Volkswagen brings consumers up to speed with launch of GTI

Volkswagen's launch campaign for its new GTI model aims to generate buzz and position the car as the original "hot-hatch."

Volkswagen's launch campaign for its new GTI model aims to generate buzz and position the car as the original "hot-hatch."

OBJECTIVE: Volkswagen's launch campaign for its new GTI model aims to generate buzz and position the car as the original "hot-hatch." "We also wanted to use the campaign to elevate the brand image of Volkswagen and generate interest in the company," said Steve Keyes, GM of PR for Volkswagen. "So those not interested in the GTI may want to go to a Volkswagen dealership to look at other products."

IDEA: Volkswagen's message is that while many other automakers have come out with their own variations of the hot-hatch, "the GTI is the original and the original is back," according to Keyes. The car last month had its official North American debut at the Los Angeles Auto Show. In conjunction with a press conference, Volkswagen staged a guerilla marketing event outside the exhibit hall where a number of actors driving GTIs were pulled over by "police" and given speeding tickets.

TOOLS: Volkswagen has arranged test drives at Volkswagen-owner festivals sponsored by local trade and auto clubs across the country. Media test drives were also done. The car has been reviewed in enthusiast publications such as Car & Driver and MPH. Volkswagen has also created a section on VW.com for the media and consumers. Consumers can configure and test drive a car online and receive electronic brochures.

MEASUREMENT: Volkswagen is tracking media impressions to determine whether the campaign is able to raise the brand's profile. "A key measurement in this campaign will be how we impact consideration of the brand," Keyes said. "But at the end of the day, it's about how many cars we sell. We have some targets. If we meet or surpass those, then we'd have to say it was partly due to the success of the media and PR launch and the product itself."

Company: Volkswagen
Campaign: GTI Launch
PR Team: Marx Layne and in-house
Other marketing: National advertising
Launching: February 2006
Budget: Between $1 million and $2 million

 

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