The latest instalment from Marvel Studios, Ant-Man and The Wasp: Quantumania,
 is now showing on big screens in theatres around the world.

Quantumania brings audiences into the Quantum Realm, embarking on an adventure with one of the most likeable characters in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

The launch of the movie has not only put Marvel Studios and Disney in the limelight again, but also automotive brand, Volkswagen. The brand’s fully electric ID.4 will feature in the movie acting as the family car for the superhero.

Alongside featuring in the movie, the ID.4 will also make an appearance in custom-created content for social media, TV, and big screens, showing Ant-Man and Cassie Lang in a staged sequence for viewers to enjoy. 

Frankie Youd spoke to Salim Yüksel, who is responsible for future trends, strategic partnerships, and global branded entertainment at Volkswagen, to learn more about the collaboration and to discuss why Ant-Man is the perfect superhero for the ID.4.

Just Auto (JA): How did you come to be in this role at Volkswagen?

Salim Yüksel (SY): Due to the disruptive changes in the automotive industry, but also in marketing communications over the last years, brands need to rethink how, when and where they communicate.

Digital formats help brands to get in touch with global audiences and reach to new target groups.

People don´t watch as much linear TV as in the past but are more focused on streaming platforms.

Emotional storytelling is key to bring messages across and win people’s heads and hearts. That´s why companies worldwide are increasingly focusing on ‘Emotional Brand Building’ in context of Blockbuster movies, series, music, gaming, etc.

For me as brand manager, trend researcher and innovator, it´s important to understand these kind of trends in an early phase and consider these insights also in our brand communication strategy.

How did the collaboration with Marvel Studios Disney come to be?

We are in continuous dialogue with major film studios and screen up to 800 different partnership opportunities per year – usually 2-3 years before the franchises have their global release. Based on this screenings and brand specific criterion, we create a shortlist of preferred brand partnerships and step into deeper discussions.

Of course, we are not the only brand doing this, other major brands are doing the same. Finally, creatives decide which brand fits best to the storytelling because it has to be authentic and fit to the overall approach.

Could you discuss some of the content created for the 360 campaign for the movie?

There are different angles on how we are approaching this campaign. On the one side we are placed in the movie. Additionally, we have also co-developed with the Disney and Marvel team custom content, such as a Volkswagen Custom Trailer, Behind Scenes Featurette, Premiere Clip, etc. The partnership is based on much more than just the film placement.

Alongside this, the activation is now global. We have activation in North and South America, Europe and Asia, the markets are activating on TV, social media, in cinema and so on.

How does the ID.4 fit in with the characters in the movie?

Global Blockbuster franchises from Marvel are one of the highest grossing movies of our time and Ant-Man is well-known as one of the most-likeable characters in the Marvel Universe.

With the integration of the ID.4 in the movie, as well as the accompanying campaign,  we are reaching millions of people worldwide. In addition, the character of Scott Lang (Ant-Man) fits perfectly to our brand: he is a sympathetic person, humorous, authentic and an everyday hero, who cares about his daughter. In our point of view – this character is a really good match for a brand like Volkswagen.

What are some of the key highlights of the vehicle?

The ID.4 is Volkswagen’s first e-SUV. As a top model suitable for long distances, it is based on Volkswagen’s modular e-drive system and, with its low centre of gravity, offers a rich road holding.

Its expressive design, characterised by a flowing yet powerful design language, simultaneously offers outstanding aerodynamics (cd value from 0.28) and, with its 77 kWh (82 kWh gross) high-voltage battery, enables a maximum range of up to 531 km (according to WLTP). For the US, the EPA range is up to 275 miles.

With its short overhangs at the front and rear, the ID.4 offers an emotional SUV design. At the same time, it delivers a lounge-like spaciousness in the interior corresponding to one vehicle class higher (boot volume of 543 litres – 1,575 litres).

In the interior, the ID.4 offers a comfortable, high-quality ambience with a simultaneously functional interior. The seats of the ID.4 impress with modern materials on the seats – all seat covers are animal-free. The extensive ambient lighting underlines the interior design concept.

For long distances, the intelligent e-route planner creates a clever multi-stop route plan that gets the car to its destination as quickly as possible. This is constantly updated – for example, when driving efficiently with lower power consumption, necessary charging stops are moved back.

Is there anything up and coming this year that you are excited to be working on?

These collaborations are very exciting and inspiring, and of course, this is not the only franchise we are working on. Volkswagen as a brand, as a people’s brand, has the intention to address different target groups.

You will see in the next months and years that we are focusing mainly on movies,
but also on dramas, particularly comedies; we will also do a lot for children and so on.

Beyond the activation of film franchises, we also see how other territories are developing – the growing importance and relevance of gaming, eSports, or what’s happening in the music industry with new kinds of collaborations in this direction.

We have the wave of electrifying mobility coming, but we also know that the next big wave will be autonomous driving. With autonomous driving this will raise new opportunities, new visions, new ideas about the possibility of mobility in future. In-car entertainment is quite an interesting field in this context that will offer quite new opportunities in the mobility as well as entertainment industry.