Welcome to the Will It Stick? podcast we take a look at the road to brand fame and the risk to get there. Hosts Alexis and Melissa break down the craziest brand stunts, from the idea that sparked the stunt, to how it was pulled off. Join us for this episode, as they take a look back to 2009 and the Fun Theory implemented by Volkswagen. They began their campaign by encouraging people to create something that improved the environment. For their part, Volkswagen began by making the stairs musical or colorful to inspire people to take the stairs rather than the escalator.

VW’s Take on The Fun Theory

They put the challenge out globally, offering the winner twenty-five hundred euros. The submissions started flooding in. The winner was American citizen Kevin Richardson who invented the speed camera lottery. His idea was to put cameras at intersections where speeders paid their tickets into a lottery that rewarded drivers going the speed limit. This was just one of the interesting campaigns that Volkswagen has used to market itself as an authentic brand.


While Volkswagen has not continued the tradition of fun or nostalgic ads, their work is strongly remembered and inspired other ad campaigns across companies. Other brands have gotten in on the fun theory, like Smirnoff Ice’s superhero-themed parties, Gilmore Girls’ reboot created buzz by pop-up Luke’s Diners across the country or HBO’s show-themed escape rooms. The fun theory, while sometimes indirect, can be really effective to bring people back to your brand.

Luke’s Coffee Pop-Up to Celebrate Gilmore Girls’ Netflix Reboot

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Check out some of the great articles we sourced to gather all the facts for this episode.

Watch the VW People First Rain Ad here.

Watch the VW Fun Theory Ad here.

Read the AdAge article here on the People First Warranty

Read the AdAge article here about the Fun Theory contest

Read this article from the MarTech Advisor on The Fun Theory

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