In collaboration with Lucasfilm and Industrial Light & Magic, Volkswagen has launched a campaign to promote its new ID Buzz electric van. A new spot was created to simultaneously advertise the Disney+ series Obi-Wan Kenobi as well as the ID Buzz, which conjures up visions of the old “hippie bus” from the ‘70s. The new vehicle won’t hit the US market until 2024 but is expected to go on sale in Europe this year.
In the ad, R2-D2 states that he’s “making friends” with the electric vehicle, to which C-3PO remarks that the Buzz is not a droid and that there’s nothing to worry about because the vehicle is “smiling.” McGregor is then seen unplugging the charging vehicle, getting in, and driving across the Tatooine landscape – or as Cnet quipped, “Kenobi trades a Landspeeder for VW ID Buzz.”
While SUVs are often purchased over vans these days, Volkswagen’s marketing approach is a clever way to take a vehicle style that is typically seen as “boring” and give it a high-tech “cool factor.”
It also helps that McGregor is a fan of Volkswagen in real life. The brand was his first car at age 16, and he is a “daily driver and collector of Volkswagen cars,” according to Klaus Zellmer, Volkswagen board member for sales, marketing and after sales. McGregor is now serving as brand ambassador for Volkswagen as part of the campaign, which will run across TV, digital, billboards, and social media. Additionally, Volkswagen and Lucasfilm co-designed two special “Star Wars Edition” ID Buzz vans for the recent Star Wars Celebration in Anaheim, California.
Volkswagen CEO Herbert Diess commented that the US market is his company’s “biggest growth opportunity” and that he intends to grow market share from just 4% to 10% by the end of this decade. Electric vehicles are expected to factor heavily in that growth. Rallying around one of the biggest entertainment brands on the planet seems like a smart move as well.
According to Interpret’s New Media Measure®, more than 61% of Volkswagen drivers in the US report being a fan of Star Wars. That puts Star Wars fanship among Volkswagen’s audience higher than drivers of vehicles from other major auto makers like Honda, Toyota, Ford, and others.