Client: Volkswagen
Date: Mar 2020
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Over the past year, the 'Drive Something Bigger Than Yourself' brand point of view has been Volkswagen’s mantra to set aside a society driven by self-interest. In a new campaign, Volkswagen is pushing up against a culture of excess and unveiling its newest articulation of the 'Drive Bigger' series, 'Excessive Where It Matters,' to launch the new five-seat Atlas Cross Sport.

The 'Excessive Where It Matters' campaign was born from the notion that society has become obsessed with an insatiable need for more. In an era of economic tightening, where consumer debt seems to increase proportionally to our need to keep with the latest reality TV star, Volkswagen is offering a release valve by launching a luxurious but modestly priced SUV. Volkswagen is not admonishing excess as a bad thing, but celebrating that driving bigger requires leaving unnecessary excess behind.

To celebrate the launch of the new Atlas Cross Sport, Volkswagen partnered with lead creative agency, Johannes Leonardo, on 'Excessive Where It Matters.' Featuring two stars of America’s biggest television dramas on wealth culture, Paul Giamatti and Kieran Culkin, the campaign includes three films in a series called 'The Accountant.'

Paul Giamatti plays an exasperated celebrity accountant constantly serving as a babysitter to his clientele. Kieran Culkin’s character is one of his free-spenders who has just seen the light and purchased a new and not-so-sensible-looking Atlas Cross Sport. Paul’s character is instantly relieved at his client’s smart decision to start reining in his spending with a sensible purchase like a Volkswagen.

Over the course of the films that will be released throughout the month of March, characters learn that life is more rewarding when you go about it with some discernment, from who your friends are to how you spend your time and, of course, your hard-earned paycheck. With premium features at an amazing value, the five-seat Atlas Cross Sport is excessive in all the right places. The ads in 'The Accountant' series will kick off on Monday night during the Bachelor finale and will signify what is going to be a year-long effort against excess culture as it relates to the 'Drive Bigger' platform.

Going up against the status quo is not unfamiliar territory for the brand since it handed advertising duties to Johannes Leonardo last year. In its first full-scale marketing effort since the TDI scandal, Johannes Leonardo worked with the brand to produce a long-form film that opened on ten seconds of darkness and used news and radio recordings from the sandal to reconnect with the American public. Then, the agency has ushered in a new decade with an advertising campaign for the Volkswagen Beetle — a car that you can’t actually buy anymore.


Agency: Johannes Leonardo

Client: Volkswagen USA

Director: Steve Rogers

Production Company: Biscuit

Post-Production: The Mill

Music House: KOM

Licensed Music: Virgile Allien, Gates of Heaven