Volkswagen is using model and actress Brooke Shields and a virtual baby-making Web site to sell its Routan minivan, which was set to arrive at dealerships last week.
In an ad campaign launched last week, Volkswagen uses Shields to persuade young, affluent couples considering purchasing a minivan that they can meet their families needs while purchasing a stylish European brand, said Brian Thomas, a Volkswagen general manager of marketing and communications.
Theres this notion of Volkswagen magic inside a minivan, Thomas said. Its almost like theres a little Beetle in there, a whole little Beetle trying to get out.
The Routan begins hitting dealership lots later this week with a base priceof $25,390, including $690 shipping.
In the ads, Shields plays a serious spokeswoman addressing high birth rates that she says are caused by couples who want a Routan but believe they need children to drive a minivan.
In keeping with the theme of conception, Volkswagen is launching a Web site later this month that will allow people to make virtual Routan babies they can send to friends through e-mail and social networking sites such as Facebook and MySpace, complete with a healthy dose of Routan information, Thomas said.
The babies photos use facial recognition technology to mimic features found in uploaded photos of their parents.
What were endeavoring to do here is tap into a very strong, inherent curiosity. What would the product of my genes and another persons genes look like? Thomas said. People will share this with other people, and its a great opportunity to allow our product to go along for the ride.
The ad campaign also features ads on Web sites of family-oriented companies such as Nick Jr. and Disney and ads for people who are searching for minivans on auto sites.