VW Casts Eye on Excessive Spending in Comedic Ad Starring Paul Giamatti and Kieran Culkin

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Johannes Leonardo and director Steve Rogers launch 'Excessive Where It Matters' as part of 'Drive Something Bigger Than Yourself' campaign
VW Casts Eye on Excessive Spending in Comedic Ad Starring Paul Giamatti and Kieran Culkin

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. Now, 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.

Created by Johannes Leonardo, 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.

Directed by Biscuit Filmworks' Steve Rogers, the first ad of the campaign sees Paul Giamatti play 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.


“Excess in itself isn’t wrong, but excess for the sake of showing off is,” said Saad Chehab, senior vice president, Volkswagen brand marketing. “Americans shouldn’t have to overextend themselves to drive a quality vehicle that garners celebrity style attention and respect. That’s why we’ve made the Atlas Cross Sport ‘Excessive Where it Matters.’”

“‘Drive Bigger’ was a platform designed to meet all the needs of an organisation going through a profound change,” added Jan Jacobs, co-founder and CCO of Johannes Leonardo. “This campaign demonstrates the flexibility of what it means to Drive Bigger, from helping a company pivot to electrification to playfully pushing up against a current culture of excess.”

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 'Celebrity Accountant' series will kick off tonight 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.

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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"

Genres: Comedy, People, Dialogue

Categories: Automotive, Cars

Johannes Leonardo, 5 months ago