VW Revamps Punch Bug Game In New Marketing Plan

By Auto News Log • February 1st, 2010

HERNDON, Va. — A new version of the game “Punch Bug” is what executives from Volkswagen of America plan to use as a marketing centerpiece that will kick off during the Super Bowl.

What VW officials now are calling it is “Punch Dub,” and it is based on the game that children used to play back in the original Beetle’s heyday. That version, known as “Punch Bug” or “Slug Bug,” consisted of the first person to see a Beetle yelling “Punch Bug” and playfully slugging his or her friend.

Volkswagen will debut the “Punch Dub” — as in VEE-Dub — campaign in a 30-second ad during the third quarter of Super Bowl XLIV this Sunday and through a new online campaign.

The ad, which includes a special cameo by actor and comedian Tracy Morgan, will show a variety of people in different driving situations gently slugging others in the arm every time they spot a Routan, Tiguan, CC or any other Volkswagen model.

An online version of “Punch Dub” can be found at the automaker’s Facebook page at www.facebook.com/vw. That version also will launch on Super Bowl Sunday.

The purpose of the online platform is to engage people with the entire Volkswagen product family and encourage them to dole out virtual “slugs” to friends and family. Players can pick any one of 13 VW vehicles, customize their punch and choose a Facebook friend. An online guide can help players develop and hone their punching techniques.

Meanwhile, there is more to the concept beyond the slug pleasure. VW explained that the more friends that users punch, the better their chances are of winning a weekly prize, which is six-month lease on specific vehicles. The campaign’s grand prize is a new Volkswagen CC.

The automaker also found the creator of the original “Punch Bug” game. The company is rolling out other special online concepts involving Charlie “Sluggy” Patterson.

Consumers now can interact with “Sluggy” through a special blog and Twitter feed. The sites for those opportunities are www.sluggy.posterous.com and www.twitter.com/sluggypatterson.

Furthermore, a series of videos on YouTube is available at www.youtube.com/vw.

Volkswagen executives have high hopes for what this latest campaign can do for enhanced brand recognition.

“‘Punch Dub’ is a fun, engaging way to reintroduce Volkswagen and its growing product family to millions of Americans during one of the most watched television events of the year, the Super Bowl,” explained Tim Ellis, vice president of marketing for Volkswagen of America.

“The campaign is a modern twist on a classic game that has been played on America’s highways for generations and will help consumers gain a new perspective on the breadth of our vehicle offerings, quality, performance and value,” Ellis continued.

The Super Bowl commercial and “Punch Dub” campaign were developed for Volkswagen by its new creative agency, Deutsch LA.

“Volkswagen is one of the most beloved brands in this country, but people have a misperception that it only sells cars for the young,” explained Eric Hirshberg, chief executive officer and chief creative officer of Deutsch LA.

“We needed to find a way to let people know that Volkswagen makes 13 different models, in a way that still felt right for the brand,” Hirshberg went on to state.

“Changing the game of ‘Punch Bug’ to the game of ‘Punch Dub’ and making it about all Volkswagen is the perfect way to do that,” he insisted.

“It tells you something nobody knows in a way that everyone can relate to,” Hirshberg concluded.

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