Volkswagen and DDB spread the bug

Planking, owling, batting, breading, milking, Tebowing, horsemanning … There’s certainly no shortage of ridiculous participatory memes these days. And, to launch its new Beetle, Volkswagen and DDB have tried to create another one: Beetleing. 


According to the ever-reliable Urban Dictionary, Beetleing (or Beetling) is already a thing (and it’s also slang for sex). So, to grease the social wheels and inspire people to upload a picture of themselves doing their best impression of the car, VW put one of its new Beetles up for grabs. 

“We just thought it would be a bit of fun,” says DDB’s managing director Justin Mowday. “It’s down the more youthful, entertaining side of things for the VW brand, but the Beetle is pretty iconic, so we wanted to do something that would get people talking.”

While VW is already active on social media and has 10,000 fans on Facebook, he says it’s the first major social push for the brand. And he says it will be interesting to see the results of this approach: low mass media spend with “an idea that needs to fuel itself to gain awareness”. 

Given modern humans seem quite happy to spend their time indulging in such memery without the lure of a $46,500 car—and given contorting yourself into a ball in public to form the shape of the well-known car and uploading a picture is a fairly low barrier to entry—it’s not entirely surprising that a release says it’s ”taking off across the country” and has “generated a huge number of entries” (as well as a few of entries that have absolutely no link to Beetleing).  

UPDATE: The competition has received 4,000 entries so far, the Facebook page has grown by over 11,200 likes since the promotion started and the YouTube hits are almost at 40,000 (on the first video, which featured unlicensed music).

“Kiwis are striking a pose everywhere from beaches and baches to the Beehive in a bid to win themselves the latest Volkswagen Beetle,” says the release. And, with Volkswagen sponsoring the NZ Football Association, All Whites Tony Lochead, Jeremy Brockie and Ben Sigmund have also got in on/been forced to get in on the act during a training session last week.

The promotion, which also involved Spark, launched last week on Volkswagen’s Facebook page and will run for four weeks. 

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