Kris Mangini Thompson

The Work




Volkswagen 9 to 5 Test Drive

9 to 5

Volkswagen wanted to give people a chance to test drive a new VW. So we decided to bring a fleet of cars to people, at work. We called it The 9 to 5 Test Drive. The idea was simple. Engage folks by making fun of the “humdrum” of office life. We set up in the cafeteria. We served snacks. We set up photocopiers and encouraged people to photocopy their faces for a free prize. And we gave away limited-edition Swatch-style watches, computer rearview mirrors and tons of other cool VW stuff. Plus, we held a prize draw for a free Cubicle Makeover for all folks who took a test-drive. And if all this wasn’t cool enough, all employees received an amazing discount on the purchase of a new VW.

Volkswagen at the Sundance Film Festival


It was a simple idea: Let’s celebrate the best of America’s independent films. Give independent filmmakers a chance to share their work and allow true film lovers a chance to experience them. As a Sundance sponsor, we felt there was no better way to nurture the independent spirit than to do whatever we could to... well, promote the heck out of the films.

And there was no better way to do that than to allow the audience themselves to create the buzz. A real-life recommendation is what everyone looks for.When it comes to movies and to driving cars.So we grabbed a video camera and asked the audience to talk about their favorite films,and at the same time we let folks get behind the wheel of the new Touareg and gave them a chance to talk about the ride. The focus, from t-shirts to hats to postcards and coasters,was about helping to promote the Sundance films.

Volkswagen’s Support the Movies Central
Send postcards (we’ll pick up the postage). Make hats and tshirts(we’ve got sharpies). All we ask is that you get on camera and talk-up this year’s must-see movies. Come by and start a buzz about your favorite Sundance Film Festival movie. Then stay tuned...Your movie reviews will play around town at various Sundance parties and events.

"See This Movie" Premiums
Along with "See this Movie" hats, t-shirts and postcards we created interactive coasters as well. We left hundreds of them all over Park City bars and restaurants along with sharpie markers for people to get in the spirit of helping to promote the movies.

Another Guerilla effort involved our Sundance microwave popcorn bags. Complimentary bags were given to hotels in the Park City area. When guests checked in for the festival, they were given a bag along with their room keys. The bag invited them to stop by Support the Movies Central, where, along with a bunch of free stuff (i.g. lollipops, mints and lip balm), we had microwaves available to pop their Enjoy the Show popcorn.

Surprise and Delight

Our Surprise and Delight Crew handed out hot chocolate and Krispy Kreme donuts each chilly morning to the slews of moviegoers standing in line to get tickets.

Car Wrap / Banners

There was an overall look and feel to our Sundance branding. There were a number of banners, car wraps and misc. promotional items scattered around town – all keeping with the integrated Enjoy the Show look and feel.

Volkswagen Drive-in Movie Party

Close to a thousand festival-goers attended the Volkswagen Drive-in Movie party. It was a hip VIP party on a horse ranch. We set up a big screen, hired a hot Los Angeles-based VJ and
parked a bunch of Volkswagens in front of the screen. Moviestyle snacks and beverages were served. And the dance floor was never empty.

2005 Volkswagen Sponsorship

Volkswagen College Outreach

college outreachFor Volkswagen, reaching out to the college market is a total no-brainer. College students are clearly one of the biggest VW targets. So, with that in mind, Volkswagen has created a number of efforts that reach out to them on their campuses. In some cases, Volkswagen has partnered up with other brands, Lonely Planet Guides for example, to create a team outreach effort. And again and again, the student reception has been wonderful.

Creatively, the guidelines have always been the following. We need to talk to these people in a voice they relate to and NOT try to pull any overly salesmanny schtick with them; they can smell that BS a mile away and they resent it. Also, let’s give them things they really want and need, instead of foam soda cozies and XXXL t-shirts. Most importantly, let’s host activities like contests and scavenger hunts that are so cool college kids are dying to play along.

College Newspaper Ad

Volkswagen at The New Yorker Festival '04

New Yorker Festival '04

Each October, Volkswagen sponsors The New Yorker Festival. A weekend celebration of arts and ideas, held in Manhattan. As a part of our sponsorship, we set up a tent at The New Yorker Festival Headquarters. We gave away delicious red apples branded with a “VW”, passed out Volkswagen t-shirts, and we took souvenir photos of festival attendees inside the wildly popular New Beetle Convertible wrapped to look like a NY taxi cab. The display car was so popular, NY cabbies were honking their horns and stopping to take photos. We sponsored a couple of after-parties, gave away Volkswagen “Beetle Taxi” branded Zagat guides to festival participants in a special VIP gift bag, plus we sponsored the famed Humor Review, for which we created a fun event specific ad that appeared in the event program and tied all our “Beetle Taxi”efforts together.


Volkswagen has made a committed effort to reach out to the gay community through various marketing efforts. These included sponsorship of gay events and pride celebrations. Once again we were out there, in the crowd reaching out to this key demographic. The creative we produced was simple, but tied our cars to the gay lifestyle. Some of it was repurposeable and therefore became part of a “diversity kit” with elements like tshirts, rainbow car air fresheners and removable tattoos. And then other stuff was created with a specific event in mind. A couple of examples of these events include Volkswagen’s Beach Weekend in Provincetown, MA, and Gay Ski Week in Aspen, CO.

Flip-flop invite
Instead of the traditional party invite, we handed out flip-flops (on the streets, slopes and at local hotels) inviting folks to our big pool party. As a added bonus, you could pick up the left shoe at the party.A unique invitation that also worked as a premium.

The GTI Tour / The Rec Room


If there’s one Volkswagen driver out there who embodies the Driver’s Wanted spirit, one who is perhaps even more excited about our cars than we are, it is the GTI driver. They are the essence of the Volkswagen brand: educated, passionate, and crazy loyal. The truth is, these are the drivers we should look to when we want to create genuine buzz about a new car.

That said, we knew it was time to get out there and connect with them, so we created the GTI Heritage Tour. At the core of this tour was a massive roving rec room fashioned out of a tractor trailer: the GTI Rec Room. We outfitted it with shag carpet, wood paneling and seating from groovy Recaro racing seats – it was old-school ‘80s just like you remember it. We brought in some classic video games and set them on free play. We hung old GTI ads and cool velvet posters on the walls and blared the greatest hits from the ‘80s on a boom box. And then we took it to some of the festivals where we knew we could find these folks. Events like Waterfest®, Waterwagons, Midwest Treffen and H2O, to name a few. And, of course, we had test drives.

And to offset the mile-long lines, we handed out all sorts of free stuff: black velvet crest limited-edition posters, GTI-branded Velcro wallets, sweat bands and truckloads of t-shirts and tank tops sporting the amazing Heritage GTI crest. All these little things went a long way. To those who care passionately about the brand, those who collect the memorabilia, the Heritage Tour was a sincere thank-you from a brand they already love.