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Putting a Face on Fast

What does “fast” look like? It’s a question we ponder daily here at Fast Company, as we work to discover the best and brightest companies and the smartest people to cover in the magazine and on the Web.

What does “fast” look like? It’s a question we ponder daily here at Fast Company, as we work to discover the best and brightest companies and the smartest people to cover in the magazine and on the Web.

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But leave it to Crispin Porter + Bogusky to actually come up with a ‘fast’ creature — at least one as channeled through the testosterone-infused cranium of a guy between, say 18 and 49. Yesterday at the Playboy headquarters (of course), Alex Bogusky and Kerri Martin, director of brand innovation for Volkswagen of America, unveiled the gremlin, a demonic looking black resin icon, sort of a Mr. Potato Head for the hot rod set. It’s the spirit (and satanic-sounding voice) of CP+B’s new ad campaign for VW’s GTI, which debuted this week during the Olympics. In the ads, the critter urges young male drivers to indulge their pedal-to-the-metal urges with the tagline, “Make Friends with your Fast,” girlfriends and cops be damned. It’s a little creepy but, as they gently pointed out, I’m not the target demo.

Along with a dazzling array of media ‘expressions’ of this campaign (ranging from hooded sweatshirts to Google-mapped Web sites showing the coolest curves), the agency has developed the official GTI site that lets you customize your own machine, then take it out for a joyride.

And it’s providing “thought leadership” on the subject of over-pimped cars, taking the stand that this whole tuning culture thing has gone over the top. It’s response: www.unpimpmeinauto.com, a sophomorically funny site in which Helga, a Teutonic blonde dominatrix and her sidekick, a caricature of a German engineer, find various ways — including hurling by an authentic trebuchet — to destroy overly-souped-up sportscars. (Not yet live, but keep watching.) “I was so excited that we got to build a war machine,” says Bogusky, sounding just like a man who’s in touch with his inner Fast.

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About the author

Linda Tischler writes about the intersection of design and business for Fast Company.

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