Volkswagen Routan – having babies for it

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Automotive advertising in the US is perhaps the toughest category to work on. No wonder it takes more than just a 30-sec spot to create attention and interest. Volkswagen has just announced the launch of a new campaign featuring Brooke Shields for their mini-van, Routan.


Touted as the only mini-van in the US to have German Engineering, the features of the car are dramatized in an interesting 360-degree campaign. The idea: the features of the mini-van are so compelling that families are making babies only to have the mini-van! The Routan Boom website has a ‘mocumentary’ of sorts featuring Brooke Shields. She will also do the Baby Beat on the streets and encouraging parents to have babies for love, not German engineering!

They also plan a Routan BabyMaker3000 – this program gives visitors the opportunity to create their own Routan baby. The application utilizes facial recognition and image output technology to create a photo-realistic digital. The virtual baby will exhibit facial features derived from uploaded photos of the ‘parents.’ Once users create their baby, they can share their little bundle of pixelated joy with friends and family through social networking sites and email announcements. Hmm, bit of a stretch isn’t it?

Almost every big campaign abroad is now forced to develop a central idea that allows for a stretch across TVCs, websites, virals and social networking. Sign of things to come but with some campaigns you can feel the strain – the tenuous link between the product, a creative idea and the 360-degree approach. As with the Volkswagen Routan?

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  1. Brooke Shields is an idiot and so are the ad agencies who wrote this. Babies made by German Engineering???? Yes, I remember……..that was Hitler’s idea back in the 1930’s & 40’s…………

  2. Jayz, I agree – as I said, the whole idea is a bit of a stretch. It may have worked if it was funny or something not to be taken too seriously. This is neither.

  3. This is a very funny and imaginative campaign. Some people have VERY little sense of humor. Perhaps an ad campaign featuring the 3 stooges (with Shemp not Curly) would be more along the lines for the people that cannot appreciate it.

  4. karen vavra Reply

    This new advertising is pathetic. As a communication teacher who discusses advertising as a means of persuasion, you need to know that this ad does not work. It is not funny, it makes me cringe. It does not work and I find it hard to believe an agency thinks we, as consumers, are totally stupid. I just muted the sound, I could not stand to listen to the script written for Brooke Shields and her bizarre delivery. Never buy one.

  5. Thanks Karen, I agree. I guess its a function of agencies desperately trying to ‘break the clutter’ with a ‘bizarre the better’ notion.

  6. The ad doesn’t say that BABIES are made from German engineering, it says people are having babies so they can have the VAN, which is German engineering. In order to be a critic you probably should know what the thing is actually about. Although, I am missing something also, because I don’t remember seeing an ad for it showing the van is a plus if you have kids, just that people are using babies to get one.

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