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VW teams up with Speedy Gonzales to reach Hispanics

Posted by Elena del Valle on March 21, 2006

VW Tamale ad

VW campaign “Gone tamale” ad

Auburn Hills, Michigan – VW (Volkswagen) is using Latino cartoon icon Speedy Gonzales™ to promote the GTI Mk V to Hispanic audiences. The campaign, created by CreativeOndemanD (C.O.D), Volkswagen of America’s Hispanic advertising agency of record, blends animation with real footage.

Just barely beyond the start line and the campaign has sparked controversy among Latinos. Popular political Hispanic blog Latinopundit.com mentioned the campaign March 18 in relation to the reaction of some Latinos to a Spanish language word used in one of the ads and its vulgar meaning in Spanish.

VW Gracias ad

VW “Gracias” ad

Two Volkswagen engineers take the new GTI Mk V for a test run. Speedy Gonzales™ goes out for a cheese run. Somewhere in the middle of the desert the two icons of speed coincide. So goes the spot titled “Speedbump,” part 1 of an episodic three-part TV campaign for the Hispanic market launch of the new Volkswagen GTI Mk V launched recently.

“The Speedy Gonzales and new GTI Mk V match-up is a natural,” said Kerri Martin, director of brand innovation for Volkswagen of America, Inc. “Both have permeated pop culture. Both have a loyal and passionate fan base. Both have achieved iconic status in a world of high-powered acceleration. Speedy Gonzales will help take the new 2006 GTI’s message to a group of Hispanic drivers who may have not yet experienced the speed and responsiveness of our German engineered hot hatch.”

The GTI Mk V, dubbed by VW as the  “original pocket rocket,” has a high-tech, 200 hp 2.0T 4-cylinder engine that produces 207 ft.-lbs of torque from 1,800 to 5,000 rpm, a new fully independent, sports tuned suspension and “an understated but dynamically aggressive style.”

“In the Hispanic market, Speedy Gonzales is our superhero,” commented C.O.D’s founding partner and creative director, Priscilla Cortizas. “Not only is he the epitome of speed, he communicates positive values like altruism, resourcefulness, intelligence and confidence.”

VW Turbo-Cojones ad

VW “Turbo-Cojones” ad

According to VW’s promotional materials, famous Speedy Gonzales, touted as “the fastest mouse in all Mexico,” sports enviable credentials like the ability to accelerate at great speeds; a quick-thinking mind and unselfish heart; and the ability to outrun and outwit his foes. In “Cats,” the second spot in the campaign, Speedy Gonzales taunts alley cats from the back of the new 2006 Volkswagen GTI. Later, the spot entitled “Replay” takes the audience back to Speedy’s hungry mouse friends who clamor for some cheese. Thanks to Speedy’s quick thinking, the convenient location of a cheese factory across town, and the campaign’s turbo-charged 2006 GTI Mk V’s, the problem is solved to the sounds of “Andale, andale, arriba, arriba.”

To create the spots C.O.D worked closely with Warner Bros. Consumer Products and Warner Bros. Animation. The spot entitled “Replay” fuses vintage Speedy Gonzales cartoons with state-of-the-art computer animation created by Radium. Founded in 1955, Volkswagen of America, Inc. is headquartered in Auburn Hills, Michigan, and is a wholly owned subsidiary of Volkswagen AG, one of the world’s largest automakers.