When it comes to branded eco-marketing, there's a school of thought that argues it's easier being blue than green. Consider Volkswagen an A+ student of the Blue School. Today VW launches its global "Think Blue." eco-campaign in the US, an initiative to promote "eco-friendly mobility and progressive ideas for responsible action in everyday life."
Echoing its classic "Think Small" tagline for the Beetle, which is being redesigned and relaunched, the US campaign for "Think Blue" includes a new sponsorship of New York's Museum of Modern Art, making VW the latest German automaker to align its commitment to sustainability with a high-profile cultural partnership in the Big Apple.
BMW and Audi this month unveiled sponsorships in New York with the Guggenheim and the Openhouse Gallery, respectively, to put their brands at the heart of conversations about forward-thinking sustainability, not only in terms of technology but the social, cultural and creative intersection of sustainability and innovation.
"Think Blue" was launched in Europe in February 2010, but was held back for US marketing until its new US$1 billion Chattanooga manufacturing facility, described as one of the world’s most eco-forward automobile factories, was ready. The plant, which just produced out its first car last month, is the showpiece of VW's heightened commitment to green blue manufacturing in the US. The LEED-compliant (naturally) facility is touted as setting "new benchmarks for environmentally-friendly and resource efficient plant structures and production processes."
"Think Blue.' bears witness to our holistic understanding of sustainability," Jonathan Browning, President and CEO of Volkswagen Group of America, stated. "On the one hand, the new Volkswagen plant in Chattanooga demonstrates just how eco-friendly and resource saving automobile production can be today. And on the other, we are seeking to intensify our dialog with art and society on key issues of the future through our cooperation with MoMA."
With "Think Blue." now expanding to its American operations, Volkswagen says it's "addressing the question as to how to reconcile individual mobility and sustainable actions. The initiative not only concerns the development of eco-friendly products and technologies and resource efficient production processes. Volkswagen is also seeking to heighten broad public awareness for sustainable actions and encourage everyone to play an active part."
The green blue launch is being reinforced with the new two-year deal with MoMa and its PS1 exhibition space in nearby Long Island City. The brand's MoMA partnership is the biggest corporate sponsorship for that institution, and will result in a contemporary art exhibition with the working title, "International Discovery,” as well as sponsorship of MoMA's online education program, the donation of two works by Francis Alÿs, and the sponsorship of a series of installations in The Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Sculpture Garden.
VW's “Think Blue.” initiative, designed "to provide food for thought for sustainable action in all areas of society," also ties into Volkswagen's rollout of environmentally friendly products and technologies under its “Blue Motion” technology banner in the US.
The XL1 prototype, which Volkswagen debuted in January, "offers a glimpse of sustainable mobility of the future — with fuel consumption of 0.9 l/100 km, the near-series XL1 emits only 24 g/km CO2."
Just rolled out in Australia and Canada, "Think Blue." kicks off in the US with print ads, online marketing and billboards in the vicinity of MoMA's midtown Manhattan flagship and around the new plant in Chattanooga. A national marketing campaign will follow.
The tagline, of course, goes back to DDB's legendary "Think Small" slogan of the 60s, "which drew attention to how the Volkswagen Beetle contributed to democratizing mobility. The challenge of the future lies in making efficient and sustainable mobility accessible to everyone. Volkswagen intends to play a pioneering role in this context, as symbolized by the "Think Blue." campaign launched by the Volkswagen brand in 2010."
Below: Celebrating the MoMA partnership today in New York, from L-R: Volkswagen board member Dieter Pötsch, MoMA director Glenn Lowry, Volkwagen chairman Dr. Martin Winterkorn, and MoMA PS1 director Klaus Biesenbach.