Over the last 10 years, Volkswagen’s once-formidable first mover advantage in China had been usurped by the likes of Mercedes and BMW, who were offering a more seductive blend of swagger, style and performance. The goal of the People’s Car Project was to restore Volkswagen’s leadership image in the minds of Chinese drivers, and make Volkswagen once again the most talked about, admired, and innovative car brand in China.
The People’s Car Project, an integrated campaign and social platform which asked a simple question that had never been asked before: “What kind of car do you want?”. It tapped into the imaginations of Chinese car drivers in a way that unleashed a torrent of public creativity around car design. Over 10 million people visited the site, submitting over 95,000 designs for future cars. Through crowd-sourcing, co-creation, and with massive social media amplification it engaged millions more people, generating over 92 million brand impressions. The project introduced the Chinese driver to a new world of possibilities, where cars can be truly designed and built by the people, around their own needs and experiences. Instead of designing cars for the people, Volkswagen was seen to be now designing cars with the people.
Even with limited media budget the agency increased unaided, top of mind awareness by 8.3 per cent well ahead of Mercedes, BMW and other ‘image’ based brands. Social Media programmes alone generated over 92 million brand impressions. The programme awareness of 54.9 per cent well exceeded even Coca Cola’s BOS programme, which had 41 per cent awareness.