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As a next leg to the #ForTheJourneysWithin campaign for Volkswagen (VW) Tiguan, the brand and its agency partner 22feet Tribal Worldwide wanted to build awareness and aid discovery across digital touchpoints while staying true to the product proposition. This intent led the team to join roads with the brand’s media agency partner PHD India and automotive content brand PowerDrift, to embark on a magical journey — catching the first sunrise of India at the lesser-known Dong Valley, Arunachal Pradesh.

Captured in a visually satiating, long-format film called ‘Chase the Sun’, this exciting journey to Dong Valley, Arunachal Pradesh, undertook by Rohan Albal (Co-founder, PowerDrift) and travel photographer Arjun Menon in the Volkswagen Tiguan is a tale from the un-discovered.

Dong Valley; located at the easternmost tip of the country, amid the uncharted forests of Arunachal Pradesh; is where the sun shines for the first time before its rays touch a billion people. 

The journey saw the duo travel with a crew of around 40 people, comprising a team of local experts, cinematographers, drone and time-lapse specialists. This crew set off from the hustle and bustle of Mumbai, through the verdant tea estates of Assam, over India’s longest bridge ‘Dhola-Sadiya bridge’ into Arunachal Pradesh and on towards Walong, the gateway to Dong Valley.

It wasn’t an easy journey. Beginning with an earthquake and ending with a cyclone; the challenges ranged from broken roads, deteriorating weather conditions, and an 8-km trek in the dark to reach the vantage point. They even witnessed a full-scale forest fire, something that makes an appearance in the final film. But nothing could break the VW Tiguan and the zeal of the team as their gamble paid off, finally witnessing the first rays of the sun in the country. 

Bishwajeet Samal, Head of Marketing, Volkswagen India, said, "Digital is a key part of Volkswagen’s communications strategy in India. The medium allows us the freedom and opportunity to tell the story we want to and emotionalise the brand. We firmly believe in the power of good content. With this film (long-format content) we embark on a 10-minute, visually immersive journey of two individuals chasing the first sunrise that India sees. And in the process, we are bringing our product proposition alive in this work of pure passion. This film made Volkswagen the very first automotive brand to go to Dong Valley; that makes this journey even more special."

With this digital-first approach to brand story-telling, the film hit a record two million views within a week of its release on the YouTube Channel of PowerDrift. The VW Tiguan was searched 3X times more than its key competitors, further proving the effectiveness of the digital-first approach.

Gaurav Magotra, Business Head, West, 22feet Tribal Worldwide, said, “In a day and age where short(er) videos are almost a norm, we hedged our bets on the basics, the power of storytelling. Bringing alive the product proposition, this film has managed to deliver on all counts-delighting viewers and delivering on the brand agenda- reinforcing our beliefs.”

Rohan Albal from PowerDrift, said, “This was indeed more like a journey within for through this journey, there has been a startling revelation. That something as dismissive as a sunrise can be a surreal experience. The constant lingering rain cut right to the bone and there were challenges in what we set out to do or achieve but it felt that the Tiguan was the right companion and in the end, it was truly worth it.”

Jyoti Bansal, CEO, PHD India, said, “Taking the creative and brand positioning to a new level, #ChaseTheSun is such an apt rendition of #ForTheJourneysWithin. A great example of PHD’s challenger mindset at work of looking at media amplification from a completely different lens.”

The film: