September 22, 2010

The day my newspaper spoke to me!

 Yesterday, the town woke up to an innovative ad campaign run by Volkswagen India in leading dailies like The Times of India and The Hindu. The campaign was for its latest outbringing called the Volkswagen Vento and it ran across five metros, namely Mumbai, Pune, Delhi, Bangalore and Chennai. This is the first ever attempt of advertising through a 'talking newspaper'. It has set a trend in an industry that is devoid of healthy advertising revenus since the recession period. It has opened new doors and set the benchmark for creativity in print.

 The TOI edition consisted of a special ten page supplement which was filled by tidbits from the world but at the end there was a full page advert of Volkswagen's latest offering and near the boxes that highlited the sedan's features, was another black box that 'talked' about the same features that were visible in print. The main USP is that the paper would speak only when turned to the face of the back. Thus, one could start reading the paper normally and when on turned to the last page, the speaker would start. Imagine the comical situation as the paper fumbles in your hands and the message gets you curious. So what is the technology behind this? They have used a simple photodiode which is capable of converting light into voltage. The speaker is very light and seems to be made of recyclable material. It continously keeps on saying the following lines;
"Best in class German engineering is here. The new Volkswagen Vento. Built with great care and highly innovative features. Perhaps that’s why it breaks the hearts of our engineers to watch it drive away.
The new Volkswagen Vento. Crafted with so much passion, it’s hard to let it go.
Volkswagen. Das Auto."
The advert was carried in some 2.2 million copies and the small talking device consists of a chip, a speaker and a battery that can last for about two hours.To economise it further, these devices were made at VW's plant in China and about 2.5 million of such devices were distributed in India. Reports say that each device sosts around 5 rupees. We can add to that the cost of a full page ad in TOI which has an estimated readership of 3.5 lakhs (Considering each paper is generally read by two people, we are talking of a reach of 7 lakhs in a day!) The price per paper thus, comes around to 40 rupees, thereby bringing us to the magic figure of an investment of 6 crore rupees in one day across five metros! Combine the effect with The Hindu and multiply the numbers of an average readership across the five cities and we are talking about a reach of 25 lakh people. There is a high chance out of curiosity, the reader will here the message over and over till it sinks in. This cannot be achieved even with a 30 seconds TV spot which runs twice in an hour on ten different channels.This is not an overnight concept. It needed over six months of research to see it through. Volkswagen, Mediacom and TOI worked together to bring it off and ensure a healthy distribution of the paper.

“When we launched the brand, awareness was very low. Competition like Maruti, Tata, Hyundai outshouted us by far. In such a scenario, we had the option of following the norm and doing regular full-page/half-page ads or doing something completely radical. Our strategy to be innovative has worked,” says Divya Gururaj, MD of Mediacom. 

Well, this is not the first time VW has done this in India. Worldwide too, VW remains attains a top notch in innovative advertising. When it first started in India in November 2009, again it combined its campaign with TOI to bring out a successful roadblock that blocked out other ads and filled up the entire paper with its own ads by booking adverts, wholly or partly in thirteen of the twenty two pages of the newspaper. To watch the entire collection of the print ads in that particular edition of November 11, 2009, please click here.

In February 2010, VW introduced the Polo in the Indian market and again in TOI they ran cut ads in March, by cutting out a portion in the top of all16 pages of the special edition of the daily in the shape of the Polo.The design was well-crafted and of a different quality of paper with rich texture. This clearly sends out a message that VW is not ready to compromise when it comes to innovation, be it in its products or its advertising. This is one company which takes its work so seriously. Even its simple tagline evokes attention bringing both things to the front' one, that they are a superior German engineering company and two, they have full confidence in their product lines when they say it is THE car and not A car! No wonders, it is Volkswagen, THE CAR or should I say DAS AUTO!


With hugs and kisses to the Consumer,
The Young Marketer.

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