‘Surprisingly ordinary prices’ – that’s my first memory of Volkswagen Polo advertising. The TV commercial showed a tennis match in progress with heads bobbing left & right. And then while the ball is being lobbed across the courts, the heads are transfixed to one side. The camera then shows what’s got the audience hooked: a banner saying, ‘Volkswagen Polo, now at £ 8240’ (or some such number). Brilliant. And then there was another one: it showed a woman at her breakfast table calmly sipping her tea and browsing the newspaper. She keeps getting hiccups right through this process. And then she glances at the Volkswagen Polo ad with the surprisingly low price in the newspaper. She then continues to read the paper and sip her tea, only with the hiccups having disappeared. It was also one of my earliest memories of surround advertising: a poster put up in the London Tube urged people to ‘stand back’ – lest they fall from shock at the prices.
Ageny: DDB Mudra
And now we have the iconic brand in India with a heavy media burst (see all the ads here). What I liked: the feature-driven approach in an otherwise lifestyle-driven category and the potential of the creative idea; ‘we’ve done the testing, so you don’t have to‘. Indian consumers are obsessed with features when it comes to buying anything – especially gizmos and cars. No wonder the ads for laptops, cameras and phones are a laundry list of features. So the approach positively disposes the consumer towards Volkswagen Polo even before they set foot into the showroom.
The campaign seems to have been liked overall by the ad industry too. Personally speaking, I thought the ads were trying a bit too hard. Maybe it’s just the advertising guy in me who has been exposed to the global ads of Volkswagen and their exacting standards. I am sure the car will do well, given it’s heritage and the pricing. And the ads plant the thought of a feature-rich car. Yet, one still feels a tad let down. Is it just me?