Volkswagen steps up a gear

Car manufacturer's Positive Thinking campaign for new Passat range shows strong results.

Passat: fourth-highest car brand
Passat: fourth-highest car brand

As the recession lingers on, firms continue to fight for consumer spend in a smaller, but equally competitive, market.

While reports suggest the Government's £2,000 scrappage scheme has ensured the automotive industry has remained relatively stable, numerous car manufacturers are spending more on advertising to promote their new models.

One of the car brands to have boosted its ad spend is Volkswagen, which launched its new Positive Thinking campaign for the firm's Passat range on 3 July.

The ad features a man leaving his former employer's office, carrying his possessions in a cardboard box. The bottom of the box falls out, spilling its contents onto the floor, and the man breaks into a rendition of Positive Thinking - the song originally made famous by comedians Morecambe and Wise.

The man continues to sing as he walks through a town, which is full of reminders of the recession - for example, the man passes a number of vacant shops and the headline of his paper is "Shares tumble".

Eventually, the man reaches his Passat and drives out of town. The symbolism continues right to the end of the commercial, with the man driving towards a light at the end of the tunnel. The ad concludes with the slogan: "One thing you can be sure of."

When the ad first aired, the buzz, corporate and recommend scores for Volkswagen were +6, +20 and +26 respectively. The Passat's buzz rating peaked just three days later, rising six points to +9, while its corporate score increased an impressive eight points to reach +28 on 23 July and its recommend score rose six points to reach +32 on 28 July.

However, the real success of VW's latest ad can be seen in its index score, which measures the brand's overall health.

As a result of the increase in indicator scores for the Passat across the board, the brand's index score reached +27 - the highest index rating for Volkswagen since November 2008. More significantly, the rise makes Volkswagen the fourth- highest-scoring brand in the automotive sector, behind Audi, BMW and Aston Martin.

It suggests that what consumers really want is a brand name they trust and know will be around, regardless of the economic situation.

METHODOLOGY: YouGov interviews 2,000 people each weekday to form its BrandIndex, a daily measure of public perception of more than 1,100 consumer brands across 32 sectors. It is measured on a seven-point profile:
1. Buzz
2. General impression
3. Quality
4. Value
5. Satisfaction
6. Recommend
7. Corporate reputation.
In addition, we supply an index score.

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