Imagine walking down the street, going about your business, and seeing a car-towed box trailer whizzing past—backwards.
You might imagine you had stumbled onto the set of an action movie. Or perhaps it’s a Norwegian Volkswagen campaign from agency Try Oslo that picked up four Lions last week in Cannes, including gold in the Promo category, as well as silvers in Outdoor and PR and a bronze in Film.
A VW station wagon whips down a spiral parking lot ramp, around a traffic circle, and past slower-moving cars—all in reverse—while perplexed drivers and pedestrians look on, wondering what maniac is behind the wheel.
“Backing up with a trailer will be this easy,” assures the onscreen copy at the end, promoting the automaker’s Trailer Assist function. “Well, almost,” it adds.
In other words, maneuvering won’t be quite that easy. The stunt in the ad is staged, albeit ingenious. A behind-the-scenes video (see below) shows its creators sawing a small car in half and building a fake trailer around it, with walls made of plexiglass, and see-through foil on the outside—like a one-way mirror.
The makeshift vehicle’s driver could look out, while steering—forwards. That still represented a feat of coordination, though. He had to communicate via intercom with the driver of the real car hitched behind him—who did have to drive in reverse.
It’s a fun gimmick emphasizing a real VW feature that helps drivers automatically steer while trying to maneuver a trailer backwards. As with all such reality-style videos, it’s a likelihood at least some of the reactions are also staged, but it doesn’t really matter if it gets the message across as well as this does.
Plus, while the exaggeration here may be pretty harmless, Volkswagen will probably be generally wary of overstating the performance capabilities of its cars in the future.