Monday, May 19, 2008

VW Asks The People For What They Want

Last month, ads for the new US VW campaign, "It's What the People Want", launched with TV ads featuring a talking classic beetle named Max - complete with a German accent - interviewing various celebrities ranging from Heidi Klum to Bobby Knight.

Along with the launch is also a national polling effort that utilises user-generated content in the form of voters' responses gathered online and via mobile devices and distributes the results across the Web via a site,, online banners and outdoor executions.

VW's outdoor element in the buzz-building campaign is equally impressive. The execution is in the form of a 3,685-square-foot interactive billboard in New York's Times Square. It pictures the bug parked behind his microphone, alongside the headline "The people want their voice to be heard." VW is the first brand to utilise an interactive technology which allows a two-way dialogue with passersby via SMS.

Using their cell phones, pedestrians text their yes or no responses to the poll questions appearing on the sign, and through WAP technology, their texted votes are recorded live on a news ticker. As an added bonus, participants can purchase T-shirts displaying the poll of their choice and the name of who submitted it, a detail which is also displayed beneath each question on the Web site and online banners.

It's an interesting and highly interactive campaign which makes the user feel as if a corporate company is listening to them and looking out for them. Whether VW are planning on acting on some of the things that matter to the people is entirely another matter.