Volkswagen was launching the Golf Wagon in a tough climate. After the worst of the global financial crisis appeared to be over, most car manufacturers were still suffering from sluggish sales.
The challenge facing VW was that it core audience regarded sport utility vehicles (or SUVs) as the car of choicefor growing families in need of space. VW wanted to establish the Golf Wagon as a viable, fuel-efficient alternative to the SUV that had just as much space inside. A target of 10,000 customer interactions was set as a suitable number from which to generate meaningful sales leads.
VW required a communications strategy that broke the established rules of car advertising. Rather than focus solely on the functional benefits by listing features in traditional one-way broadcast media VW wanted to capture the interest and imagination of its audience enabling them to experience the car and benefits first hand.
Three insights shaped the communications strategy for the Golf Wagon: Category, brand and consumer.
The category insight revealed that the car industry had in the past focussed on the communication of a car's functional benefits in traditional advertising. VW strategy had to defy category conventions by entertaining in non-traditional channels.
The Volkswagen brand has an irreverent and playful image (See VW fun theory). Research indicated that people were more willing to interact with Volkswagen than many competitor brands. VW strategy had to leverage this untapped opportunity by creating a one-to-one brand experience.
VW's target consumers possess a strongly entrenched belief that SUVs offer more space than other cars, so VW had to convincingly prove that the Golf Wagon was just a spacious, This idea not only had to engage the potential buyer, but also for the kids they were likely to have accompanying them.
One of the most popular games the target consumer (aged 35-45 years) played when they were young was Tetris. This shape tessellation game was made world famous when it was distributed free with Nintendo's Game Boy handheld gaming system.
VW chose to adapt the famous game and use it to showcase the size of the Golf Wagon boot: Boot Tetris was born, as consumers tackled the challenge of packing the Golf Wagon boot with giant sized Tetris pieces in the quickest time possible.
Once VW brokered a licensing agreement with the creator of Tetris in the United States and secured his approval for the creation of Boot Tetris, Boot Tetris took over VW dealerships and shopping centres. It ran in 71 Volkswagen dealerships across Australia as well as a number of shopping centres that were selected on the basis of their index against the target audience.
A bespoke Boot Tetris installation accommodating a Golf Wagon was created at each location. Each installation had a timing clock installed which recorded the time it took for players to place all 22 pieces into the boot.
The installation included large screen LED TVs that displayed bespoke digital creative and a number of promotional staff that acted as game referees and captured leads from interested consumers. There was also a leaderboard at each location that displayed the ten quickest recorded times from that day.
The Boot Tetris campaign was extended online with the creation of a microsite that informed consumers of where the tournament would take place. This site also hosted a regularly updated leaderboard with the fastest times at each location and overall. The idea was also supported on Volkswagen's central website.
At the end of the tournament consumers with the fastest time won prizes, which included an all expenses paid family weekend away in a Golf Wagon.
The campaign overtook its engagement objectives by 61%, engaging with17,477 people.
The microsite attracted 32,433 unique visitors.
The activation delivered 155 brochure requests, 430% more than the digital component.
Volkswagen exceeded its sales targets for the Golf Wagon by 25%.
The activity was shortlisted in the Festival of Media Awards 2011 in the following categories: "Best Communication and Entertainment Platform" and "Best Use of Creative Media".