VW's nasty new spokesdemon.
Well, not completely new—there is some precedent. CP+B's most famous calling card is the "King" character in its Burger King campaign. The little "Fast" demon in these VW ads owes a major debt to this previous creation. Both the King and the Fast have impassive, inanimate faces. Both are creepy advocates for their cause (the King silently hands people Whoppers; the Fast telepathically urges people to be dickheads). Just as CP+B sold Halloween masks with the King's visage, VW is now giving away little Fast statuettes to anyone who buys a GTI. (The agency has apparently decided that America loves swag.)
CP+B's employee handbook says the firm thinks advertising is "anything that makes our clients famous." No doubt these new VW spots are grabbing a ton of attention, much as the King did when he first appeared. But the jury's still out on whether CP+B can build a broad-based brand image that appeals to lots of different demographics—instead of just launching a funny fad that thrills the beer-pongers while repulsing everyone else.
Grade: A-. These are terrific ads for the GTI, and I'm certain the car's sales will spike. Schneider says new ads for the Jetta will come out in April, and I'll withhold judgment on the overall VW campaign until then.
Seth Stevenson is a frequent contributor to Slate. He is the author of Grounded: A Down to Earth Journey Around the World.