Volkswagen's Kombi Exits Brazil With Fond Farewell in 'Last Wishes'

Almap BBDO Campaign Won Top Blue Wave Award at Wave Festival

Published On
Apr 24, 2015


When Volkswagen decided to end production of the Kombi van in Brazil, the last country still making the outdated, out-of-fashion vehicle, Sao Paulo agency Almap BBDO gave the Kombi an unforgettable send-off that just won the top award, the Blue Wave, at the Wave Festival for Latin America in Rio de Janeiro. (The Wave is organized by Ad Age's editorial partner in Brazil, Meio & Mensagem).

The campaign started with the ad "Unintroducing," announcing the impending end of production and inviting people to share their stories about the car. Almap used the stories that poured in to create the car's "will," a collection of bequests delivered across the world, in web stories and a short film narrated by the Kombi itself in a woman's voice. So the French couple who drove their Kombi around the world get the car's odometer, and Rolando, who during his financially down-and-out days ran an entire Italian restaurant out of his Kombi, is bequeathed Kombi-shaped ravioli cutters. Bob, whose gaily-painted VW van became a symbol of Woodstock, got an art kit in the shape of the bus.

The film ends rather heartbreakingly with the Kombi trundling along to make a poignant farewell visit, to the son of the man who designed the Kombi, who she considers to be, "technically speaking, my brother."