Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Volkswagon AD

Recently there has been a lot of buzz about the Volkswagen Ad. The media including the advertising fraternity seems to think it has created a lot of attention and considers it a creative landmark.

There have been other reactions as well that as such it is a nuisance, creating pollution (noise, safe disposal etc).

But my issue is that does Volkswagen need to advertise in this fashion. Does the media & content match the product profile?

We all know that Volkswagen is a world class German engineered car. It is quite expensive and positioned at the upper echelon of society. Has the ad campaign not disparaged the sensibilities of this clientele?

Let me tell you of my experience in a similar situation. Quite some back I was a manager in a two wheeler company whose flagship bike was and continues to be a legend by itself. Powers that be in the marketing department decided to do some rural marketing and hired an event management company to do what they called rural marketing.

I went for one such campaign conducted in a rural town close to a pilgrimage centre deep in Tamil Nadu. The propaganda van was parked in a central place and a television set was blaring cinema songs with the dark glasses hero romancing a plump heroine around the proverbial bushes. Then after the song & dance sequence an ad for the product was aired.

With much amusement I was observing the spectators; there were urchins, bored village belles and a motley lot of the great unwashed.

Everyone was happy. The hoi polloi enjoyed the free show, the event managers for the billing and the marketing department of the company for having taken some initiative and undertaking some activity.

However there was a serious dissension from the dealers. They were livid. They were unhappy that this campaign belittled the product. Their contention was that the product is a status symbol in those regions and the owners are a proud lot. This campaign was undermining the product and more important the image.

The same applies for the Volkswagen ad.

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