Volkswagen pushes new Vento with 'talking' print ad

New Delhi :German auto-maker Volkswagen has prided itself in doing things distinctly, and also memorably. It sought to make that point Tuesday with a “talking” advertisement in a mainstream newspaper to launch its new Vento sedan.

In the process, the auto-maker seems to have broken new ground in advertising in India launching an innovative expression of its product with the one-page display in The Times of India — setting the automobile company “distinctly” apart.

As the reader opens the page, a black instrument pasted on the left-side starts playing the audio version of the advertisement. When the reader turns the page, the audio device stops playing automatically.

According to a dealer of similar devices in the electronics hub of Nehru Place here, such devices can cost as little as Rs.40.

“What an ad! A great mix of automobile and technology. It is amazing and sets Volkswagen apart,” said Sonia Gulati, a journalist who was in a rush to leave for office early, but stood for five minutes to look at and listen to the ad, conceptualised internally by the company.

Not that such advertisements are new globally.

Last September, CBS Networks and PepsiCo launched joint audio-video advertisement in the US showbiz magazine Entertainment Weekly, using a wafer-thin LCD device that started to play when the page was opened, heralding the print-TV integration.

This Volkswgen ad has the picture of the Vento and an engineer crying next to it.

“Best in class German engineering is here. The new Volkwagen Vento built with great care and highly innovative features. Perhaps that’s why it breaks the heart of our engineers to watch it drive away,” says the black audio device.

The device has been pasted only in The Times of India paper — another similar ad in The Hindu, however, did not have audio.

“I don’t think other auto firms have tried something so distinct. This ad is different from what the other companies are doing,” said M.S. Mehra, a businessman who loves cars and owns three of them.

But Delhi-based entrepreneur Vishal Bhatia, a die-hard fan of Maruti Suzuki, said such promotions may not have much of an impact on their own.

“An auto company can only sell in large numbers if it makes a great car and not a great advertisement. Advertisements can be misleading. If I take the car out of the showroom, after being satisfied, only then I might call it a good car.”

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