Winner 2023



Volkswagen ID Buzz

Entered by:

PHD and Scholz&Friends

ID. Buzz – Feeling The Force Of A Perfect Partnership

The Challenge

You could probably draw a picture of the original Volkswagen T1 camper van from memory if we asked you to.

It has a cherished place in global culture. But that reverence was a potential barrier to how our target audience may receive the Q2 2022 launch of its 21st-century update, the all-electric ID. Buzz.

However, in Q2 2022, there was something else launching which was a modern take on a global culture phenomenon – Disney+’s much anticipated Obi-Wan Kenobi series.

At this point, you may roll your eyes at the prospect of another big entertainment/brand tie-in. Please resist that instinct.

Because what you may not know is that the show’s star, Ewan McGregor, has been collecting Volkswagen Camper vans and electrifying classic VWs for years.

As a much-loved cultural icon being reintroduced to a new generation, Obi-Wan Kenobi not only offered the new ID. Buzz a perfect launch partner, but it also offered the perfect talent partner.

But it would only be perfect if Volkswagen drivers had any interest in Star Wars.

So, we did our homework.

It turned out they felt The Force in a big way:

  • Volkswagen intenders are 29% more likely to be Star Wars fans
  • in return, Star Wars fans are 23% more likely to buy a VW
  • People interested in Volkswagen are TWICE as likely to be Disney+ subscribers

All that remained was to work out HOW to partner the two launches together.

The Content Solution

The key to our partnership strategy was to find a way of striking the right balance between the fantasy world of Star Wars and the real-life technology and beauty of the ID. Buzz.

The answer was to create a ‘hero’ ad which created an interaction between the car and Obi-Wan Kenobi characters as actors during a break in shooting.

While droids R2-D2 and C-3PO made friends with an ID. Buzz that was parked in the studio, Ewan McGregor interrupts them by driving the car off the set.

This allowed both brands to simultaneously live in both the real AND fantasy world.

McGregor’s existing passion for Volkswagen cars also saw him signed up as a brand ambassador, a role in which he would participate in ID. Buzz content throughout the remainder of 2022.

To effectively distribute this and maximize reach, a multi-wave approach was chosen to maintain momentum for as long as possible:

1. Broad reach activation

The foundation of the campaign was the hero video of McGregor and the ID. Buzz on set, which would gain reach and get people talking. We’d focus on paid video ad formats on a wide range of channels – starting word-of-mouth and harvesting earned media.

2. Additional deep engagement activations

To extend the campaign spread, deepen its impact, and strengthen the emotional bonding of the target audience, we had to tease and delight with amazing campaign extensions and executions. These would be activated one at a time across different markets to give each enough space to gain full attention dominating the public discussions for a while.

The Media/Content Amplification Solution

On May the 4th – international Star Wars Day – we dropped digital video teasers for our partnership, featuring the VW logo lit like a lightsaber.

We then activated our two-layer media strategy

1.Broad reach activation

  • Our hero video was distributed in 24 European markets across a huge variety of screens including TV, connected TV, Online Video and VOD, Social Video, Digital out of Home and – in a unique execution in Ireland – on screens at petrol pumps to remind drivers that the electric revolution is here.
  • Within these channels, a wide selection of environments and formats was chosen including TV roadblocks, Twitter timeline takeovers, YouTube Mastheads, Homepage Takeovers, streaming platforms, info screens, and the owned channels of both Volkswagen and Disney as well as various earned placements like Reddit and 9gag.

2. Additional deep engagement activation

  • In addition to the video campaign, Darth Vader and Obi-Wan Kenobi ID. Buzz special editions were created with Lucasfilm designers, causing a sensation at the Star Wars celebration convention in Anaheim, California (and subsequently online).
  • Drone shows painted larger-than-life electric Star Wars and Volkswagen images in the night sky.
  • And Ewan McGregor attended the ID. Buzz world premiere, before starring in an additional 8 pieces of video content – from behind-the-scenes material to interviews, test drives and factory visits – on VW YouTube channels and promoted through PR and social media.

The Result

The expectations of a campaign involving world-renowned brands like Volkswagen, Disney and Star Wars were high, but they still surpassed everyone’s imagination.

• We reached 87% of our total target audience with social engagements +185% higher than previous comparable campaigns.

• Our campaign delivered 8bn+ impressions globally – 5.7bn of which were earned, resulting in $43m of earned media.

But did these massive engagement levels shift the dial on VW’s brand perception and pre-sales of the ID. Buzz?

• Attention for Volkswagen grew +45%
• Volkswagen’s brand Word-of-mouth went up +33%.
• brand consideration increased +25%

• and, most importantly, by October 2022, ID. Buzz’s 20,000+ pre-orders had exceeded Volkswagen’s production capacities

This was achieved despite the ID. Buzz only being available in major European markets.

For context, a total of 1.8m electric vehicles were registered in Europe in 2022
(Source: European Automobile Manufacturers Association 2022)