Volkswagen at Vanguard of Vehicle Advertising

Maker sponsors online programs for Museum of Modern Art.

by on Nov.14, 2014

Volkswagen is sponsoring the New York Museum of Modern Art's online programs.

When Chevrolet’s Rikk Wilde’s struggle through the presentation of the World Series MVP award to the San Francisco Giants’ Madison Baumgartner went viral it served as a poignant reminder of the pervasiveness of auto industry advertising.

At times, it seems automakers are determined to slap their names on everything from football stadiums, such as Ford Field in Detroit and the Mercedes-Benz Dome in New Orleans, to soccer jerseys, such as those of Manchester United, one of the oldest and best-known franchises in sports, which now sport the Chevy logo.

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Kia, on the other hand, has made a point of becoming a major sponsor of the National Basketball Association and Volvo is sponsoring an ocean-going sailing contest that will take months to complete.

Automakers shell out substantial amounts of cash to sponsor golf and tennis tournaments as well as variety of other very public events. Automakers keep pushing the boundaries well beyond the stadiums where football, baseball, hockey and basketball are played and dramatic television series or the Oscars or country music awards.

Competition is fierce and the effort to keep brand names in front of the public never seems to stop. Just ask anybody who has recently sat through 15 minutes of ads, mostly for cars, in order to watch a film at their local movie theater.

Continuing to try to find ways to stay out front of the competition for the eyeballs of potential new car buyers, Volkswagen has now tacked its logo on to online programs produced by New York’s Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York.

MoMA’s online courses launched in 2010 and are available via, and furnish self-guided as well as instructor-led formats and featuring exclusive video demonstrations and insights from curators, conservators, and artists.

“Innovation plays a key role for the Volkswagen Group at all levels,” said Benita von Maltzahn, head of Cultural and Social Affairs within Volkswagen Group Communication in explaining VW’s justification for supporting the courses. “Thus, we are delighted that Volkswagen Group of America is able to partner with MoMA in further developing these groundbreaking online courses, which are singular within international museum operations.

“They promote the experience of exceptional art for everyone, no matter where they are in the world. These virtual connections generate real inspiration and are valuable touchstones of progress.”

Land Rover North America has taken a different tack by employing a well-regarded British author, William Boyd, to lead a team that created an interactive digital book, “The Vanishing Game.”

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The thriller penned by Boyd, who was drafted to write an extension of Ian Fleming’s James Bond series, is described as a “suspenseful driving adventure” from London to a remote part of Scotland. Boyd’s clever narrative helps make the story. The interactive version created for Land Rove also includes video, cinemagraphs, photography, animation, sound, music and narration.

“One of the collateral pleasures of writing ‘The Vanishing Game’ was that it made me realize how prominently Land Rover has featured in my life—in Africa and Britain—to an almost mythic degree,” said Boyd. “I remember as a boy being driven in a Land Rover through tropical rain forest to the Volta River in Ghana to fish for freshwater barracuda.

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“A Land Rover is part of the mental geography of almost every British person, I believe.  Consequently, to be asked to write a story in which a Land Rover features was immensely appealing,” Boyd added.

“What I tried to achieve was to make the Land Rover an inherent presence in the story, something always there—implicit, strong, solid, reliable, ready to function—very like the part it plays in my memory. Welcome to an icon of motor vehicle history.”

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“’The Vanishing Game’ project captures how driving and adventures are a rich part of the Land Rover DNA,” said Kim McCullough, vice president of Marketing, and Jaguar Land Rover North America. “We are constantly exploring new ways to bring our owners’ passion for their vehicles to life, this time in a commissioned literary project penned by a remarkably talented British author and offered to the world through the latest interactive digital spaces.”

“We hope fans of literary adventure thrillers enjoy the story, and perhaps see themselves driving across the Scottish countryside in one of our iconic vehicles,” McCullough added.

Land Rover is promoting ‘The Vanishing Game’ through a multi-media, marketing campaign, including integrations that further enhance reader engagement and interactivity.  Land Rover will expand the story narrative with custom content. Spotify, the digital music sharing service will also create a custom playlist modeled off the music from Alec’s journey for Land Rover and proving automotive marketing is now everywhere.

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One Response to “Volkswagen at Vanguard of Vehicle Advertising”

  1. Jorge says:

    I have yet to see any statistics that support the value in a lot of big corporate advertising decisions. It would appear many times it’s all ego based and has little if any actual marketing benefit.

    If VW spent as much money on fixing their broken U.S. dealerships and improving new vehicle QC – as noted by many VW owners in forums all over the Net, I’d bet their repeat sales would skyrocket and their overall sales finally reach respectable numbers in the U.S. This goal would seem far more important than having the brand name on some entity that does virtually nothing to create sales.