Volkswagen Jetta: anything for a community

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And so Volkswagen India continues with the strategy of a print driven blitzkrieg to launch another model in India. This morning’s Times of India came with a ‘wrap around’ printed in glossy art paper (card?). I almost missed it as my wife had carefully separated the main paper from the ad. The fact that it was printed on glossy, art paper is in itself an eye-catcher. The 4-page ad outlined the car’s features and announced a showpiece contest: the #anything4jetta challenge.

The contest urges you to follow @volkswgenindia on Twitter and then post a wacky tweet  on what you would do to win a Jetta. Now, who would pass up a chance to win a car like Jetta, when it all it takes is a tweet or two? Not surprisingly, the #anything4jetta hashtag was active pretty early in the morning. The website is nicely designed, with a live feed to tweets with the hashtag.

It’s interesting to see a full-fledged Twitter campaign at the center of a brand launch in India. Unlike some other Twitter campaigns from brands, the official handle responds to tweets and promotes active participation. Some questions:

– given the attractive prize and a relatively easy jab at getting it, was the expensive, glossy supplement really required? Yes, ‘big is better’ in advertising – large ads are usually associated with ‘big brands’. So there is merit in going 4-pages for impact. But could the same result – awareness of brand launch and traffic/participation in the Twitter contest – have been achieved at a lesser cost?

– the strength of the campaign idea will be tested in the days to come. Will the audience participate with as much intensity?

– given the droll-factor of the prize, everyone is taking a shot at a ‘wacky tweet’ and hoping to win big. Is that ‘everyone’ the potential audience for a Jetta? Or have they pitched too low?

Such cribs aside, the campaign is commendable on many counts: it got noticed (the first rule of advertising), it’s getting talked about in a positive manner (mostly) and it evokes consumer participation. And unlike several social network initiatives, did not pay lip service to the medium.

As an aside, it’d be interesting to study the profile of brands which choose Twitter over Facebook for their social media campaigns. Is it to do with audience demographic? The ability to quickly scale up buzz value and get into ‘trending’ mode? Or is it linked to what the platform is known for? Airtel chose Facebook for their ‘Har ek friend zaroori hot a hai‘ campaign – in line with Facebook’s core attraction – a meeting place for friends. Twitter on the other hand is known for sharing of views, cribs, links and presence of celebrities. Just as achieving a huge fan base is an attraction on Facebook, getting into ‘top trending topics’ in a country or even better globally is perhaps the high for brands on Twitter.

Your views on the campaign is greatly appreciated.

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