About a mile away from the convention center Volkswagen engineered its
own immersion to capitalize on All-Star Game fanfare. The automaker
which is not an NBA sponsor took over a Tex-Mex restaurant and a
parking lot across the street for the multifaceted VWIP Lounge. Here’s
how it worked:
Throughout All-Star weekend the eatery Cabo was open only to
Volkswagen guests. To get in visitors first had to cross the street
for a VW test drive. After stepping inside a semi trailer for a
Breathalyzer test administered by Houston police officers a drivers
license scan and a quick marketing survey guests could take their
pick of new VWs for a spin around a compressed driving course—or sit in
the passenger seat while a professional driver burned rubber.
Then it was back to Cabo where—courtesy of VW—everything on the menu
was free (and pretty damn tasty we might add). There was plenty of
cobranded collateral—from menus to cocktail napkins to the wait staff’s
golf shirts. A dj from a local R&B/hip-hop station played tunes.
And upstairs a true vip lounge provided private space for athletes and
celebs who visited. Coolest design touch: a full-size pool table with
custom blue felt bearing the VWIP logo. Several All-Stars did turn out
during the weekend (the café stayed open for late-night parties) and
Los Angeles Clipper Sam Cassell showed while we were there.
To ensure a steady flow of traffic Volkswagen ran a shuttle bus
between the event and a nearby mall rounding up Houstonians and
Kenyatta Bynoe brand marketing manager at Volkswagen said the
objective was to “create an atmosphere where everyone’s a VIP… in a
friendly approachable way.” She said the company would look to deploy
the concept at other events if it judged the Houston test to be a
success. Agency: The Ad*itive Philadelphia.