Volkswagen Marketing Matures with “Why VW?” Campaign
Combining the romanticism of the open road with broad social engagement, Volkswagen’s multi-pronged “Why VW” campaign has already made waves in the automotive and marketing worlds. The release of its unique “Smiles” commercial, a car company advertisement that doesn’t advertise any cars, signifies a commitment to innovative marketing strategy. Coming off the success of a recent Super Bowl advertisement and record-breaking sales, VW isn’t taking its foot off the marketing pedal.
Volkswagen didn’t limit its video marketing to television commercials. WhyVW.com is a brand new piece of VW’s marketing strategy, and Forbes.com marks it as a grown up angle for the company that hits on multiple levels. Build around attractive visual media, this online testimony platform features informational videos and compelling personal anecdotes. In the video “First Date to Forever,” a young Minnesota couple describes how Volkswagen has played a part in their relationship. They drove from their wedding in a yellow Beetle and took their daughter home from the hospital in a trusted station wagon, and these lifelong VW owners couldn’t imagine driving anything else. The underlying message promotes a personal attachment the vehicles that we rely on during life-changing moments.
If these drivers feel a deep kinship with their vehicles, why don’t I? Volkswagen is hoping you follow your romantic urge to a Phoenix VW at ChapmanVW.com or the “Get a Quote” tab, which transfers you to Volkswagen’s consumer website.
Amid a sea of car commercials with goofy characters and over dramatized hyper-realities, Volkswagen has taken a more sincere approach in its latest campaign. In VW’s newest commercial, “Smiles,” a giggling infant kicks off a chronological series of individuals at every life stage laughing. Instead of a predictable shiny vehicle at the end of the ad, Volkswagen reveals a simple message: “It’s not the miles, it’s how you live them,” something that BrandChannel.com says speaks to human values.
This simple, genuine ad probably won’t inspire any drivers to rush out the door at purchase a Beetle, but Volkswagen’s brand is benefiting from positive feedback. On YouTube, where the commercial received over 1,700,000 views in a week, users have commented on the ad’s appeal:
“I keep tearing up when I see this. Love this commercial.”
“Laughing is an international language 🙂 ”
“That third kid cracked me up!”
This isn’t the first time Volkswagen has caused a stir with a television ad. The German automaker’s 2011 Super Bowl ad, “The Force,” won multiple advertising awards and went viral immediately. In the commercial, a young child dressed as Darth Vader attempts to harness the power of “The Force” around his house. The child’s persistence leads him to his father’s Passat, where, without anyone around, the car starts miraculously. In reality, the father started it with a sleek remote ignition device, but the image is priceless.
WhyVW.com allows visitors to share their Volkswagen stories through Facebook. Volkswagen USA’s Facebook page is filled with interactive calls to action, and thousands of users respond to posts with “likes” and comments within hours.
“The ‘Why VW?’ campaign provides a new creative outlet for our owners and fans to share their individual Volkswagen stories around the world, and allows us to engage with them in a more meaningful way,” Volkswagen of American VP of marketing Kevin Mayer said on Volkswagen’s media website.
So far, social media marketing has held up against claims that it’s just the flavor of the week, and VW appears to be committing to innovative outreach techniques.
Andrew Wenzel Andrew studied in Paris and decided to pursue a career in fashion journalism. He is a freelance writer and editor with a sharp eye on menswear.