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How far do you think innovative marketing would go to grab the attention of the masses ?

Recently Volkswagen created a buzz around their latest marketing campaign using a simple medium like the newspaper to create an innovative campaign. My usually mute and dumb (more intelligent than the idiot box though) newspaper had started to speak. Exaggeration? Maybe. For those who haven’t guessed it yet I am referring to the innovative Volkswagen integrated print and audio ad in the Times of India. Volkswagen had integrated a small circuit within the newspaper which would play a prerecorded message in support to the larger print ad.

As a reader, curiosity got the better of me as I repeatedly shut and opened the pages a few times over to hear the message which sounded quite similar to the Volkswagen Das Auto spiel in their TV commercials. On the way to work, I spotted another hoarding of Volkswagen Das Auto across the street. On any other day I would have looked through it but today it reminded me of the morning newspaper ad. As I updated my facebook status about how print just got audio visual, I wasn’t surprised to find that I was not the only one having this conversation.

Sitting on the brand chair of a marketing company I was no more a consumer. What followed were a few quick excel sheet calculations and a few calls to my media agency. My mind was already thinking about the marketers maths – ROMI (return on marketing investment). At an average price of a false jacket on the Times of India (which incidentally is the largest English circulation newspaper in the world), with the premium Volkswagen would have paid across 5 cities, the average CPP (cost per contact) of this piece of communication would be roughly 20 times that of reaching the same number through the television media. At this price Volkswagen’s Das Auto message could have probably reached the same number of potential customers through a direct contact campaign at offices or malls. They could have run a digital campaign across all major internet and social marketing portals for over 2 years. They could have sent a SMS to every single mobile handset in the country suggesting a test drive every day for the next 3 month.

We are all multi-media, multi-dimensional and multi-tasking consumers, never consuming a single source of communication at a given time. Between a morning cup of tea at home to looking out of my office window, I had already consumed on an average,  at least 3 media for the Das Auto campaign.

But then is the medium, the communication, the cost or the talking Times of India Ad, a good marketing strategy? What is really the price the new age marketer is ready to pay to get his consumer to listen to him? Does the consumer care? What is the customer segment for the car for which the company spent a few million rupees this morning? How many Indians would get the car in their consideration set? How many would associate with the brand personality of the car?

These are the few questions that a new age marketer would think about when analyzing this marketing campaign other than the buzz factor attached to an integrated audio print ad. So what does the marketer do to get my attention, something that hasn’t been done before, something the marketers call; a media innovation. So, will the talking newspaper work miracles for Volkswagen sales, only time will tell.

One moment, among all this buzz, innovation and excitement of the talking newspaper I almost forgot to see what car Volkswagen was talking about!!!!

Thank you for the buzz, Volkswagen Vento. Das ist New Age Marketing (German for: This is New Age Marketing).


September 28, 2010 at 10:26 am 2 comments

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