Volkswagen has been pushing the online angle pretty hard in its launch of the 2011 Polo. Among the automaker's standout efforts have been a joint ad campaign and website, and an intriguing "Marco Polo" Facebook page. Now, VW has returned to Facebook to hype the sporty Polo GTI, and we're happy to report that the results are as fun and engaging as ever.
If you pull up VW International's Facebook page, you'll default to the "Fast Lane" tab, which features three videos that have nothing directly to do with the Polo GTI. Case in point: this clip of a site-specific stunt wherein VW added a slide to a staircase in a busy German metro station.
So far as we can tell, the slide wasn't branded by VW; it was merely a stunt playing into people's desire to zip through the daily grind just a little faster. It speaks to the Polo's sporty design and reinforces the car's fun, youthful image. The other two clips work similarly: one shows shoppers pushing special skateboard-enhanced shopping carts, and the other features folks riding an elevator with a rocketship soundtrack. As the press release (and presumably VW's legal team) is quick to point out, however, "The films convey the thrill of speed without encouraging fast driving." Finger-wagging implied.
Of course, there's also a big ol' tab on VW's Facebook page entitled "New Polo GTI", which is where the marketing team really hopes visitors go. There, fans can watch a clip of the GTI drifting through snow drifts, get close-up views of the coupe, and learn lots more about the Polo -- like, you know, where to buy it. (North American dealerships sadly not included.)
This coincides with the Polo GTI's launch in Europe and the second time in a week that we've seen a high-profile model center its marketing efforts Facebook. Despite the fear-tinged protestations of some of our nostalgic, backwards-looking colleagues, this is pretty clearly the way of the future. And we say BRING IT. By which we mean, BRING IT TO THE U.S., PLEASE!
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Digital market launch: The Polo GTI on Facebook
Volkswagen’s first product launch in social web
Wolfsburg, 14 June 2010 - Volkswagen is breaking new ground for the market launch of its products. The Polo GTI is the first vehicle to be presented to customers in Europe exclusively via a social network. Facebook users are alerted to Volkswagen’s new sporty model by the slogan “Fast Lane – Driven by Fun”. “Our aim is to inspire young people for Volkswagen brand products – in an international dimension,” Luca de Meo, Director of Marketing, Volkswagen Group and the Volkswagen Passenger Cars brand, commented.
Volkswagen’s new, exclusively digital campaign is not car advertising in the classic sense. Instead, it specifically harnesses the diverse opportunities offered by social networks to inspire young drivers for the Polo GTI. "This campaign gets us close to customers and at the same time gives us the opportunity to engage in an intensive dialog with them," de Meo continued.
Three videos where the vehicle is not immediately in evidence have been produced for the start of Volkswagen’s English-language Facebook profile www.facebook.com/volkswagen. These videos depict clever scenes that add an unusual touch to everyday life, such as a giant slide at subway steps, a particularly agile supermarket cart or an elevator that sounds like a rocket about to take off. The films convey the thrill of speed without encouraging fast driving.
In its new Facebook profile, Volkswagen adds a "Fast Wall" to its "Fast Lane". This is where messages from Bestfriends have priority. In addition, a competition motivates users to be creative and submit their own "Fast Lane" contributions. Volkswagen’s Facebook profile also includes the most important product information about the new Polo GTI as well as links to other global Facebook activities of the Volkswagen brand.