Volkswagen Safe Happens

Volkswagen promotes the Jetta as the car that is ‘like… safe” in an unforseen accident in ‘Like’, ‘Movie’ and ‘Critique’, TV advertisements with a road safety theme. At the end of each ad, after a potentially fatal collision, the drivers and passengers stand safely on the pavement. We’re transitioned from the phrase “holy sh…”, to the tagline, “Safe Happens”. In silence we’re shown a Volkswagen Jetta revolving on a white background, complete with damaged but intact panels.

Passenger in VW Safe Happens TV commercial


Volkswagen Like

A Volkswagen Jetta driver (John Sloan) is told off by his passenger (Olesegun Oduobown) for using the word, ‘like’, too many times in conversation. The last normal phrase in their conversation is that ‘things don’t sort of like happen’. And then things happen. A truck pulls out in front of them. There’s no way to avoid it… The super includes the phrase, “Four star front impact crash rating.”

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Volkswagen Movie

A car load of young people debrief from the movie they’ve just watched. “Who cried?” is the opening question. Had the male driver been concentrating on the moment or holding a quivering lip? Just as the driver starts to get defensive an SUV comes from out of left field and slams into the side of their vehicle. As they stand on the pavement, we’re transitioned from the phrase “holy sh…”, to the tagline, “Safe Happens”. The super includes the phrase, “Highest Government Side Impact Rating.”

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Volkswagen Critique

Two women talk about the Volkswagen ads reviewed above, wondering if they’d gone over the edge. Was it real or being shocking for the sake of being shocking? Just as they start to unpack the ads further an SUV comes down a hill and wipes out the passenger side of their car. The super this time: “Four Star Rear Side Impact Rating and Front Side Impact Rating.”

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Credits

The Volkswagen ‘Safe Happens’ campaign, launched in April 2006, was developed at Crispin Porter & Bogusky, Miami, by chief creative officer Alex Bogusky, executive creative director Andrew Keller, creative director Rob Strasberg, art director Dave Clemans, copywriter Tim Roper, executive producer Rupert Samuel and agency producer Letitia Jacobs.

Filming was directed by Phil Morrison via Epoch Films, New York, with director of photography Ed Lachman.

Editor was Gavin Cutler at MacKenzie Cutler, New York, with assistant editor Erik Laroi.

Post production was done at Framestore, London.