Setting the Right Tone with Bobby Tonelli and his VW Tiguan R-Line

By davidkhoo, 13 July 2022

Bobby Tonelli sets the Right Tone with his 2022 VW Tiguan 2.0 TSI R-Line

Singapore - When you have the right partner as brand ambassador, everything clicks neatly into place with the sort of cosmic synergy that is capable of spawning new worlds.

After all, the relationship has to be a mutually beneficial one that feeds off both parties.

One creates content for his/her/their followers and the other reaps the reward of raising the brand’s awareness among said followers.

However, such content still has to be natural and organic – ‘keeping it real’ if you will – because there’s no bigger turn-off than contrived content.

Volkswagen Singapore struck gold with the forty-something petrolhead, Bobby Tonelli when it appointed him ‘brand ambassador’.

There was a happy intersection between the American actor’s deep-rooted passion for Volkswagen and its objectives in Singapore.

Bobby says, “Not every car brand has had models that have made such an impact throughout the years. For instance, when you look at a VW model, for example the Beetle or the Bus, it recalls a specific era and time. These evocative elements are part of VW’s history and what it’s stood for for quite some time.”

He continues, “The history of VW is very interesting, because it evolved into a kind of people's car, with models like the GTI, Golf, the iconic Beetle and Microbus achieving cult classic status in the meantime.”

Being an ambassador is a lot more than just getting a free car to mooch around in, because it has to segue nicely into one’s lifestyle, which then leads to the creation of authentic content that one’s followers can relate to.

His Tiguan R-Line has been a great companion for his family, as well as Praha, a rottweiler with a decidedly sweet disposition.

However, it’s not just about ‘Me and My Car’ as far as Bobby is concerned, because he makes every attempt to make sure the Tiguan is front and centre in any promo work he’s working on, such as a recent Shell video he was involved in that saw a classic Beetle pulled into the shoot too.

It’s a huge plus point that like a lot of us at TopGear Singapore, Bobby is a certifiable petrolhead with that style of rapidfire delivery that often characterises those who are very passionate about what they’re doing.

He tells us, “Growing up, cars were a big part of my DNA and I've always enjoyed it. I love talking about cars and love talking about the history of cars. Being able to relate and talk to people about the brand is very important.”

He adds, “Ambassadors are picked for various reasons: popularity, social media influence and so on, but the reality of it is you want to have some credibility when you say something. It doesn't matter if you have 500k followers or 50k followers, because if you come across as genuine, folks will go, “Hey, check out this person, they have something to say about the car (or whatever you happen to be promoting).”

Bobby continues, “There's a collaborative effect that comes into play where I’m working with VW. When VW first offered me the Tiguan, I made it a point to drive all the other models, because I wanted to understand the different personalities of the other models and how they drove. This way, if someone asks me to compare the Tiguan against the Touran, Passat or the Golf, I can rattle it off – I want to know myself. I don't want to just take the Tiguan and say, “Oh yeah, it's great!”

With VW Singapore, there’s a nice cohesiveness where we can chat about ideas and bounce them off each other. It's a nice collaboration and wherever possible, I try to integrate the brand into whatever project I’m working on

He’s a big ball of positive energy and it’s little surprise he’s indulged in many adventures with the Tiguan R-Line, many times with the family, his bicycle or Praha for company. Bobby has worked with sportscar brands, but he appreciates the Tiguan R-Line for its blend of sporty looks (thanks to the R-Line trim), perky performance and most importantly, utility!

“The Tiguan R-line is outdoorsy, sporty, aggressive and classy. I don't need a SUV that goes zero to 100 in four seconds – I don't – because that’s good for a sportscar, but not ‘reality’ for me. A SUV like the Tiguan R-Line has a nice, aggressive look that you can take out a little bit to show-off the lines and it’ll really move too – it's no slouch.”

Remember how we mentioned earlier the content an ambassador creates needs to be relatable and real to the fans? Bobby talks us through it a little more. “I try to be authentic and not hard-sell. Apart from photos, I create short videos and stuff like that, but I try to keep it real and never shove it down people's throats by hitting all the specs and selling points.”

As far as the Tiguan R-Line is concerned, it’s proving to be a versatile package. “If I want sporty one day, okay, if I want a mix of sports steering and comfort suspension, I can mix and match to my liking. This is great because it lets me tone things down for when my partner prefers a soft and easy ride.”

Bobby shows a real pride of possession as far as his Tiguan R-Line is concerned too, because he’s constantly wiping-off stains and water spots during our shoot.

He only ever wants the crossover to look its best and that means spotless and unblemished.

He tells us, “I wanted the Tiguan to look good and the weather has really been off-and-on off-and-on and because it’s white, any dirt shows on the back-end. I brought the cleaning stuff with me to tidy it up if it got dirty. I usually wash the Tiguan about once a week – I don’t like a dirty car!”

“More importantly, I want people to see the Tiguan R-Line when it’s looking good. I'm very aware of these things, because I love taking photos of the car and for my camera and tech reviews, I try to use the car as my model whenever I can,” Bobby continues. 

And how about the relationship with Volkswagen Singapore? Bobby smiles, “It’s been a fantastic relationship so far. I've worked with brands where we get along well, but with VW Singapore, there’s a nice cohesiveness where we can chat about ideas and bounce them off each other. It's a nice collaboration and wherever possible, I try to integrate the brand into whatever project I’m working on.”

PHOTOS Penoramic Publishing

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