patriots and New York Giants.
The Tailgate Party also included a promotion that dangled an opportunity to attend the Super Bowl with retired quarterback Joe Montana. The Hall of Famer threw passes to eight fans in the Volkswagen end zone to celebrate the 30th anniversary of "The Catch," the winning touchdown reception during the 1982 NFC Championship Game between the NFL Dallas Cowboys and San Francisco 49ers.
VW and Rolling Stone will take the Tailgate Party to a handful of music festivals this year. The iconic rock-and-roll magazine last year sponsored several music festivals including The Bonnaroo Music & Arts Festival in Manchester, Tenn.
VW's recent deal-making isn't limited to music events: The automaker has also inked new deals in the cycling space. Those include title of the April 19-22 Sea Otter Classic in Monterey, Calif. and co-sponsorship of Bike Belong, a national coalition of bicycle retailers and suppliers that promotes cycling.
Cycling and other types of endurance events index high among VW owners, said Campbell, noting the company also sponsors the Zazzle Bay to Breakers cross-city race in San Francisco and the Bank of America Chicago Marathon, the latter of which VW has sponsored for the past 17 years.
Other ties include Major League Soccer and the NHL New York Rangers. VW also sponsors a handful of properties located around its Herndon, Va. headquarters including the MLS D.C. United, NBA Washington Wizards, NHL Washington Capitals and WNBA Washington Mystics.
VW also sponsors the Riverbend music festival in Chattanooga, Tenn., a market where it operates a manufacturing facility.
(Source: IEG Sponsorship Report, 02/27/12)
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