Volkswagen Audio Ad in Newspaper – Thoughtless

Filed Under (Marketing) by Rajesh Kumar on 21-09-2010

Volkswagen was audacious enough to attach an audio device to their full page print ad in the Times of India and the Hindu (Chennai edition). When it came in, I first felt a sense of curiosity followed by disgust, both as a marketer and as an private citizen.

DSC_0184 Lot of people told me since the morning about the ad. Tonnes of blogging has happened raving about the ‘buzz’ created by this crazy device. I asked several people what they thought of it and there was unanimity about this being unconventional ( or more dreadfully, the new conventional). However, I asked several people to tell me which specific model of Volkswagen was the ad for, and no one could answer. Some people could merely say it was some car company, and not even (unaided)recall the brand, forget the model ( it is ‘Vento’, just in case you need this assistance).

The second thing appalling is despite the money blown, the message is the same staid message (in content and delivery both). Imagine the signature BMW roar coming from the device and it would possibly become a collectors item, at least for a few.Look at the message payload itself – Best in class German Engineering..So, what is the call for action? Danke.

Jessie Paul points out the standalone nature of this campaign, due to which effectiveness could be questionable.

The third appalling aspect is the lack of a shut off button. After a few seconds the device is a nuisance on the table. How are they supposed to be shut off? The device batteries are supposed to die down? If that’s the case, that’s quite crazy indeed. I could not find any instruction on how to shut it off. The damn device kept repeating the same one line ad-nauseum till I had to do this to it.


Would it have exploded if I had put this in water ? – I did not take a chance.

The last concern is quite serious – environmental. I looked all through, there is no safe disposal instruction included. No talk of collection centers that would take these devices back. Also, there is no mention of the radiation coming out of the device. I would consider both these as hygiene factors in today’s environment. It was bad enough to cut so many trees to print full page ad, and it was much worse to add plastic, batteries, circuit board, IC Chip, magnet, wires and so on to the whole mix.  Wish they had spent a few more pennies and made a reprogrammable device, that for example, it could work as a media player. That would have made sure tomorrow morning garbage bins in many houses do not have this chirpy piece of hardware, as I suspect would happen in large numbers.

Volkswagen Vento, thanks for coming over, but your folks let you down!

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    About Rajesh Kumar. Rajesh is based in Chennai, where he works for Defiance Technologies in Marketing. The views on this blog are his own. Rajesh Kumar