Volkswagen creates striking bowling experience


We’ve been talking a lot recently about how brands don’t just use experiential techniques to create a buzz, but also to make an audience stop and listen to an important message.

A recent stunt that caught our attention has been Volkswagen’s ‘bowling brake’. The automotive company decided that the best way to spread awareness of safety in a spirited way was to take its campaign to a place where fun and laughter is already happening. In this case, a bowling alley in Brazil.

Volkswagen bowling campaign image 1.jpg

The clever activation installed hidden super magnets into the flooring of the lanes and the balls. When keen bowlers went to throw the ball to try and score a strike, they were extremely shocked when it came to a sudden stop just before hitting any pins.

The players can be seen in the campaign’s video looking very confused in response to the stunt. But while it initially appeared to be a light-hearted prank, Volkswagen had a very different motivation.

Volkswagen bowling campaign image 2.jpg

The activation was created to promote the brand’s ‘City Emergency Braking’ system, which uses laser sensors to detect and prevent accident risks when driving through busy city centers. The use of the bowling alley was a fun and interactive way to illustrate exactly how the key feature works in a relatable and memorable setting.

This isn’t the first time that VW has taken this type of approach in order to promote a key message. When the brand wanted to remind drivers about the dangers of blind spots, it played a fun shoulder tapping game with people on the streets of Spain. Both activations show how a highly-creative and inventive experiential approach can generate both awareness and conversation.

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Author bio


With nearly 30 years of marketing experience, both client and agency side, I’ve acquired a rare perspective on brands and business: I believe you have to challenge things creatively if you want to grow sales. Consumer technology is reshaping our world, and it’s only the great brands that stay on the crest.