'Gorilla' Marketing: VW Brings Its King Kong Ad to an Instagram Scavenger Hunt

Published On
Sep 15, 2017

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In the ad-blocking era, marketers are going to great lengths to get their brands in front of skeptical consumers. For Volkswagen, that means sending people on a scavenger hunt through an imaginary city on Instagram that is devoid of paid advertising.

The social media sweepstakes is part of a new campaign for the redesigned 2018 Tiguan crossover that began last month with a TV ad called "The New King." The spot, by Deutsch L.A., shows an inflatable King Kong chasing down a woman driving a red Tiguan through the city. The vehicle, not the gorilla, is the new "king of the concrete jungle," declares the spot. The campaign pitches the Tiguan to urban single people, an increasingly important audience for marketers of SUVs and crossovers.

VW on Friday made the TV ad come to life on Instagram via a 21-day scavenger hunt in which viewers are fed daily clues and asked to find hidden Tiguans in a cityscape spread across multiple tiles. There is a catch, of course: To enter a sweepstakes for daily prizes, viewers must take a screenshot of the Tiguan and send a direct message to a VW-run account. The grand prize is a 10-day trip to San Francisco, Miami and New York. This video above shows how it works.

Instagram scavenger hunts are nothing new. Heineken did one as far back as 2013 as a way to give away tickets to the U.S. Open. But Deutsch says its hunt is more robust than most. It was assembled with 150 pieces of content stitched together on Instagram to make a city modeled on New York. "We wanted to push the boundaries of the platform as far as we could without breaking it," says Todd Riddle, executive creative director at Deutsch, in a statement. "I don't believe there's a native Instagram feature or behavior we're not tapping into for this experience."

At the @VWRuleTHeRoad Instagram page, each panel displays an overhead shot of a section of a city meant to resemble New York. Once clicked, viewers are zoomed to street level, triggering videos of random scenes, like a squirrel running across a power line grabbing a nut. That footage was pulled from a new TV ads plugging the Tiguan's "pedestrian monitoring" system, which helps the vehicle stop on a dime for unexpected hazards.

Read the full story on Adage.com.