The Deconstructed Brief

Laughing Horses

Laughing Horses

Brand: Volkswagen

Agency: Grabarz & Partner, Hamburg


Reestablish the Volkswagen brand in the aftermath of the scandal where the automaker admitted to cheating on emissions testing

One Thought:

We know we screwed up.


Who doesn’t love horses laughing at a guy who can’t park a trailer? Comedy is a great way to disarm critics. This spot shows Volkswagen poking fun at itself and its mistakes. It makes the brand feel self-aware.

What they told Adweek:

“The video proved to be one of the best automotive videos ever tested, scoring significantly above average on key criteria like enjoyment, brand fit and brand appeal,” said research firm Kantar Millward Brown.

Lessons to be learned:

  • Challenge preconceptions with research Volkswagen leadership was concerned that the humor might strike the wrong chord following the scandal. So, they hired a research firm to test to see if there would be backlash. The video proved to be one of the best automotive ads ever tested.
  • Great creative can work across platformsThe video went viral online, which prompted Volkswagen to use it on TV. It has received over 36 million views across all platforms.