Volkswagen webisodes to air on Sympatico.ca
Portal, production co and brand come together to create web content.
As the lines between content and advertising continue to blur, a new digital sitcom series premiering this morning through Sympatico.ca has Volkswagen Canada drawing from its usual brand of quirky comedy to promote its new Tiguan and Golf models. With media planning by its AOR, MediaCom Canada, the original comedic seven-minute web series, Tone Def Music, created by LA-based Ossian Digital Entertainment Group in association with the Canadian portal and Toronto-based MCJB Entertainment Productions, follows two aspiring musicians as they craft jingles that, despite their best efforts, remain out-of-tune and off-message.
In the webisodes, ironically named Elite Music is hired by VW Canada to create 30-sec promos. Their ‘musical creations’ develop with the on-screen assistance and input of the real VW client and media agency folks. Volkswagen Canada’s Lynne Piette and Mediacom Canada’s Irene Corke appear as actual participants in the websidoes, alongside Royal Canadian Air Farce‘s Alan Park, Comedy Now‘s Terry McGurrin, The Jay Leno Show‘s Lorne Frohman and others.
‘Aside from the obvious product placements, the brand’s humorous, personal, quirky and humble qualities are communicated through the characters portrayed and the dialogue that they engage in,’ says Bruce Rosen, Volkswagen Canada director, marketing and communications. ‘This is where our brand message lives best.’
‘The Tone Def Music opportunity allows us to access the growing base of consumers who are watching more and more online-exclusive video,’ MediaCom account director, interactive, Scott Atkinson, tells MiC, adding that the agency will be monitoring the results of the campaign to determine how similar webisodes can play a role in future plans.
‘The message that we are trying to communicate,’ Rosen tells MiC, ‘is that these two products are available from Volkswagen and that, as a brand, we are willing to reach our customers through non-traditional methods, which is consistent with many of our campaigns wherein we deploy creative in various media that are not necessarily considered mainstream, but that work well to connect with our clientele, who are extremely active online.’
The webisodes appear on Sympatico’s music subsite, InMusic.ca, and are promoted heavily on the main site. Sympatico isn’t the just the distribution channel, they are the production partner, notes Rosen. ‘Sympatico, specifically InMusic, was a key publisher in the successful 2008 launch of the Tiguan in Canada,’ he says.