Volkswagen of America is touting its Routan minivan via a partnership with Discovery's TLC.com around family and travel. The Herndon, Va.-based automaker will be premier sponsor of family travel content on TLC.com, and will feature an original Webisode series titled "The Great Getaway," plus family-related travel information from destinations to tips for packing powered by Discovery-owned website HowStuffWorks.com.
"The Great Getaway," which launched on Wednesday, follows the seven-member Woods family on a road trip through Sedona, Ariz. The series, done reality-show style, begins with a segment showing the family bouncing around their ranchy house trying to get their act together, find iPods and the like, before hitting the road.
The automaker and TLC.com say the webisode series will run throughout the next three months, highlighting the family's travels and associated foibles as well as the antediluvian wonders of the Southwest, petrified trees, fossils, deserts and all. According to TLC, the Woods family was chosen through a casting call by TLC's talent resource center. The series was a joint project of TLC.com, Volkswagen and VW’s AOR for media, Deutsch.
The Routan minivan gets a starring role in the series, with the vehicle's features, such as roomy seating, foldaway seats, and storage capacity, and getting special attention when, for instance, the family is loading up and rolling out with their "Fun not foolish, safe not sorry" Tony Robbins-esque motto floating on the breeze as the car rolls away to Sedona.
Volkswagen will bookend the series with 30-second Routan TV spots before the segment, a drive to VW.com after, and a banner next to the video window. The Family Travel section on the TLC Family vertical will be VW-branded as well. The destination offers family-related tips and advice.
Harold Morgenstern, SVP advertising sales at Discovery Communications, tells Marketing Daily that VW is advertising on all Discovery's digital properties, including contextual and behavioral targeting.
VW launched the Routan in 2008 under the Das Auto banner with Brooke Shields as spokesperson. The campaign has continued with "Dub Punch" ads suggesting the minivan has a soul of a VW bug.
Morgenstern says Discovery has a long-standing relationship with Volkswagen. “Volkswagen approached the marketplace to help launch the Routan. Similarly, TLC.com was introducing their TLC Family vertical, which provided a perfect promotional platform for the Routan,” he says. “We proposed and created the webisode series specifically to and for the Routan.”