Polo and the newspaper with a hole

By Biprorshee Das , afaqs!, Mumbai | In Advertising | March 09, 2010
Volkswagen announced the beginning of its premium hatchback Polo's sales, taking over The Times of India with a portion of every page cut out in the shape of the car

As The Times of India readers picked up Monday's special edition, they could not possibly miss the pages cut out in the shape of a car. German car maker Volkswagen is leaving no stone unturned in its bid to make its presence felt in the country.

& #BANNER1 & #To mark the beginning of the sales of its premium hatchback, Polo, that was launched last month, Volkswagen, staying true to its innovative promotions, cut out a portion in the top of every 16 pages of the special edition of the daily in the shape of the car.

A distinct feature of the car was detailed on the pages with every cut out. The last page featured a full page ad of the car with the final message: 'We've put a lot into it. You'll get even more out of it', a tongue-in-cheek reference to both the features and the innovation.

Talking to afaqs!, Lutz Kothe, chief general manager, marketing and public relations, Volkswagen India says that the campaign, besides promoting the car, is also an effort to further build the brand awareness, something he has been insisting on since Volkswagen's first brand campaign broke in India in November 2009.

"We were looking to do something that would make people talk about us. Word of mouth publicity is one of the best kinds of promotion anyway," Kothe says.

If the innovation was aimed at getting people to talk, it sure achieved its purpose as discussions sparked off across social networking sites, either celebrating or dismissing the innovation.

While the initial idea for the innovation came from Volkswagen, Kothe says that eventually, it was a team effort of the company, DDB Mudra and Mediacom, the creative and the media agencies, respectively.

"The idea was to signal the start of sales and create the maximum impact. We wanted a simple way to break the clutter," says Rajeev Raja, national creative director, DDB Mudra Group.

Speaking on the innovation, Divya Gururaj, managing director, Mediacom, says, "While competing brands such as Maruti and Tata have been around for years, Volkswagen is a rather new company in India. The challenge for the brand is to get noticed. That is why doing a half page print ad like most others would not do and such clutter breaking ideas are needed for the brand to be further established."

Since November, Volkswagen India has been into such innovative campaigns. When the brand campaign was launched, a similar ad space takeover was seen in The Times of India and an innovative outdoor campaign was designed for the Beetle after its launch in December.

The Polo will be made available across Volkswagen's 40 dealers in the country. The ex-showroom (New Delhi) prices of the high-end petrol and diesel variants of the car are Rs 5,72,000 and Rs 6,70,000 respectively.

Kothe adds that a 360 degree campaign is being designed for the Polo, using "all channels available", but does not specify further details.