VW, Lance Acord Return to the Big Game Stage

With Little Vaders and Neil Diamond

Which brand will take home the 2024 Super Clio for the best Super Bowl commercial? We'll find out on Feb. 12.

Volkswagen's 2024 Super Bowl entry makes it official: VW is a quintessentially American car.

Sure, it hails from Germany. But since The Beetle arrived on these shores 75 years ago, the company's makes and models have become as ingrained in the national psyche as any automobiles from Ford or General Motors.

With Neil Diamond's pop anthem "I Am ... I Said" reverberating on the soundtrack, VW offers a trek through time, weaving archival clips and fresh footage into "An American Love Story." Johannes Leonardo helped develop the campaign.

Lance Acord, who lensed "The Force," Volkswagen's beloved 2011 SB spot, steers us on a nostalgic ride. Nodding to that classic, Little Vaders appear, along with references to various VW campaigns of yore.

It's a smooth, engaging drive that reminds us of the brand's ubiquity beyond America's roads and highways. VW imagery, messaging and styles have permeated media and culture. It's part of our extended reality—a fusion of steel, glass, pixels, hopes and dreams.

Here's an extended cut:

On the one hand, it's basically a clip show. But Accord puts it over with considerable panache. The brand's underdog story feels very much in synch with traditional notions of the American dream. 

Nothing here's just hype. The car's an icon with sales in high gear. So, we've got truth in Super Bowl advertising. Imagine that.

"This year marks the 75th anniversary of Volkswagen in America, and the Super Bowl was the perfect stage to not only celebrate this moment, but to rekindle the love for VW in hearts and minds, and invite a new generation to continue with us," JL ECD Jonathan Santana tells Muse.

"The center of gravity for this entire project was authenticity to the VW heritage and loyalists. It's what informed all our production decisions—from design to talent to wardrobe, and even the paint samples of the 27 car models featured. The result is a true homage to this brand."

As for Acord's return, "He truly understands the tone and creative sensibility, wit and simplicity like no other," Santana says.

Indeed, "An American Love Story" works because the team didn't try to outdo "The Force" (good luck with that). Rather, they went in a different direction. It's way more sweeping and grandiose than the spot from 13 years ago. Yet, it feels like an intimate story, too, with emotional resonance to spare.

Will advertising nerds herald "An American Love Story" as a classic? Probably not. But it succeeds on its own terms. It doesn't roll big, but it works darn well.

The spot was shot on various film stocks, with old and new meshing seamlessly as the tale moves from monochrome to color.

"The first edit review brought with it an amazing find in song choice," says JL group executive producer Rebecca O'Neill. "Kirk Baxter, our editor, along with Lance, found the Neil Diamond track, 'I am ... I said.' Apart from the song's inherent power, it is a story of finding oneself and making it."

A Diamond song for the car's diamond anniversary. Thankfully, they never considered Neil's somewhat similar track "America." That would've been too on the nose.

"'I Am ... I Said' is such a rallying cry for being bigger than yourself and for those who seek to find a sense of belonging," Santana says. "It captures a moment in time for the brand as well, being released at the height of counter culture in the '70s."

CLICK HERE to watch all of this year's Super Bowl commercials as they're released. 

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