First brand campaign: VW taps independent shop in China

By Published on .

[Beijing] A small ad agency in China has given new meaning to Volkswagen's "love"-based marketing platform as VW prepares its first branding campaign to secure its lead in the world's fastest-growing car market.

TV print and online ads based on the Chinese character for "heart" roll out in late July. The campaign "works at the Chinese level, but also fits with VW's global platform and heritage ... with the VW love bug and the old hippie vans," said Shanghai-based Dan Mintz, chief creative officer-partner at Dynamic Marketing Group, the independent agency that developed the campaign.

Just getting VW's headquarters in Wolfsburg, Germany, to work with three Chinese partners was a formidable task. And even though VW sales in China grew 36% to 697,961 units last year, its one-third share of China's passenger-car market is slipping to rivals such as General Motors Corp. China is the world's fourth-largest car market, although just 7% of China's urban households own a car, according to ACNielsen.

DMG defeated WPP Group's Ogilvy & Mather Worldwide, Omnicom Group's DDB Worldwide and BBDO Worldwide, Grey Global Group's Grey Worldwide and Publicis Groupe's Saatchi & Saatchi "in a very difficult pitch" said Mr. Mintz.

The brand campaign revolves around the slogan, "China's journey, Volkswagen's heart," a loose translation of VW's global slogan, "For the love of automobiles." "Chinese are at a different point in their lives and development [than Western consumers] and have an emotional reaction to the concept of car ownership. For them it's part of a journey," said Mr. Mintz.

The glue holding the campaign together is the Chinese character for "heart," the root of which forms other characters such as "love," "compassion," "loyalty" and "wisdom." DMG chose 16 characters based on the "heart" character and designated one for each model VW sells in China. The character for "loyalty," for example, represents the trusty Golf, VW's best- selling model in China. The "independence" character was chosen for the Touareg SUV, "wisdom" for the luxury Phaeton and "love" for the Beetle.

Most Popular
In this article: