Volkswagen’s “disruptive” innovation for Vento?

Sure it is disruptive, but is it strategic? How well does it fit into the car launch Integrated Marketing Communication (IMC) plan? I had these questions in mind when I saw the VW innovation in TOI on 27th September 2010. My reaction was “where is is this noise coming from, and how can I shut it off?”. I am crossposting the following from Jessie Paul’s blog.  Could’nt agree with it more. Master Planner Stephen King suggested that it is important to identify the desired consumer response before you build the stimulus. Wonder if VW ignored that axiom? Do take a look at the comments in the original blogpost.

Quoting Jessie Paul:

“Today’s Times of India carries an ad for Volkswagen Vento on the back page.  The innovation is that it has a little black box which when the paper is opened bursts into a sales spiel.  (If you haven’t yet seen it, there’s a video of it at the end of this blog, courtesy @tsuvik).

The online world is buzzing about it, so I will add just 5 quick points to it.

1. If the goal was to generate buzz, the ad is successful. Just type in Volkswagen on Socialmention.com and you will see the amount of online conversation about the ad

2. The sales spiel isn’t easy to understand and is rather boring and stodgy.  It also doesn’t have a stop button, so you end up having to either close the ad or break the box depending on your irritation threshold.

3. Using audio as a means to differentiate was good thinking.  But the execution is weak because it doesn’t add value to the experience.  For example, if the audio was a recording of the car’s powerful acceleration or even the toot of its horn, it might be more appealing and relevant.  It would also have a longer shelf-life as at least the kids would keep it to play with.  The absence of branding on the black box was also an opportunity lost.

4. The ad has no call-to-action which could lead to conversions.  On reading the ad your biggest desire is to shut the noise of the non-stop sales pitch.  There’s no special number to call or sms to get a test drive – just the usual dealer panel stuck on to the bottom of the ad.  A visit to the website (which gets a perfunctory mention on the top right of the ad) also disappoints – the Vento is treated as just another car in the VW stable with no special launch landing page.

5. The biggest concern with this blockbuster (easily in the multiple crores) ad is that it seems to be standalone, and not part of an overall campaign with online, outdoor, email etc to drive sales.

In conclusion, the ad has generated a lot of buzz but not much of it is going to convert to honey for the company.”

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