Volkswagen Polo ad lacks the creativity of its predecessors

By Liam Fenton, creative director, Brave, marketingmagazine.co.uk, Wednesday, 05 September 2012 08:00AM

Few brands are responsible for giving me more 'I wish I'd done that' moments than Volkswagen, so it was with perhaps overly high expectations that I watched the latest Polo ad.

Volkswagen Golf 'supermarket' ad focuses on the marque's affordability

Volkswagen Golf 'supermarket' ad focuses on the marque's affordability

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The simple strategy, so creatively conveyed in covetable VW campaigns of yore, is based on 'surprising value'. And while the 30-second execution is 'fine' and relatively well realised, it falls short of its predecessors.

It focuses on a couple in a penny-pinching supermarket shop. They come across a shelf of full-size Polos, featuring an offer too good to refuse.

The supermarket is an apt setting for a value-driven ad, but this could have been achieved without ignoring the car's original point of difference - its solidity, in spite of its size.

'Small but tough' is the proposition the Polo was built on - and remains the strapline on the car's website - so I question the logic of making it look gargantuan, yet lightweight enough to be popped in (or on) a trolley.

Is it really that 'unbelievable' to imagine that supermarkets might sell cars? And although it is the source of the 'humour', the 'FMCG-ification' of car-buying trivialises the second-most considered purchase one can make.

For Volkswagen, in a perfect world, consumers will remember the recent heartstring-tugging Polo spot (in which a father brings up his daughter from babe-in-arms to buying her first car) and now discover this is their chance to snap up a Polo at a steal. I fear, in reality, they'll see an offer for a shiny car they either like or don't like.

Where's the spoof, or real, add-to-basket option on the website, clever digital point-of-sale activation, or pure joy of the brand's 'Fun Theory'?

In austere times, this single-minded value approach may resonate and shift units - in terms of prompted awareness, it was beaten only by Confused.com's wild-eyed loony. Whether it lingers in the memory like the singing dog, or promotes a wry smile as curled as the Golf's coffee-drenched salesman, is another matter.

Brand strategy verdict: 6 out of 10

Yup, we get it. The Polo is such great value you could find it next to the bread aisle, but this lacks the creative clout of previous campaigns.

 

Adwatch (Sept 5) Top 20 recall: Volkswagen Polo
Latest Aug-29 Brand Agency/TV Buyer Recall
rank       %
1 -6 Confused.com 

Wordley Production,
Hornet Inc/PHD

56
2 -9 Volkswagen
Polo
 

Adam & Eve DDB/
MediaCom

47
3 (–) Asda  Fallon London/
Carat
39
4 (–) Burger King  CHI&Partners/
Initiative
34
4= (–) Currys/
PC World
 
M&C Saatchi/
Walker Media
34
6 (–) Oral B – 3D
White Brilliance
 
Publicis/
Starcom
31
7 (–) Vodafone  RKCR Y&R/
OMD UK
28
8 (–) Senokot  Euro RSCG
Worldwide/
ZenithOptimedia
27
9= (–) DFS  Krow/MediaCom 26
9= (–) Subway  McCann Erickson/
MediaCom Scotland
26
9= (-) Nintendo
3DS XL
 
Karmarama/MEC 26
12 (-) Persil
(small &
mighty)
 
BBH/Mindshare 24
13= -11 Sky TV  Sapient Nitro/
Mediacom
23
13= (-) KFC  BBH/Walker
Media
23
13= (-) Just for men  In-house/MEC 23
16= -36 Dove deoderant  Evidently/
Mindshare
22
16= (-) Brother  Grey London/
Carat
22
18 (-) Phones 4 U  Adam & Eve
DDB/ Eden
21
19= (-) Morrisons  DLKW Lowe/
MEC
20
19= (33=) The Sun  WCRS/
Mindshare
20

 

 

Webwatch (Sept 5) Top 20 recall: Volkswagen Polo
Latest Aug-29 Brand Agency/TV Buyer Recall
rank       %
1 (–)

National Lottery
EuroMillions
 

In-house/MPG
Media Contacts
31
2 (3=) British Gas  Waste Creative/
Prospect
29
3 (1=) Sky  20:20 Agency/
MediaCom
26
4= (–) Asda  Gratterpalm/Carat 25
4= (–) Tesco Personal
Finance
 
The Red
Brick Road/
Arena Quantum
25
6 (–) ING Direct  BMB/PHD 24
7 (17=) TalkTalk  In-house/M/Six 18
8= (–) More Th>n  MediaVest/
MediaVest
17
8= (30=) Tesco  The Red
Brick Road/
Initiative
17
10= (–) Google  Mullen/Essence
Digital
15
10= (21=) Samsung
Galaxy SIII
 
In-house/Starcom 15
12= -6 Optical Express  In-house/
Mediavision
14
12= (-) Emirates  Studio AM/
Starcom
14
14= (-) Sainsbury's  Dare/PHD 13
14= (-) Kia Cee'd  e3/MPG 13
16= -7 Virgin Media  Rapp/Fifty6 12
16= (12=) Jackpotjoy.com  In-house/
In-house
12
18 (14=) 3 Mobile
Network
 
Wieden +
Kennedy/
Mindshare
10
19= (-) Churchill  Circus Digital/
Mindshare
9
19= (-) Mercedes
E220 CDI
 
Circus Digital/
Mediacom
9

This article was first published on marketingmagazine.co.uk

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