Volkswagen or Voicewagen ???

Today morning was full of surprises for Times of India readers in Delhi, Mumbai, Bengaluru and Pune. It wasn’t due to any shocking news but a well thought and deliberated advertisement!!! And whats the return of this huge marketing spend and hoopla? I say it’s getting noticed and for good. Indians have a conservative mindset and are reluctant to try anything that’s new or un-tested. This made Volkswagen adapt a wide-spread marketing blitz right from its entry into the Indian market.

With its intention of making deeper inroads in the Indian Automobile segment VW had launched a similar print campaign last November where all editions of Times of India and Economic Times had close to 16,000 square centimeters of print space. The basic offset was to familiarize Indians with the 70-year-old European car maker. This was the time where they had only 4 up-market cars in their kitty – Jetta, Passat, Beetle and Touraeg. This made VW establish itself as a premium brand and it later helped to leverage on this communication during their launch of Polo.

So, what was so special about today’s advertisement?  VW has notched up a global first of sorts by carrying “talking advertisement”. Similar ad was also displayed on yesterdays Hindu edition.

The opening page of the wraparound carries this announcement:
“The Times of India and Volkswagen have created four pages of content as part of a special media innovation. Don’t miss reading and listening to this ‘speaking newspaper’.”

On the last page of the wraparound is a full-page Volkswagen ad for its new model Vento.
As the page is opened a light-sensitive speaker—yes, a light-sensitive speaker— weighing no more than a mere 10-15 grams and stuck on the extreme left panel in the advertisement (above), belts out the line in a loop:
“Best in class German engineering is here. The new Volkswagen Vento. Built with great care and highly innovative features. Perhaps that’s why it breaks the hearts of our engineers to watch it drive away.
“The new Volkswagen Vento.  Crafted with so much passion, it’s hard to let it go.
“Volkswagen. Das Auto.”
The same Volkswagen ad runs in other papers without the audio.

So, what say?? Was this blitzkrieg worth doing?? I believe, YES. This is the time when manufacturers need to differentiate and innovate in their communication. And what better time for VW when they already have 2 of their number-crunching models – Polo and Vento at showrooms!!!

Way to go VW 


5 thoughts to “Volkswagen or Voicewagen ???”

  1. no doubt a wonderful tool of creating buzz.. but it came with a bag full of disadvantages too.. newspaper readers felt the sound was a nuisance and many thot it was a BOMB!!! Gr8 tool to create buzz but not tat effective in communicatin a particular message!!! isnt it??

  2. Right said summiya !!! You've actually hit the nail on its head…
    Any marketer's dream is to catch attention of its audience; and what better way than doing this. The ad was a shock for some and delight for many. Its like the saying – "You can either like it, or hate it. But can't ignore it" 🙂
    What say??

  3. I don't agree with the writer of this column where he says "Indians have a conservative mindset and are reluctant to try anything that’s new or un-tested." The brand equity of VW is so strong and their product 'POLO' is so adorable when I went to see it in the showroom, I instantly fell in love. Actually I had scouted many cars for almost a month and had narrowed on BEAT. Then I just casually thought of having a look at POLO and when I returned from VW showroom I was 100% prepared in my mind to buy only POLO and nothing else. There was 100 days waiting period when I decided to buy it but I thought it worth waiting rather than buying any other car. Now I am proud owner of this wonderful machine. Only pity is that the people at Pune dealers are not customer centric and I don't how they are at other places. VW guys should train them and ask them to learn customer care from Maruti. They are the best in India.

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