Volkswagen of America introduces its fully-electrically-driven SUV, the ID.4, expected to launch this Spring, via a short history lesson on transportation. Developed with the help of creative agency Johannes Leonardo, the campaign is centered around the idea that “History is made, when it’s made for everyone.” By combining the accessibility of the car with its price, mass adoption might be triggered. The New-York-based agency captured the impact of this moment in a one-and-a-half-long video, which places the ID.4 on the mobility and transportation’s timeline.

Directed by Sam Brown, the video titled “The Wheel,” is a cinematic ode to the history of mobility, inviting car enthusiasts to take a look back into the old days so that they can be part of the future. To tell this part of the past, from ancient Mesopotamia to this day and age, the director used some of the oldest devices of motion in film.

The result is a wonderful story “narrated” by vintage animation devices, such as the zoetrope, praxinoscope, early projectors, and phenakistoscope, briefly presenting the stages of transportation which reach climax via the ID.4. More than 50 artists and engineers worked on the zoetropes so that they appear as though they are pulled out right from the eras they belonged to.

At the beginning of the film, all these stages of the evolution of transport are presented as an orchestra, each “member” having a well-defined task in history. As the images progress from one historical moment to another — from a horse-drawn carriage to the presentation of a train — we finally arrive at an animated scene where a series of cars are caught on “a highway of pollution,” says the agency. This fascinating journey in time ends with the silhouette of a human being — the conductor behind all this historic symphony — walking towards the new ID.4 Electric SUV.

It seems that the brand has a passion for history. In a previous spot titled “The Last Mile,” made in partnership with the same agency, the automaker helps the famous Beetle car say goodbye to the world. Although the vehicle is the main character and the action revolves mainly around it, it is the people who have built emotions around the car who bring the story to life. The same happens in the action of the current campaign: The film tells a story about a series of historical discoveries that form the foundation of some notable experiences that humanity has witnessed.


Client: Volkswagen North America

Agency: Johannes Leonardo
Executive Producer: Rebecca O’Neill
Associate Producer: Haley Harris
Chief Creative Officer: Jan Jacobs
Chief Creative Officer: Leo Premutico
Creative Director: Kevin Watkins, Jono Flannery
Copywriter: Patrick Wells
Art Director: Iwona Usakiewicz

VFX Production
VFX Production: The Mill
Executive Producer: Chris Allen, Clairellen Wallin
Producer: Mia Saunders, Shannon Botts
Production Coordinator: Judit Jakli
Production Supervisor: Julia Paskert

Production Company
Production Company: Rogue Films
Director: Sam Brown
Executive Producer: Doug Halbert
Producer: Polly Ruskin
Director of Photography: Sebastien Blenkov

Colour: The Mill
Colourist: Seamus O’Keane, Thomas Mangham
Executive Producer, Colour: Charlie Morris
Colour Producer: Evan Baur

VFX Creative
VFX Creative: The Mill
Creative Director: Jorge Montiel, Wes
Shoot Supervisor: Wes
2D Lead Artist: Gary Driver
3D Lead Artist: Ben Blundell
2D Artist: Thiago Dantas, Pete Atack, Kristian Reyes-Cabrera, Charles Dockerill, Ant Walsham, Didem Ergor, Fabien Coupez Anne Trotman
3D Artist: Laurie Estampes, Joe Besagni
Finish Artist: Rich Watson, Holly McLean, Jeanette Eiternes
Design: David Rowley, Kevan Lee