What Do Volkswagen Electric Vehicles Have In Common With Ant-Man & The Wasp?
If you haven’t noticed by now, in the past year or two, Volkswagen has been linking up with a number of the famous characters you can find over on Disney+. First, we saw links to Star Wars characters like Obi-Wan Kenobi, C-3PO, and R2-D2. Now, Volkswagen’s partners in electrification are Ant-Man & The Wasp. One’s first reaction to this kind of news might be that it is a simple, blatant, shallow marketing gimmick. And, for that matter, this could be someone’s last reaction as well. However, I’m either a sucker or am right in thinking that it’s worthwhile to look more closely at the value of this cooperation — or a bit of both.
Humans are storytellers. Historically, going a long way back, we passed on important knowledge, cultural norms, and wisdom of course through stories. Nowadays … well … it’s much of the same. We may think we are so far advanced compared to humans from thousands of years ago, but we still get so much, share so much, and believe so much in the stories we hear and tell. When I was aa kid, in the 1980s and 1990s, there was much more of a shared experience when it came to movies and TV. Production methods had reached mass-market scales, but very elaborate and digital distribution options weren’t yet on the table. The latter now splinter much of our media consumption and storytelling. This is the evolution that has enabled CleanTechnica and millions of other websites, podcasts, and news sources. Though, it has also made it harder for very broad swaths of society to connect via shared storytelling, and I do wonder about the harm that causes.
Getting back to the Volkswagen news, Star Wars is one of the biggest, most iconic, most widely shared movie series in history. The Marvel Universe is the other. Perhaps I’m missing something obvious, but I don’t think there are any other movie series that compete with them on scale or reach. So, when Volkswagen connects itself to these worlds, it inserts itself into massively loved, widely shared narratives that can make many people think more positively about Volkswagen electric vehicles and potentially even consider buying one. And why not?! If you’ve got the marketing money and the idea, why not become “the Star Wars EV brand” or “the Marvel EV brand?” I would! Also keep in mind that people will pay much more for a Marvel-themed pillow than a regular pillow, for a Marvel-themed shirt than a regular shirt, for a Marvel-themed mug than a regular mug. The more someone thinks, “Oh, that electric car is the electric car with the Marvel ads,” the better.
Regarding the ant dude and the wasp lady, which I’ll admit I didn’t expect much of but now are two of my favorites, Volkswagen has the following to say about what the collaboration entails:
“Marking the release of Marvel Studios’ ‘Ant-Man and The Wasp: Quantumania’, in U.S. theaters starting February 17, Volkswagen is launching a global 360-degree campaign that puts the ID.4 in the limelight with custom content inspired by the movie. The cooperation is based on the product placement of the all-electric vehicle as the Super Hero’s family car in the upcoming film.
“Global custom content for social media, TV and movie theaters shows Ant-Man and Cassie Lang in an amusing and elaborately staged sequence with the ID.4.
“In the run-up to the film’s release, Volkswagen and Marvel Studios’ “Ant-Man and The Wasp: Quantumania” are presenting a jointly-created custom spot to kick off the global campaign. The ad, developed and produced by Volkswagen, the Walt Disney Studios partnerships team, and Bullitt, was directed by long-time Marvel Studios collaborator Anthony Leonardi III. Framestore’s award-winning VFX team brought the spot’s shrinking and growing effects to life. The spot will run on social media, TV and in movie theaters:”
It’s alright. Not hilarious, but not cringy. It’s okay. More importantly, though, when I think Volkswagen EVs, I’ll think about Ant-Man, Wasp, Marvel, and Star Wars — and those all bring feelings of fun and are positive associations to have.
For several years, giving presentations around the world about EVs and projected EV adoption trends, I have said that one of the two or three core drivers of rapid EV adoption will be the EV fun factor. Electric cars are just more fun to drive — far more fun to drive. Many also have fun software features and cutting edge semi-autonomous vehicle tech. Word of mouth sells, and much of the word of mouth that sells EVs is about about how fun they are. Keep going with it. Associate EVs with super fun stories that are part of the cultural consciousness as much as any others.
“Marvel Studios films rank among the most successful movies of all time and Ant-Man is one of the most likeable characters in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Integrating the ID.4 in the movie and the accompanying campaign enables us to reach millions of people all over the world,” says Gilbert Heise, Head of Global Brand Management and Consumer Insights at Volkswagen. “What’s more, the Ant-Man character is a perfect fit for our brand: he is likeable, authentic and has a great sense of humor,” he adds.
“This fun, innovative and integrated campaign brings a relatable storyline to life in an extraordinary way. We are so excited to share it with fans around the world, in celebration of the release of the next installment of the MCU”, said Lylle Breier, SVP Global Marketing Partnerships at Walt Disney Studios.
“Nowadays, emotional storytelling through this kind of cooperation is enormously important for brands,” explains Salim Yüksel, who is responsible for Future Trends, Strategic Partnerships and Global Branded Entertainment at Volkswagen and jointly leads the project alongside Volkswagen of America. “We are very proud to have brought together our global brands with such a creative project.” Yes, a great idea, and it must be a fun one for the Volkswagen team to implement!
I’m curious to see how Volkswagen EVs pop into the coming Ant-Man & Wasp movie. It’ll surely be fun, and that’s what Ant-Man & Wasp have in common with Volkswagen EVs — they’re super fun.