SAN DIEGO -- It's quite a cast: Helga, a blond German dominatrix. A melon-sized black creature named "Fast" that resembles Darth Vader. And three heavily-accessorized compacts destroyed by motoring purists.
They're all part of Volkswagen of America's newest advertising effort to create buzz for the VW brand, which registered a 12.5 percent slide in sales last year to 224,195 vehicles. The edgy multimedia campaign is tied to the debut of the 2006 GTI, a sporty hatchback based on the Golf.
"Our goal is to make VW famous and irreverent," said Kerri Martin, VW's director of brand innovation since last April and the former head of marketing for BMW's Mini brand. Soon after Martin's arrival, VW switched to Mini's former advertising agency, Crispin Porter+Bogusky, of Miami.