The VW Polo is one of the best-selling cars this year in the UK. But does this have anything to do with Volkswagen’s marketing technique? The German car brand that manufactures the VW Polo is renowned for its funny, memorable and sometimes controversial adverts. But is there such a thing as ‘too far’ in corporate advertising?

To explore how big brands create unforgettable marketing campaigns, VW dealership, Vindis, has analysed Volkswagen’s recent ads to see how you can replicate their successes in your own business.


VW Polo: using viral trends to boost sales

A key tactic used by Volkswagen to create a solid marketing campaign is transforming news into advertising. An image of an elephant using a Volkswagen Polo as a scratching post went viral in 2014. Volkswagen leapt on this free advertising and made it work to its profitable advantage by using it as part of its campaign, suggesting that the car comes with ‘elephant impact protection as standard’.

This campaign had everything: newsworthiness, a ready-made audience who’d watched it online already, and humour — courtesy of the tongue-in-cheek ‘small but tough’ tagline. Basically, Volkswagen saw an opportunity to utilise the viral trend in its favour. Chances are, Volkswagen would never have known about the elephant had it not gone viral on social media. So, stay up to date with what’s happening online and make the most of ‘viral marketing’ as a marketing tool.


VW Polo: USPs and successful marketing

As a business, you have to look at your service or product and work out how it’s unique. What sets it apart from your competitors? Volkswagen does this very well with its supermini. To advertise the product, the brand came up with the slogan: ‘one benefit of the new Polo is that you can park it anywhere’. The subsequent advertisement showed a VW Polo parked on top of a billboard, which is a good example of how to use humour effectively in marketing.

Another way Volkswagen uses inventive taglines to create memorable ads occurred in 2003. The ‘small but tough’ slogan was used in an ad depicting several police officers taking cover behind the VW Polo during a gun shoot-out. Again, a clever way to get across the car’s resilience to the audience.



Potential customers and controversial ads

When creating a marketing campaign, whether a large or small company, it’s vital to remember that everyone views content differently. What one person might find funny, another might find appalling. Many brands think the trick is to be clever with their message and imagery. With 30% of men and women admitting they avoided purchasing from brands with distasteful advertising campaigns, businesses need to be careful how they approach marketing campaigns.


Implementing memorable marketing tactics into your company

As we mentioned, caution is key when it comes to approaching a new marketing strategy. Of course, there are a few topics that it’s always wise to avoid, including: religion, racism, sexuality, and politics. Perhaps a good move for your business would be to forget being controversial for now and concentrate on humour and viral trends. SMEs should already be active on social media for the best chances of exposure and free advertising with any type of budget. Remember, it’s free to set up a social media profile.