In what may be a first for product integration, Volkswagen has weaved its “Punch Dub” campaign into the opening of a TV program, the Jimmy Kimmel Live show.
Starting May 20, the late-night ABC show began featuring a yellow VW Beetle during the opening, which shows a T-shirt-clad Kimmel walking through the streets of Los Angeles to the theater, suit slung over his shoulder. After the shot of the Volkswagen, a woman with pink hair comes up to Kimmel regular Guillermo Rodriguez and punches him in the arm. VW will be featured in the opening over the next month or so.
The punch is a nod to Punch Dub, the creative motif that VW employed in its Super Bowl ad from Deutsch, Los Angeles, earlier this year that’s based on the car game in which children punch each other in the arm when they see a Beetle.
Tim Ellis, vp, marketing, Volkswagen of America, said the integration of Punch Dub serves a dual purpose. On the one hand, it’s meant to promote the full array of VW models. At the same time, Ellis would like to get the message across in ways other than advertising.
“That was the brief to the agency,” he said, referring to Deutsch, “to naturally integrate to the point where people don’t think it’s an advertisement, it’s just part of the show.” Ellis contrasted the idea with other, more intrusive forms of placement. “Many of them are embarrassing to watch,” he said. “You almost get this twinge in your stomach.” Kimmel’s show proved to be a good testing ground. In 2008, it began running live commercials, a throwback to the early days of TV. YouTube clips from Kimmel also feature pre-roll ads that were shot in the studio.
Ellis said he hopes to integrate Punch Dub into other entertainment vehicles as well. Another integration is with TNT’s presentation of the NBA playoffs. One such “vignette” features Inside the NBA hosts and Ernie Johnson, Kenny Smith and commentator Chris Webber playing Horse outside the studio only to interrupt the game for a quick Punch Dub.