Volkswagen’s history is a little checkered, to say the least.
When your company’s biography is bookended by being founded by Nazis and perpetrating one of the biggest pollution cover-ups the world has ever seen, it’s tough to wax poetic about the good-ol’ days.
However, between all that terribleness, VW has made some quality cars and sold a lot of them, even claiming the title of “World’s Largest Automaker” last year during the zenith of its diesel emissions scandal. One thing that has remained steady for the German automaker during the past half century is its advertising acumen.
Volkswagen burst onto the scene in the U.S. with its acclaimed “Think Small” print ad for the 1959 Beetle. Since then it has grown and cultivated a reputation for employing clever advertising that mixes humor and earnest emotion in a way that has helped consumers forget about some unsavory parts of its past.
In 2017, Volkswagen is hoping to do the same thing, except the last thing it wants people to do is think small.
To mark the arrival of the Atlas three-row SUV in U.S. dealerships, Volkswagen released an eight-part campaign today with the tagline “Life’s as big as you make it” and it hits right in the feels.
Fittingly, the campaign is called “America” a nod both to its soundtrack and the market for which it specifically designed the Atlas.
Ranging from 15 seconds to 90 seconds in length, the commercials all center on a family road tripping across the U.S. in an all-new Atlas. Along the way, they encounter beautiful scenery, bonding moments and family history all to the majestic tune of Simon and Garfunkel’s “America.” Oh, and did I mention they’re doing it to fulfill grandpa’s dying wish?
Cue the goosebumps and watery eyes.
Volkswagen first showed the Atlas to U.S. consumers with its saucy yet sweet “Luv Bug” last month, but VW needed to bring more to the fight. These big life ads are hugely important for Volkswagen as they’re tasked with both introducing the country to the brand’s first-ever offering in the popular mid-size SUV segment and winning back the goodwill squandered by the company’s emissions cheating.
Only time will tell if Volkswagen successfully hit both marks, but my gut tells me it did.
BONUS: AdvertisingAge reports that the woman who played the grandmother in the spots had little to no acting experience, which certainly could have fooled me. Read their story here.
Did you find this article helpful? If so, please share it using the “Join the Conversation” buttons below, and thank you for visiting Daily News Autos.