Volkswagen celebrates moon landing with Bowie-scored ad looking toward an electric future

While millions are celebrating the 50th anniversary of the moon landing, music fans might also be applauding 50 years of the equally celestial Space Oddity by David Bowie. Volkswagen has combined the two semi-centennials in a campaign that looks both backward and forward.

Volkswagen of America is continuing its ‘Drive Bigger’ campaign with a film, ‘A New Mission,’ which looks back on the automaker’s connection to the moon landing and forward to its current focus on electric vehicles and going carbon neutral.

The spot features one of David Bowie’s earliest recorded versions of Space Oddity, from 1969, which was commercially released in its true context for the first time on vinyl and streaming services this month. The film also includes footage from around the world conveying the unification that landing on the moon brought to humankind in 1969, from people watching through store windows and public places, to campsites covered in VW vans.

It then shifts to highlight Volkswagen’s mission to build towards an electric future. It cites the company investing $50bn worldwide by 2023, introducing 70 new all-electric models by 2028 and investing $800m to expand its Tennessee plant to build electric vehicles, along with an ambitious effort to go carbon neutral by 2050.

Additionally, the campaign includes a print advertisement celebrating the moon landing featuring the iconic Volkswagen Bus of the 1960s alongside the ID. Buzz Concept, which represents Volkswagen’s future electric fleet.

“Volkswagen has been part of some of America’s most indelible moments. The moon landing 50 years ago was one of them,” said Leo Premutico, co-founder and chief creative officer of Johannes Leonardo, which created the campaign. “With ‘A New Mission’ we’re tapping into those historic minutes when man touched down on the moon in order to remind the world of what we’re capable of when we all focus on one goal and also declare humankind’s new mission – protecting the only home we currently know.”

Added Jim Zabel, senior vice-president of marketing for Volkswagen of America “As the world's largest automaker, we have a responsibility to lead by example and through the ‘Drive Bigger’ platform, look at this cultural achievement of putting a man on the moon through a new lens. As we take the substantial steps toward our goal of going carbon neutral globally by 2050, and Volkswagen's role in ushering in a new era of electric driving, we invite all to join us to a reinvigorated focus on our planet.”

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