When Volkswagen entered the U.S. 75 years ago with its Beetle, it was an odd sight for most Americans, who were puzzled by its bug shape and peculiar design. The engine is in the back? But the oddity would soon become an icon, securing a prominent place in pop culture thanks in part to associations with everything from Hippies to a Disney movie.
VW’s peculiar American journey is the subject of its first Super Bowl ad in 10 years, which attempts to leverage the brand’s historical significance to spark sales momentum for its growing lineup of modern electric vehicles, including the new ID Buzz, which makes an appearance at the end of the spot.
But the ad from Johannes Leonardo and directed by Lance Accord (whose credits include VW’s classic 2011 Super Bowl spot “The Force,”) mostly lives in the past. Most of the more than 25 VWs featured in the spot are from model years earlier than 2007, including the 1960s-era VW Microbus, also known as a Hippie van, as well as a 1983 Rabbit convertible, 1984 Jetta and 1985 Cabriolet.
VW released a two-minute extended version of the ad today. It will run as a 60-second spot in the game’s third quarter.