Volkswagen's Night At The Museum

VW at the Museum of Art and Design At the Museum of Art and Design in New York City last week, Jacob Weisberg, editor in chief of The Slate Group, introduced The New Yorker's Adam Gopnik, who was moderating a panel called "What is Good Design Now?" Before contacting Gopnik to lead the discussion, Weisberg said he called their mutual friend Malcolm Gladwell to ask whether Gopnik would make a good moderator for such a topic.

When Weisberg told him the event was being co-sponsored by Volkswagen and there would be a new CC (CC stands for Comfort Coup) displayed in the museum's lobby, Gladwell exclaimed, "I love that car! I'm going to buy one next week." Then, after assuring Weisberg that Gopnik would be a fine choice for a discussion about design, Gladwell said: "But you know, Adam can't drive."

Reviews for the car touted on the VW Web site (and in a TV commercial where a couple drives through the blurbs with the man eventually quipping, "I think we're in a car commercial") extol the CC's elegance and sleek design. Motor Trend is on record citing the car's "haute couture styling," Automobile magazine dubbed it "a real head turner" and review site Myride.com lauded the "art gallery quality interior" -- so it was a small leap to actually put a CC on the floor of an art gallery.

As part of a two-month-long effort to highlight the Volkswagen CC's high design and innovation, MediaCom gave the new take on the Passat high visibility at both the MAD event and a dinner honoring designers Andy Spade, Maria Cornejo, Alice Temperley and Antony Todd hosted by social net ASmallWorld (and its new online mag sibling ASmallMagazine).

Wendi Dunlap, media director at MediaCom Interaction says the push has been to align the vehicle with innovation in art, architecture and design. And you can see how close that alignment got in the coverage of the ASmallWorld dinner on society blog GuestofaGuest. In the story, Laura Soave, general manager of marketing for Volkswagen of America, was quoted as saying: "There are the people with new designs and new ideas, and we wanted to bring them all together," and ASmallMagazine's editor in chief Sabine Heller immediately chimed in: "The new VW CC is all about bringing sharp, edgy but long-lasting design into our everyday lives."

"The CC is VW's work of art," Dunlap says. "Part of the overall media plan has been to merge digital media with experiential to allow people to interact with the car both online and in the real world."

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