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What all marketers can learn from the Volkswagen!

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In the early 1980’s there were two automobile giants in talks with the Indian government, to launch a small car in India. One of them was Suzuki that went on to create history with the launch of the Maruti 800. The auto giant that didn’t make it is taking no such chances the second time around and has entered India with a bang.

The Volkswagen has arrived in India!

Let us look at the kind of promotion used by Volkswagen in India and how it can be used by other marketers. The three channels that stand out from the campaign are the use of Direct Marketing, Social Media Marketing and Traditional Media Marketing.

Direct Marketing has mostly been used as channel by the FMCG and CPG Industries. But Volkswagen created history by attaching the contraption to all Times of India and The Hindu in September last year.

I think it was the first time in India that a technical product manufacturer used the direct marketing channel. There was been small local attempts by other auto makers but the mass market direct marketing was attempted for the first time in India.

The advertisement was by means of a small device which had a recorded message on the Volkswagen next to a print advertisement. Some people got scared, others were amused but the most important point was that marketers from Volkswagen had the nation’s attention.

To view the direct marketing on the newspaper you can refer this You Tube Video below.

Social Media Marketing has been another channel that Volkswagen has used very effectively. Currently they are running a contest on Twitter called ‘anything4jetta’ with winners winning T shirts and other goodies. The grand prize is you guessed it a brand new Jetta.

Anything-for-jetta

Currently the Volkswagen India Twitter account has about 5,000 followers. While they follow only 170, so there is a genuine interest created by the social media marketers by Volkswagen.

If you compare this to the Maruti SX4 Twitter account they have about 300 odd followers. The Facebook page for Volkswagen India has about 30,000 Likes. ‘anything4jetta’ contest runs on the Facebook page as well. This is another good practice of synchronizing the campaign.

Finally to the TV commercial that Volkswagen is running these days and to be honest, it is a letdown. I was excited about this commercial as this was shot in my apartment block in Bangalore. But the Ad at a concept level fails to communicate anything substantial.

It shows a man with wings and how he changes from a gawky teenager to becoming a hero. But it is Volkswagen that gives him the satisfaction not becoming a hero. So after two successful examples of good marketing campaigns the Volkswagen marketers deliver a lemon.

But the international TV commercial for the 2012 Passat is really cool, please see the video below. The ad was a spoof on the Star Wars Movies and am sure will win a few awards.

So in Conclusion, Volkswagen India has got some of the things right, especially on the Direct Marketing and Social Marketing. They came in with a good TV commercial on the Polo but have faltered since then. There is a lot that other marketers can learn from their campaigns.

Your comments are welcome!

  1. Vikram Venkateswaran says

    I agree, but Direct Marketing is a marketing channel speaking to the target segment, I feel in this case rather than being a print advertisement, the contraption addressed the individual directly, hence will transition from a traditional marketing campaign to one of direct marketing. But this is a very unique example and sits on the fence literally. Do let me know if you have heard of any other examples likes this? It will be interesting to me and to other marketers.

  2. Vikram Venkateswaran says

    I agree, but Direct Marketing is a marketing channel speaking to the target segment, I feel in this case rather than being a print advertisement, the contraption addressed the individual directly, hence will transition from a traditional marketing campaign to one of direct marketing. But this is a very unique example and sits on the fence literally. Do let me know if you have heard of any other examples likes this? It will be interesting to me and to other marketers.

  3. Vikram Venkateswaran says

    I agree, but Direct Marketing is a marketing channel speaking to the target segment, I feel in this case rather than being a print advertisement, the contraption addressed the individual directly, hence will transition from a traditional marketing campaign to one of direct marketing. But this is a very unique example and sits on the fence literally. Do let me know if you have heard of any other examples likes this? It will be interesting to me and to other marketers.

  4. Vikram Venkateswaran says

    I agree, but Direct Marketing is a marketing channel speaking to the target segment, I feel in this case rather than being a print advertisement, the contraption addressed the individual directly, hence will transition from a traditional marketing campaign to one of direct marketing. But this is a very unique example and sits on the fence literally. Do let me know if you have heard of any other examples likes this? It will be interesting to me and to other marketers.

  5. Sethu Meenakshisundaram says

    Only when a customer becomes "Addressable", it is termed direct marketing, isn't it? If true, the newspaper campaign still comes as a part of Traditional Marketing. Please clarify.

    1. Vikram Venkateswaran says

      I agree, but Direct Marketing is a marketing channel speaking to the target segment, I feel in this case rather than being a print advertisement, the contraption addressed the individual directly, hence will transition from a traditional marketing campaign to one of direct marketing. But this is a very unique example and sits on the fence literally. Do let me know if you have heard of any other examples likes this? It will be interesting to me and to other marketers.

  6. Rohit says

    Very nice strategy. The step which they used in direct marketing via TOI or ET is the best I think.

    1. Dr Vikram says

      @Rohit yes I agree, I cannot think of another example where direct marketing was used for a technical product like an automobile. Very well thought out and break through, loved the concept.

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