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Brand X: The Bug in the Web

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Brand: New Beetle
Agency: Arnold Communications
Creative Director: Ron Lawner

The new beetle, the modern-day "people's car," is going semi-couture. In its cheery new series of TV spots and print ads, VW is drumming up interest for its customizable Online Buying System by creating buzz about two special-edition New Beetle colors available only through the Internet. If you want a "Reflex Yellow" or "Vapor Blue" bug, you have no choice but to visit vw.com, where you can arrange everything from floor mats to financing. In a consumer age revolutionized by the iMac, VW's smart enough to know that color choice -- and the sense of personal connection that comes from choosing a color -- is a killer app. And in keeping with VW's stellar advertising track record, the new ads play off wry sell lines: "We went for subtle and blew it big time" (for the bright yellow) and "It's what happens when blue sees a ghost" (for the pale blue). VW needed a new shtick right about now -- the revived bug's design has hardly changed at all since its '98 debut. And though making a big deal about new hues is a bit like Britney Spears's releasing a new record -- same music, different outfit -- the online-only colors do make for a truly Net-ready sales proposition: The broadband car for the masses is now available in narrowcast colors.


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