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Arnold and Volkswagen

"The best relationship I've ever been in."

Remember "Fahrvergnugen"? Hmm. Yes. Volkswagen would rather forget it. The early `90s were dark days for the German automaker, and their four-syllable marketing strategy wasn't helping. "The Fahrvergnugen idea resulted in a high-impact campaign with completely negative results," says VW marketing manager Elisabeth Vanzura. Sales got so low, she says, that the company was considering getting out of the U.S. market entirely.

Enter Arnold, which took over the account five years ago. The result has been "double-digit sales growth" and renewed brand awareness for VW, and more industry awards for Arnold than you could fit in a Beetle. The agency has done over 50 TV spots, more than 130 print ads, numerous radio and regional lease spots, and all internet marketing for the company. How'd they get that gig? Arnold's "brand essence video," a standard part of the agency's pitch, blew away VW brass. "Once they showed the brand essence video, I think management was sold," Vanzura says. "It really described the feeling and the image we had been so desperately trying to communicate but missing, over and over and over again."

Lest you think a brand new Beetle to sell made this job about as challenging as a $100 question on Who Wants to Be a Millionaire, Arnold's creative director Ron Lawner points out this

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