Volkswagen’s Abbey Thomas on ‘You’re in a Volkswagen’ campaign, women being the major influencer, and more

The campaign ‘You’re in a Volkswagen’ encompasses the entire journey of experiences people have on a day-to-day basis.

By  Kashmeera SambamurthyAug 24, 2023 12:04 PM
Volkswagen’s Abbey Thomas on ‘You’re in a Volkswagen’ campaign, women being the major influencer, and more
In the ad film, the brand is the sole celebrity. Every frame highlights the prowess of the cars i.e. Tiguan, Virtus and Taigun, the safety factor involved, and the ease of convenience that comes along with owning a VW. (Stills from the ad)

Volk means ‘people’ and Wagen means ‘car’. Volkswagen was founded in Germany as a state-owned enterprise. It was established on May 28, 1937, as ‘Gesellschaft zur Vorbereitung des Deutschen Volkswagens mbH’ (Company for the Preparation of the German People’s Car Ltd). Later that year, the name was simplified to Volkswagenwerk, or ‘The People’s Car Company’.

Volkswagen became a pillar of Germany’s economy after the second world war, and made its way to every corner of the world. It drove into India in 2009, introducing the ‘New Beetle’ and SUV Touareg.

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From left to right: Ashish Gupta, brand director, and Abbey Thomas, head of marketing and public relations, Volkswagen India

In a conversation with Storyboard18, Abbey Thomas, head of marketing and public relations, Volkswagen India, said it has been quite a long journey creating awareness for the brand and the product.

On August 23, the brand unveiled a new campaign ‘You’re in a Volkswagen’, that highlighted the emotions involved in owning a Volkswagen. The campaign, which has been conceptualised by DDB Mudra Group with media planning done by Omnicom Media Group’s PHD, will reach out to consumers in eight languages.

In the ad film, the brand is the sole celebrity. Every frame highlights the prowess of the cars i.e. Tiguan, Virtus and Taigun, the safety factor involved, and the ease of convenience that comes along with owning a VW.

As Thomas put it, “This campaign was built around people who really want to enjoy the ride. When we say ‘You’re in a Volkswagen’, it ensures that people take the essence of driving this car to be the whole story. And the whole story is not about a feature or a safety but about the process of owning a car. Also the fact that we are not just reaching out to the youngsters, but people in the age group of 25-44, who are our true buyers.”

The campaign encompasses the entire journey of driving experiences people have on a day-to-day basis. “Today, when I look at where we are today, launching the new campaign, the idea was to ensure that we have now developed cars, products and services to fit this country in the best way possible,” says Thomas.

You're in a Volkswagen: Target audience

The Indian automobile market is the third biggest in the world. For the VW brand, the younger buying audience is much larger because their aspirations are very high. Hence, the thought the brand sought to inculcate was: ‘Why do you want to buy a car?’

Thomas highlights that engines are getting resized, and are no longer massive. “We have re-sized the engines, made them much more frugal, much smaller, which is also delivering the best kind of power. These are the key elements we have really focused on,” states Thomas.

Through this campaign, Volkswagen India will be reaching out to a much wider audience. It would include youngsters from age 28 going up to 44 or 45. “Tiguan is one space they can really buy into. It is one of the best cars globally sold as far as the SUV segment is concerned. People have moved away from buying a small car. They want to buy a car that is compact enough and also ensure that it has the capability to run across the city,” said Thomas

For Volkswagen India, women in the house are a major influencer. “The kind of love the brand has among women is much higher and we know that this is one space we can reach out to much better,” he adds.

Consumer trends: 2023

One of the trends that Thomas highlighted was people moving away from diesel and focusing on purchasing cleaner engines. This is driven by the need to buy cars that are much more efficient, eking out more mileage for every drop of fuel that goes into the tank.

The other trend that Thomas discussed was technological advances. “Out of 100 tech features that are available in a car, one will end up using only 12-15 of them. When you are given a car with a lot of tech, it can be a double-edged sword. You need to be careful about what is important and what is being utilised while driving a car. These are one of the key areas we are focusing on,” he explains.

Evolution of the advertising and marketing landscape

During the pandemic phase of Covid, about 50 percent of Volkswagen’s total budgets were spent on digital media.

“We have noticed that people are really very digitally savvy. Social media platforms have also spread out. We need to figure out how digitally savvy we are, especially on the return-on-investment (ROI). We need to be careful about the amount of money we invest in and how we invest into the digital medium followed by whether we are reaching the right audience or not.”

Hyperlocal marketing is big for the brand and they are introducing it for the first time in India. It is a type of marketing where customers closer to a business location, who are looking for products and services similar to a brand’s offerings, are targeted.

The other critical area that the brand is focusing on is creating content. “Content is something that connects with the people easily. Programmatic advertising is the big game today. That is another critical area we are focusing on,” states Thomas.

Volkswagen aspires to have at least five percent market share and will focus on that objective over the next five to seven years.

Through this campaign, the brand aims to tell customers that VW cars are the best in tech, stability and safety. “If I want to buy a car that is safe, stable and lovely to look at and drive, it is a Volkswagen,” says Thomas, capturing the rationale.

First Published on Aug 24, 2023 11:12 AM

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