This new film for VW runs at over six minutes – quite a commitment from viewers to ask for a piece of advertising. Yet its delicate story of the difficult but loving relationship between a son and his father draws you in.
In 2016, Very picked up a Gold Lion at the Cannes Lions festival for a series of films for Ford which used cars as a backdrop for telling everyday stories of family life (in those films they successfully tackled the difficult and advertising-unfriendly subject of divorce).
This new film enters similar territory, though here we are drawn into a tale of grief and father-son relationships. Accompanying the characters throughout is a beautiful vintage VW which acts as both family friend and a conduit to the family members spending time together. It is a piece of branding that draws on a truism: certain objects can become part of our identity, as the old car does here.
I would question if the story would work with the modern, less distinctive car models that we see from VW (and most other car brands) these days, which certainly lack the personality of the car featured here. But as the main prop within a story that draws heavily on nostalgia and memory, the brand makes it work.