VW Teams Up With Funny or Die for Target Shopping Trip

Shorter Version of Native Ad Will Run on Turner TV Properties

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What is a Volkswagen doing zooming around inside a Target store?

Looking for a laugh.

This month's advertising launch for VW's redesigned 2015 Golf puts the car at the center of a zany online video on Funny or Die. The three-minute video is meant to serve as native advertising.

Titled "The Way Too Helpful Neighbor," the ad tells the story of a guy who needs to spruce up his bland bachelor pad quickly before his girlfriend arrives with her parents.

His zealous, all-knowing neighbor shows up to help, commandeers the main character's Golf and ends up barreling through the aisles of a Target in search of the perfect throw pillows.

"What's your favorite shade of green: teal, lime or forest?" the neighbor quips as he pulls a handbrake turn around an aisle.

The legal boilerplate at the bottom of the screen offers this advisory: "Seriously, don't drive a car inside a Target."

Vinay Shahani, VP-marketing at Volkswagen of America, said the video is the centerpiece of a packaged media buy with the Turner Network secured earlier this year during the upfronts.

TV, too
Shorter versions of the video will run as TV ads alongside episodes of "Conan," "The Big Bang Theory" and during movies on TNT. Turner owns several cable networks including TNT and TBS. It also holds a minority equity stake in Funny or Die and manages the website's ad sales, according to a Funny or Die spokeswoman.

The spot was written and produced by staff at Funny or Die, with input from VW's agency of record, Deutsch LA, Mr. Shahani said.

Using one piece of creative content as the source of ads to run in multiple media -- in this case on TV and online -- was a key part of VW's strategy for the Golf launch, Mr. Shahani said.

"We generally strive to do that because consumption patterns are evolving," he said. "People are watching TV while also being on their smartphones and their tablets ... and it's cool."

The Target brand is also "very strong," especially with younger consumers who account for much of the Golf's target demographic, he said.

"Golf tends to skew male, but this was seen as one way to perhaps even it out a little bit," he said.

--Ryan Beene is a reporter for Automotive News.

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CORRECTION: An earlier version of this story inaccurately characterized the Turner Network's ownership stake in FunnyOrDie.com