Volkswagen Takes Minimalist Route to Stand Out
For an industry that’s been taking its knocks over the past few years, annual auto shows are high stakes environments. And for many brands, there is no more high stakes environment than the 13-day International Automotive Fair (IAA) in Frankfurt, Germany. Not only is it the world’s largest auto show, it’s the place for major reveals of the newest concept and production cars and latest technologies. This event sets the tone for auto shows and automakers around the world.
In this competitive environment, where brands like Mercedes-Benz and BMW regularly erect high-end showrooms the size of small shopping malls, Volkswagen made a statement with its trademark minimalist design perspective, blended with high-energy presentations that delivered its forward-thinking message. The visual highlight was an LED media “horizon,” a series of LED screens that created the entire back wall of the 27,000-square-foot exhibit. Throughout the show, the LED screens served double duty, providing emotional cues to attendees through moving imagery and delivering VW’s latest news, messages and visions for the future. The complete effect mapped back to the exhibit’s “horizon” theme.
Several times a day, the show combined a live, flash mob-style performance by 80 dancers with a media presentation on the LED screens, real wind effects and powerful choreographed imagery and sound. VW’s new fuel-efficient engines feature something it calls BlueMotionTechnologies, which was a central focus of the exhibit and presentations. Dancers wore fashion-forward street clothes like sneakers, jeans and knee socks, all in shades of blue. VW vehicles were driven onto the stage as the high point of the show. The performances supported the Volkswagen’s youthful appeal while also reinforcing the brand’s eco-minded offerings.
The minimalist architecture of the booth added to the dynamic environment created by the screens. The exhibit presented the entire VW lineup, 40 vehicles including Audi, Lamborghini, Bugatti and others, arranged into a wide, white “landscape” that was enclosed by the media horizon wall and emphasized by various lighting elements. Glossy white pillars, floors, walls and booth pieces served as a neutral backdrop for the fleet of cars.
The dynamic press conference environment also included kiosk displays where attendees could use trackballs to explore timelines and other interactive content. The exhibit drew and kept attendees in the booth, and reached its media objectives, specifically winning mentions focused on the brand attributes it set out to communicate within the booth.