Volkswagen have just launched one of the boldest digital campaigns of any car brand in recent times. And by bold I mean they not only launched it solely as a digital campaign – no TVC’s – no press – no radio – they launched it only to the iPhone, as a customised GTI racing game app.
So the launch of their flagship car rests on the games viral potential and the competition to accompany it! Just get the app and register to play, you’ll automatically go in the draw to win one of 6 new GTI’s in the next 6 weeks… And if you play every day, you’ll get bonus entries into the competition to boost your chances of winning.
It’s a risky strategy – they’ve simply licensed the app called “Real Racing” from Aussie developer Firemint (same guys who built flight control) that’s already been a hit on the iPhone for 6 months now, but have customised the game with complete GTIness! (if that’s even a word!).
Is that good or bad? People already love that game play, but would you download a GTI version just for a competition? Some will. Some won’t.
Would you have known that Volkswagen had launched a new GTI if I didn’t post this or you didn’t read it on some marketing blog online? Probably not, because I’m sure you’re not searching for new iPhone app racing games! Which, ofcourse, leads us to their target market, perhaps they are the iPhone app “racing” gaming type… But I can’t really see that with the price they are here in Australia!!??
However, VW get huge bonus PR points for being first in I’m sure. And hopefully that, with some good seeding for the competition will generate a serious new lead list for the brand, whilst saving them the $60 million they spent on the last GTI launch in 2006!
I think it’s a great step forward for the industry, both Automotive and Advertising to be bold enough to try something so different, particularly for such an important product. Hopefully it takes off and there are some serious downloads to get in the running for those free cars!
Providing they get good download numbers, the game play and frequent brand interaction will be far more effective in the long run than a typical bust of TV ads. People who like the game will continue playing into the future even after the competition closes, VW will have the stats to track that, and that’s where the branding gold mine lays hidden…
AdAge have a pretty indepth article on this. Click here to read it.