Volkswagen gears up for ‘Think Blue' campaign in India

Murali Gopalan Mumbai | Updated on February 23, 2011

The Volkswagen Passat

It was almost a year ago (February 27, 2010) when Volkswagen kicked off its ‘Think Blue' campaign in Europe. On Wednesday, Mr Neeraj Garg, Director, VW Group Sales India, and Mr Lutz Kothe, Head of Marketing and PR, said at a select roundtable that it would debut in India by end-March.

The core of the ‘Think Blue' message is sustainable mobility and environment protection where BlueMotion Technologies, the umbrella brand for clean and fuel-efficient vehicles, is the key driver. The Passat will be the first vehicle to roll out in India with these BlueMotion features which include start-stop, dual clutch gearbox, gear shift indicator and so on.

‘Think Blue' is also an extension of VW's ‘Think Small' campaign in the 1960s where the Beetle held centre stage with a larger message of easy, comfortable mobility. In today's more contemporary context, the idea is to spread the word of environment-friendly solutions. VW has been pulling out all stops to build its brand awareness quotient in India. The talking newspaper was the first innovation to announce the entry of the Vento sedan. Indications are that no effort will be spared to spread the ‘Think Blue' message either.

This could get a huge fillip in the fourth edition of the Indian Premier League (beginning April 8 and going on till the third week of May) where VW is the official partner. It apparently took a lot of effort to explain the importance of cricket to the automaker's think-tank in Germany and finally get the go-ahead to participate. They could not be blamed given that unlike football, which is hugely popular in Europe, cricket is almost an alien sport.

Mr Kothe did not quite subscribe to the notion that there would be viewership fatigue for the IPL as it kicks off almost immediately after the World Cup now underway. According to him, the IPL's core is inherently Indian which would do wonders to VW's image as a mass carmaker. For the moment, it is still perceived to largely be a ‘city brand' when Tier-2 and -3 regions are the new growth drivers in India. Their needs would be met in the coming years as VW launches cars priced under Rs 4-lakh.

It is also very likely that the company will use the IPL platform to drive home the ‘Think Blue' campaign apart from a slew of other brand-building initiatives be it screenings of the matches, lucky draws and sale of merchandise at dealerships and malls. The icing on the cake could well be a car awarded to the Player of the Series though this has not been officially confirmed yet.

While the Passat will be the first model with BlueMotion Technologies, Mr Garg hinted that VW is likely to make this an integral feature for its entire range for India in due course of time. It also remains to be seen if this will be leveraged for cars produced in alliance with its new global ally, Suzuki, which is the market leader here through its arm, Maruti.

Published on February 23, 2011

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