Volkswagen Canada has devised an inventive way to let consumers know that, in fact, there are several models of its beloved Beetle from which to choose. Rather than create an ad discussing the attributes of each model, the carmaker launched an interactive music video that allows viewers to switch up the video’s musical genre (and car model) at any point during the song.
Created by agency Red Urban in collaboration with Canadian indie band Walk Off the Earth (famed for their “5 Peeps 1 Guitar” rendition of Gotye’s “Somebody That I Used to Know”), the interactive piece is part ad, part video for WOTE’s latest single, “Gang of Rhythm.” The video is an amalgam of three distinct versions of the song–playful, soulful, and powerful. With each genre, the band re-imagines the song, assuming the appropriate personae to fit, and incorporates a different Beetle model into the scene, using different parts of the vehicle as instruments.
Christina Yu, executive creative director of Red Urban, the brand’s creative agency, says the idea to create a video with WOTE came from the band’s interest in working with Volkswagen. Fans of the brand, the band approached VW last year wanting to do something with them. “At the time we didn’t have a suitable project for a collaboration with them. As we were working on the project for the various Beetle models, we had an idea that used an annotated YouTube video. That reminded us of WOTE, so we gave them a call, and the ball just started rolling from there. This was a real collaboration between the band and us. ”
Yu says VW was looking for an interesting way to highlight the five models in the Beetle lineup, one of which is the Beetle Fender Edition. That sparked the idea of something musical. “We wanted the project to go further than a TV commercial and be truly engaging for our audience,” says Yu.
The idea itself is pretty straightforward. When watching the 11-minute video, three buttons allow you to switch between different versions of the song, taking you to same point of the song. “Basically, it’s built as one long video and each annotation button is coded to bring you to the coinciding point of another video for a completely seamless playback,” says Yu. If you let the video play without skipping to different genres, three versions of the song will play back-to-back.
“We were all very interested in using the car to make music. It was a very creative and hands-on approach to discovering the various parts of the car that made the right sounds to contribute to the songs,” says Yu. “We felt this was a great opportunity to harness technology and do something creative with it.”