Quick five with Volkswagen India’s Lutz Kothe

About 8% of the marketing budget in 2012 was spent on digital. We plan to increase it to 12% next year, says the Head of Mktg & PR, Volkswagen India

e4m by Priyanka Nair
Updated: Nov 2, 2012 7:36 PM
Quick five with Volkswagen India’s Lutz Kothe

Over the last couple of years, Volkswagen campaigns have demonstrated varied examples of innovation that have effectively amplified its brand recall in the Indian market. From talking newspaper to silver newspaper to the latest vibrating newspaper, Volkswagen has proved to be a brand that is talked about a lot because of its aggressive marketing push. Keeping in line with one of its core brand pillars – innovation, Volkswagen recently launched an interesting initiative, titled ‘Post-it’ for Diwali.

In a conversation with exchange4media, Lutz Kothe, Head of Marketing and PR, Volkswagen Passenger Cars, Volkswagen Group Sales India speaks about the new campaign and the marketing way forward for Volkswagen India, which is expected to be digitally strong...

Have Volkswagen’s innovative marketing initiatives yielded the desired results?
Our initial effort on innovation was to build the brand, which has been very effective in the market with our image ratings touching as high as 44 within a span of three years. This is the first time where we have taken the innovation directly to our prospective customers with the aim to increase enquires during the festival season. We are confident about a positive result.

Volkswagen’s vibrating newspaper got very mixed reactions from the masses and also drew some negative attention on social media. In retrospection, do you think it was a force fit?
No, it was not a case of force fitting. Clearly the aim was to communicate about the exciting new features in the refreshed Polo and the Vento. The effectiveness was endorsed as we received over 3000 enquiries on the first day of the campaign.

Volkswagen has seen using the mass print media for its innovation whereas most of your cars are positioned for niche audiences. What is the rationale behind this?
The Polo and the Vento are our volume carlines and optimising the print medium has brought in the desired results and therefore our belief in the effectiveness of this medium. Over and above, with our refreshed cars carrying excellent benefits and value for money, we will even address a wider target group.

Volkswagen invested around three per cent of its marketing budget on digital marketing last year, which included big digital properties such as Planet Volkswagen. Are you going to up your digital promotions and spends this year?
The digital medium is increasingly becoming an important medium for the brand and this year we have invested eight percent of our total spend. We will increase it to 12 percent next year and continue leveraging this medium in the coming year as well.

Do you have any new marketing initiatives in the pipeline?
Our latest ‘Post-it’ initiative is a unique guerrilla campaign leading for a direct call to action through the ‘Post-its’ which have been pasted in leading newspapers, bus shelters, inside air conditioned buses, movie tickets, parking lots, valet tickets, shopping bags, etc.

This has been done after identifying and clustering prospective customers for the Polo and the Vento to ensure the effectiveness of this campaign. The campaign is a focussed, specifically targeted towards our prospective customers who have been identified and clustered according to their demographics based on our CRM data. It is an integrated campaign encompassing outdoor, print and digital and will be on air until the end of the month.

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