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Written By: Gary Willoughby
Edited By: Richard Gunn


The Spinner Has Fahrvergnügen!

The Story Behind the Volkswagen- Blade Runner Promotion

Until recently nothing was known about the English Promotional campaign for the Volkswagen using the Blade Runner motion picture.

Over the past month I uncovered items that carried the Blade Runner Spinner and the VW or Volkswagen Logos. I have been able to purchase 6 VW/BR buttons and a related cardboard visor all from the United Kingdom. Months later I obtained a "UK Exhibitors Campaign Book", a Press Portfolio Book, and an actual VW-BR promotional pamphlet, and several light weight cardboard advertisements.

The Volkswagen-Blade Runner promotional campaign was to promote the 1983 Volkswagen Polo. It seems the London Daily Star Newspaper ran a contest and drawing to win the Volkswagen Polo. It advertised the new Volkswagen Polo as "Tomorrow's Car Today". Glancing through the "Exhibitors Campaign Book", a guide to promoting Blade Runner at the time of it's original release it states:

"The fantastic, futuristic spinner as driven by Harrison Ford in blade runner will extensively tour the country thoughout August, September and October 1982, under the auspices of Volkswagen (UK).

The spinner will appear at major crowd venues including national racing events and will gather major media exposure.

In association with the Daily Star, The Ladd company, Warner Bros and VAG (UK) Ltd., a major national contest will be launched on August 30th with a Volkswagen Polo as the Grand prize.

Support this major promotion by displaying the contest poster in your foyer, with provision for the distribution of the contest entry forms from your box-office, bar or kiosk.

Thus giving your patrons a chance to win the grand prize.

Order your requirements from:-
THE PUBLICITY DIVISION,
COLUMBIA-EMI-WARNER,
135 WARDOUR STREET,
LONDON W1V 4AP"

In merchandising this alliance between the film and the Polo automobile there were 6 free badge buttons and a summer ad-cap (cardboard visor) and book matches that were free give-aways and some miscellaneous advertisements.

Press Portfolio Book Exhibitors Campaign Book Exhibitors Campaign (Inside) Exhibitors Campaign Maze Contest
Press Portfolio Book Exhibitors Campaign Book Exhibitors Campaign Book (Inside) Exhibitors Campaign Book
Maze Contest
Pamphlet (Front) Pamphlet (Back) Pamphlet (Inside) Paper Visor
Pamphlet (Front) Pamphlet (Back) Pamphlet (Inside) Paper Visor
Pin-up Photo 1 Pin-up Photo 2 Buttons VW Polo Exhibition
Pin-up Photo 1 Pin-up Photo 2 Buttons VW Polo Exhibition

It would seem that Volkswagen probably approached Warner Brothers Studios to create this promotional campaign and use the Spinner vehicle after the Blade Runner film release. I am unclear about the exact circumstances of this collaboration. Any one that has any details please feel free to contact me. Also a special thanks to Phil Heeks and Yoshio Tsuchiya for helping me track down these promotional items and to Mr. J A Barnett and John Henson for contributing the VW newspaper article.

Gary Willoughby

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