The New Beetle Analysis

1.)What made the “Drivers Wanted” campaign so successful? What did the campaign try to motivate the consumer to do? What measures prove that the campaign was successful? What did it do to the consumer’s perception of the brand?

Looking back, Volkswagen’s decision to switch advertising agencies—from DDB Needham to Arnold Communications (AC)—was a critical step in the company’s comeback bid. After all, AC was the one who came up with the “Drivers Wanted” campaign.

As stated in the case study, after AC won the Volkswagen account, they did some in-depth research on consumer and dealer perceptions of Volkswagen. They discovered that—Volkswagen consumers are younger, slightly more affluent, and more educated than the average car purchaser; Volkswagen owners are creative/confident/adventurous individuals who enjoy a more active role in driving; and Volkswagen was perceived as its namesake, the “people’s car.” Other important information was also taken into consideration, including—the rational benefit of Volkswagen was that it was the only brand that offered German engineering at an affordable price.

The emotional benefit of Volkswagen was that it represented a different way of driving (more connected to the road) and living (more connected to the world). With this information, AC began to craft an ad campaign that played to these strengths (consumer influences). The “Drivers Wanted” campaign was successful because its message—which was based on AC’s in-depth research—clearly targeted the previously mentioned segment and took advantage of how these consumers both thought and felt about the Volkswagen brand.

The tag line “On the road of life there are passengers and there are drivers. Drivers wanted.” aptly captured the rational and emotional spirit Volkswagen wanted to convey to its consumers. From an emotional standpoint, the line “On the road of life there are passengers and there are drivers” motivates consumers on two levels: (1) the desire to be connected to the road and connected to the world, as previously stated (2) and the desire to have an active role in driving or be in the driver’s seat. From a rational standpoint, the line “Drivers wanted” is a very approachable phrase. It seems to be inviting people to come and be a part of the Volkswagen family.

In a way, Volkswagen is trying to motivate people by saying: We trust you as a person and respect your needs as a driver—come drive with us.

The “Drivers Wanted” campaign was launched in June of 1995, and initial measures indicated that it was successful. Volkswagen’s unaided awareness and loyalty numbers did begin to improve, and sales began to rebound in 1995 and 1996. Volkswagen sold 137,885 cars in 1997 alone, which was a 178% increase from their annual 1993 sales figure. The “Drivers Wanted” campaign had helped Volkswagen reestablish a relationship with consumers and changed consumers’ perceptions of Volkswagen from an unreliable car of poor quality to a dependable car that offers more than just a means of transportation—it offers freedom to be you and the most pleasurable driving experience possible.