In 1937, the Nazis established a car company, which outlived their short-span at the helm of then weak and fragile Germany. The Nazis did not live long, but the car company, known today as Volkswagen, is now a German pride and a fine specimen of German Engineering and craftsmanship. VW, as it is commonly known, enjoys a premium image in India, and their activities like Think Blue and Planet Volkswagen have only helped the brand hone their image and make it even stronger. Their current social media campaign, Ace the Race, is a step in that direction, which I’ll analyze in the paragraphs below to see how effective it is.
The objective of Ace the Race campaign is to take the Volkswagen brand deeper into the public consciousness making the brand image even stronger. And to do that, the brand has decided to test the creative potential of people by challenging them to engage the brand with their SLR cameras and click some stunning pictures.
VW has primarily used Facebook as a social media channel to generate a buzz around the contest, which, as hinted above, involves clicking photographs of VW cars, its showrooms, the logo, vintage cars, or anything involving the brand (see the image below), and share it online after clicking on the participate button on the contest tab on the brand’s Facebook page.
The contest, which has started on 17th July, is scheduled to end on 9th September, and the winners will be chosen by Volkswagen India, with the top 5 of receiving an opportunity each to cover the Polo R Cup live in New Delhi, and create a portfolio of 20 images to submit to the jury. The jury will then choose a winner for the grand prize. The grand prize winner will get an all-expense paid trip to cover the Scirocco Cup live in Europe and be featured on the Volkswagen 2014 calendar.
To promote the posts, the brand has used its cover image (see the first image below) along with frequent (but well-spaced) posts on Facebook and Twitter (see the second and the third images, respectively), which has created a good-level of buzz among its fans and followers. You can get an inkling of it in the posts shared below.
On the tactical level, the brand has nicely used the contest’s hashtag (#AceTheRace!) along with a simple yet powerful copy that talks about the contests and the prize in enough detail to generate enough interest in the contest (see the image below). The accompanying image is also quite powerful.
Have a passion to click? Win big with our #AceTheRace contest, showcase your best Volkswagen images & be in Europe for the Scirocco Cup!
— Volkswagen India (@volkswagenindia) August 5, 2013
On the strategic level, the brand has earned several points for creating a contest that utilizes young India’s two favourite activities – photography, and social media sharing. The dropping price of SLR cameras has turned almost every person into an amateur photographer, which the brand has sensed well and utilized for the campaign. What should also be noted is the way VW has streamlined social media platforms, making the contest tab on Facebook the anchor, where all the action happens, which includes comments from participants, while its Facebook posts and tweets create awareness and generate a healthy buzz around the contest.
Scope for Improvement
The contest has been nicely executed, and there are only few improvements needed. One of which is the inclusion of interactivity in the contest posts the brand makes on Facebook and Social media. The brand needs to ask questions and get people to answer that. This will boost engagement. The brand should also promote some of its posts, if it’s not doing so, so as to reach out to non-fans.
The contest tab also says “NOTE: The site does not support Internet Explorer as a browser. Kindly use any other browser like Mozilla Firefox,Google Chrome,Safari etc. to upload/view/vote for your submissions”. This would be leaving out a chunk of their audience which may use Internet Explorer. I’m not exactly sure of the technological challenges, but there should be some solution for it.
A good idea would have been to have everyone upload the photos on the Facebook page tab itself. Uploading it and not making the pictures public right away means you are losing out on the added interactivity that it would have added. I would be more encouraged to upload a picture after looking at other uploads. I might also not want to participate, but would enjoy looking at the entries.
Overall, Volkswagen’s Ace the Race is a nicely executed contest, which has generated a good amount of buzz. The decibel level of conversation around the contest and the brand in general is fairly high, which will will help VW in strengthening its brand.