VW – Talking Newspaper

India - An innovative application of creativity in a single newspaper ad achieved 12% of Vento's annual sales target in one day.

Results and Effectiveness

Volkswagen wanted India to talk about out a new launch; that’s what they achieved. PR coverage in newspapers, TV, radio and across social media went berserk!

There was a 100% spike in Google searches for VW Vento. The Mumbai Police Commissioner had to issue a message pacifying readers that it was a Volkswagen advertisement and not a bomb that was making their newspaper talk. Further, there was a 200% increase in dealer enquiries. Most importantly, in one day, with one incredible execution we hit 12% of Vento’s annual sales target.

Creative Execution

Advertising that instantly catches the eye has become the signature of Volkswagen, and to mark the launch of the Vento, its entry-level sedan in India, VW decided to give newspapers a voice.

The creative comprised of a conventional full-page advert with an innovative add-on – a small black box. This was the ‘voice’ of the ad. When the newspaper was unfolded, readers heard a recorded message about the new sedan. The light sensitive black box meant the message would turn off automatically when the paper was folded back.

The ad ran in two daily newspapers in major Indian cities.

The talking newspaper ad was essential to achieve cut-through in a highly cluttered market and to meet consumer expectation of the brand. MediaCom India, Volkswagen’s media partner said, “The brand is associated with innovations that stand out, and people expect something different each time.”

Read more about the creative execution here: VW’s talking newspaper ad.

Insights, Strategy and the Idea

India is the world’s most competitive car market with up to 30 new launches every year. VW is a relative newcomer, with brand awareness at only 39%, while established rivals had awareness in excess of 80%.

In 2010 VW entered the sedan market with its Vento. Unfortunately it would be one launch among many. Auto ad spend was at record levels and engaging with well-off males was almost impossible. For Indians a car is more than just a means of getting from A to B. It is a life-style statement. Indians were only interested in brands that are seen around town, talked about in the media or admired by their friends. VW wasn’t on their radar. To deliver instant sales, VW had to create something totally new: a press ad that literally talked to consumers about the new Vento. In turn, they had made the new Vento the talk of the town.

More information about automotive advertising in newspapers? Download our 2011 Report, Automotive Snakes & Ladders.

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