It’s Valentine’s Day so in the spirit of first loves and loves lost I’m compelled to share my heartache. I lost my first love the other day and all the significant meaning it had in my formative years. I’m sad to say, the Volkswagen Beetle is doing its farewell mile, folks. From the first time I rode in one in preschool to the relaunch in 1997, I was hooked. I’m the baby of Boomers. Yes, those, OK Boomers accused of seeming stuffy in their outdated views. Tough to imagine in their youth they were anything but. Those boomers were innovators, free-thinkers and all-around visionaries.
After 70 years of selling the Beetle, Volkswagen recently put out a new ad where the Beetle travels its final mile. After this year Volkswagen will retire the Beetle forever.
This got me thinking about the Brand Briefs we discussed in class. Obviously, the Beetle has run its course in its product lifecycle. Somewhere along the way one of the 4 P’s of marketing (Product, Price, Promotion, Place) went off course in such a way that it could no longer effectively connect to the target. Evaluating the social media of the VW Beetle it’s not hard to see why. For such a playful, iconic brand that represented such a pivotal time in history, it is hard to believe they did not have a presence on Twitter. In fact, their best social media twitter push to date is the #TheLastMile, trending during their ending.
And hey, I get it, you’re probably thinking “Boomers aren’t on Twitter!” Well, I have news for you, IF it was a good idea for them to continue to follow the Boomer generation as their target and on social media, well, they missed that boat too. The Volkswagen Beetle does not have its own account on Facebook either. All of Volkswagen’s social media is under a generalized branded account, separated by country. According to theoutline.com Boomers share on Facebook 20% more than any other demographic so not connecting digitally through social media at all was a mistake.
If it were up to me to revive this brand digitally using the 5 core network behaviors (access, engage, customize, connect and collaborate), I would focus on the social media that is so lacking. According to research conducted by Facebook, not only do car shoppers like to use mobile to shop for their cars, they prefer it. I’ll start with Facebook:
- Create a Bug branded page
- Be quirky and utilitarian in the brand voice
- Drive customers to a personalization landing splash page where they could customize their dream bug
Let’s see what the digital thought leaders have to say on this one. I inquired with J.P. a 10 year veteran in the digital space with an impressive resume of digital brand positioning. His ideas:
- Nostalgia is the word! Create a hype video with an ending that asks the viewer to share their #70sbugexperience
- Send out fun infographics responding to Gen Z and Millennials “Ok Boomers”
- Since the Bug is iconic of a lifestyle in a certain space and time, create a separate Beetle Bug lifestyle page to encourage the sharing of memories and connectivity with other Boomers
Perhaps it’s all good. In the product life cycle, everything has to end. And hey, Volkswagen has already brought the Beetle back once in 1997 maybe it needs some time off and we will see a re-launch in 2027. Until then, peace out punch buggy Beetle!
Hou, Zontee, et al. “11 Companies That Are Killing It with Their Digital Marketing Campaigns.” Convince and Convert: Social Media Consulting and Content Marketing Consulting, www.convinceandconvert.com/digital-marketing/killing-it-with-digital-marketing-campaigns/
“25 Amazing Statistics on How Consumers Shop for Cars.” V12, 12 June 1970, v12data.com/blog/25-amazing-statistics-on-how-consumers-shop-for-cars/.
Jezer-Morton, Kathryn. “Baby Boomers Love Facebook, so Let Them Have It.” The Outline, The Outline, 11 Dec. 2017, theoutline.com/post/2597/leave-facebook-to-the-baby-boomers?zd=1&zi=ey54om5j.