Volkswagen and Disney Taking Herbie on the Road

Posted on by Chief Marketer Staff

Volkswagen of America and Walt Disney Pictures will hit the road in May with the Disney live-action character Herbie, a VW Beetle with a mind of its own, in a grassroots effort to help promote the upcoming motion picture Herbie Fully Loaded.

Volkswagen and Disney are
taking Herbie on tour

The Herbie and Friends Cruise tour will include Herbie, tricked out as a NASCAR contender for the movie, and a slew of classic Volkswagens and their owners, who will participate by driving along the route. The road trip will begin May 13 in San Francisco and is scheduled to end May 31 in New York. Along the way, the convoy will stop for impromptu mini car shows at 25 select VW dealerships along the route, as well as other undetermined promotional stops to plug the movie.

VW will be handing out promotional items at the car shows. Volkswagen is promoting the event through its magazine for Volkswagen owners, Driver, and through Karmannghia.org, the Web site of a Volkswagen owners group known as the Karman Ghia Club of North America (KGCNA).

The 25 stops would primarily take place between the start date and May 22, when the tour reaches the Michigan Vintage Volkswagen Festival in Ypsilanti, said Clark Campbell, Volkswagen of America’s promotions manager.

Herbie Fully Loaded opens nationwide June 24, and stars Lindsay Lohan, Matt Dillon and Michael Keaton. Maggie Peyton (Lohan), the new owner of Herbie, puts the car through its paces on the road to becoming a NASCAR competitor. The new version of Herbie made its debut last week at the New York International Auto Show.

The tour was originally a KGCNA initiative to drive a convoy of Volkswagen’s from the Los Angeles area to the Michigan Vintage Volkswagen Festival and then take a cruise ship to Europe to attend the 50th anniversary celebration of the Karmann Ghia in Germany. Along the way, Volkswagen is giving the group exclusive tours of the Volkswagen of America and Karmann USA plants.

The movie and the tour are also a part of both Walt Disney Pictures and Volkswagen of America’s 50th anniversary celebrations, VW spokesman Tony Fouladpour said. The first Herbie movie—Herbie The Love Bug —debuted in 1966.

“Disney saw it as a way to promote its movie, and we thought it would be a great promotion for our own anniversary,” Campbell said.

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