Volkswagen Transforms Road Fears Into Horror Movie Posters

Not-so-scary stuff from DDB Australia

Parallel parking, merging onto highways and navigating roundabouts can be scary stuff for drivers.

But are such road maneuvers horror film scary?

Indeed they are, according to Volkswagen and DDB Sydney, which tapped artist Matt Ryan Tobin to create a series of mock movie posters for the 2021 Tiguan. Each ad in the out-of-home initiative explains how the vehicle's advanced features address common road fears.

"The planners presented us with some research that was rather confronting, which was that something like 79 percent of Aussies experience driving anxiety," DDB creative director Tim Woolford tells Muse. "Digging beneath the surface a little, it was incredible how specific these fears were. From there, it must have been a 'safety in numbers' thing, because all of us in the room started fessing up to how freaked-out we are about certain driving maneuvers or situations. Was a bit of a therapy session, really."

"Parallel parking, I mean, we've all been there, trying to nail that park," he adds. "Especially if you've got an audience, it doesn't get more nerve-wracking. From there, the creatives came back with a list of other moments they felt were anxiety-inducing, and we kept refining and refining."

DDB chose Tobin—who's worked on projects for Disney, Marvel and Warner Bros., among others—because "we wanted to work with an illustrator who lived and breathed horror posters, as opposed to an illustrator who could just draw in that style," says Tommy Cehak, also an agency CD. "We briefed Matty with the mock-ups that we'd designed in-house, but really wanted his input and expertise to design the posters as he would for the premiere of a horror movie release."

"We focused on real truths about how scary driving can be sometimes," Woolford says. "Then it was about taking the best insights and seeing if we could match them with the Tiguan's tech."

"The pedestrian idea came from the rise of what we've been calling 'phone zombies'—people just staring at their devices without looking where they're going and stepping out onto the road. Gives us the shivers," he says.

Along with the OOH elements, DDB developed this kooky-spooky TV spot with Revolver director Bruce Hunt:

Hunt generates some unsettling night-drive atmosphere in the :50. That's no surprise, as he's got genuine genre chops, directing The Cave and serving as second-unit chief on Guillermo del Toro's Don't Be Afraid of the Dark.

"We had these anecdotes about how shit-scared some of us were about roundabouts, and it felt like it was silly enough to be funny and scary at the same time" in a commercial, Cehak says. "It was absolutely freezing, but we had these stunning clear night skies which we pumped red lights into. The location scout did an amazing job on that one. And I have to assume our fog guy was paid double."

For a recent horror-themed production that casts its brand as a blood-thirsty villain (a direction VW understandably avoids), check out this campy long-form feature from Liquid Death—if you dare!


Client: Volkswagen Australia
Marketing Communications Manager: Rowena Kanna
Brand Communications Specialist: Julie Scarff

Agency: DDB Sydney
Chief Creative Officer: Ben Welsh
Executive Creative Director: Matt Chandler
Creative Director: Tommy Cehak
Creative Director: Tim Woolford
Copywriter: Tom Lawrence
Art Director: Sam Raftl
Chief Strategy Officer: Fran Clayton
Planning Director: James Davis
Managing Partner: Mandy Whatson
Senior Business Director: Nicole Drabsch
Business Manager: Izzy Crohan
Head of Integrated Content: Renata Barbosa
Senior TV Producer: Natalie Greaves
Senior Print Producer: John Wood
Senior Designer: Paul Jansen
Senior Finished Artist: Jose Rodrigues

Production Company: Revolver
Director: Bruce Hunt
Executive Producer: Michael Ritchie & Pip Smart
Producer: Nicole Crozier
DOP: Danny Ruhlmann
Post Production: Jonathan @ Blackbird
Editor: Philip Horn
Colorist: Fergus Rotherham  
Composer: Elliot Wheeler @ Turning Studios
Sound Engineer: Tone Aston @ Rumble

Illustrator: Matt Ryan Tobin
Senior Print Producer: John Wood
Senior Designer: Paul Jansen
Senior Finished Artist: Jose Rodrigues

Media: PHD

Advertise With Us

Featured Clio Award Winner



The best in creativity delivered to your inbox every morning.