This summer I got to spend a lot of time doing my two favorite activities: 1) hanging out with my kids and 2) taking long walks with them.

This  led to a lot of games of punch buggy and unfortunately…a lot of bruises.

Anyone who thinks a 9 year old can’t hit that hard, hasn’t met my son.

I’m sure you all know the rules, but if you want a refresher, here’s a useful link.

Despite the discomfort of the over energetic punches, I can’t help to continue at marvelling at the sheer  brilliance (perhaps dumb luck?) of this phenomenon.

I can’t think of one other brand (in any category) that elicits such a strong, and physical response.

In fact we’ve limited the game to when we are walking, because I’m afraid the punches would veer me off the road if I was driving.

My kids are years away from becoming car owners. But I’ve got to think the fact that they would have spent hours in childhood playing this game (which they never seem to tire of by the way) will have some impact on their consideration of Volkswagen when they do enter the market.

The thing is, I think this game is so brilliant in that it feels organic, and thus hard to replicate.

I just recently bought a Hyundai and while I love the car, I don;t think a bunch of Hyundai marketers would be successful if they deliberately tried to start a ” Hyundai Holler” game. For example, yell every time you see one of these big boys come down the street.

Just proves to me, again, that consumers really do own brands.

That’s my point of view. What’s your twist?

Do you know other brands with “punch buggy” like status?

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Julie is the Founder and CEO of BrandTwist, a brand consultancy that helps entrepreneurs and corporations build stronger, more profitable brands.


  1. Recently Smirnoff started a new campaign (maybe in the past year or so) called “you got iced.” If someone comes up to you and says this, they present you with a fresh smirnoff ice. If you do not consume the entire beverage in the next few seconds, I am guessing something really horrifying happens. I used to work for Diageo’s contracted marketing firm so we did lots of this type of stuff in local markets at events for smirnoff, cuervo, crown, captain, etc. The “you’ve got iced” is new- and has gone national, maybe even a little viral, but I do not think it’s nearly as long standing or as strong (hah literally) as the VW example.

    Ouch! Hope your arm feels better.

    • @Kristin thanks for the comment. I do remember seeing that Smirnoff Ice campaign. The twist with that (at least what I heard) was that “getting iced” was not necessarily a positive thing since the drinks are pretty sweet and you had to chug them all in one “icing”, so it was somewhat punitive. Although I guess that depends on your taste in drinks.

      Anyway, as always, thanks for sharing. Maybe a little alcohol will help me numb the pain.


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