VW India Launches First Brand Work

German car manufacturer Volkswagen has rolled out its first TV commercial in India with a single aim to create and drive brand awareness.

Relatively new to the Indian automobile market, Volkswagen admits that the task at hand is to build brand awareness in the country.

“We are fairly new in the market,” said Lutz Kothe, chief general manager, marketing and public relations, Volkswagen India. “The brand awareness of Volkswagen is low. We have to raise awareness, create and improve the brand.”

With a similar insight, the commercial, developed by DDB Mudra, shows a young boy in a Volkswagen showroom deciding on the cars that he wants to ‘book in advance’ at various stages of his life — one for his 18th birthday, one when he is “vice-president” of a company and another when he eventually becomes the chief executive officer.

The commercial ends with the “German engineering. Made for India” tagline.

On the thought behind the commercial, Bobby Pawar, chief creative officer, Mudra Group, said, “It is about giving people different cars at different stages of their lives. There is a Volkswagen for every stage. Today’s kids are bold enough to ask for what they want. From that human insight came this commercial.”

The current spot focuses on the brand as a whole, showcasing the various Volkswagen cars with a clear intention to first build up the brand. Ads featuring individual cars will be developed at a later date. “It is a journey. It is important that we start the journey at the right time on the right note,” Pawar added.

Kothe said it’s necessary to adapt both product and communication to the sensitivities of a country. What works in an international market may not necessarily work in India, he said.

“This is a heart-winning commercial. We chose the thought because to create stories with humor is not really the worst thing in India,” Kothe said. The spot will stay on air until February.

Volkswagen will launch an integrated communication campaign using print, electronic, digital and out-of-home media. Mediacom handles the media duties for the company.

Reluctant to share the exact campaign budget, Kothe said that the ad spend would be “highly competitive.”

Volkswagen has aggressive plans for India, planning to roll out one of its most successful models — the Beetle — in December. Also on tap in the same month is the Volkswagen Touareg, a midsize luxury sport utility vehicle.

Volkswagen Polo will be launched in the first half of 2010. Currently, VW offers the Passat and the Jetta, its family cars, in the Indian market.

“By the time Polo is launched, we would want to be ready and make sure there is enough brand awareness,” said Kothe.

The company is building its dealership network in both the urban and rural markets.

“While our target group is essentially premium and upper premium, we want to be warm and appealing and a part of the masses,” Kothe said.

VW has opened a manufacturing facility in Pune, where Polo will be manufactured. It also has a “completely knocked out” assembly factory in Aurangabad. The Beetle will be imported for sale in India.

Marketing Magazine Asia