Volkswagen Case study THE BEETLE SHARK CAGE by Mediacom New York

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Industry Cars
Media Case study
Market United States
Agency Mediacom New York
Creative Director Amanda Doyle
Released May 2013


Cannes Lions 2013
Media Lions Product & Service; Cars & Automotive Services Bronze

Credits & Description

Type of entry: Product & Service
Category: Cars & Automotive Services
Advertiser: VOLKSWAGEN
Product/Service: VW BEETLE
Agency: MEDIACOM New York, USA

Director/MediaCom Beyond Advertising: Adam Pincus (MediaCom)
Gm/Marketing Communications: Justin Osborne (Volkswagen)
Senior Partner/Associate Director: Joanne Diaz (MediaCom)
Managing Partner: David Fasola (MediaCom)
Communications Planning Director: Sean Williamson (MediaCom)
Executive Vice President/Discovery Ad Sales: Scott Felenstein (Discovery Channel)
Director/Discovery Ad Sales Marketing: Mark Lewis (Discovery Channel)
Director/Discovery Solutions: Kevin McCarthy (Discovery Channel)
Account Executive: Stacy Tobin (Discovery Channel)
Creative Director: Amanda Doyle (Deutsch)
Senior Account Supervisor: Alex Milwee (Edelman)

Results and Effectiveness

In only one world can a beetle take on a shark - and win!

VW saw an immediate impact: Beetle monthly sales topped 3,000 units – the highest total of the year!

And who drove the jump? It was all about the guys, with the percentage of male buyers jumping to 40% – a lift of 20%.

Other results:
• Brand recall, likeability and opinion scores shot past competitive benchmarks.
• Average digital engagement on Shark Week site was an incredible 28.5 minutes, with 5 million views overall.
• Volkswagen playlist had 350,000 views and a 65% completion rate.
• Best content marketing at Creative Media Awards.

Creative Execution

This wasn’t just a cage, but a perfect replica of the iconic car. The frame and design was unmistakably Beetle, down to the last detail.

To drive home our impressive feat, we produced a series of mini-episodes that chronicled our development process: from design to construction to finally dropping it into shark-infested waters.

To build buzz, we showcased the Beetle Shark Cage at a VW dealer event and a huge Shark Week premiere party. The Shark Observation Cage became a hotly anticipated pop culture event in itself, with coverage in the New York Times, Advertising Age and more.

Our episodes then aired on TV and online, with viewers able to watch grab additional content on our tablet co-viewing App.

Meanwhile, Volkswagen had 100% share-of-voice on the Shark Week landing page, with brand messaging across Discovery digital properties.

Insights, Strategy and the Idea

Over the decades, the Volkswagen Beetle had evolved into a car preferred by women. The new Beetle, however, was faster, stronger and sleeker, and VW was determined to improve sales among men.

For most carmakers, tapping the male audience might mean a product placement: an explosion-filled chase in a Hollywood blockbuster, but that’s too heavy for the Beetle: we still wanted to preserve the Beetle values of fun and irreverence.

Enter measured danger.

The Discovery Channel’s insanely popular “Shark Week” was the perfect launch pad: a 25-years-strong cultural phenomenon among men. But if you’re the Beetle, advertising and sponsorships simply wouldn’t do. This was THE Beetle!

So with Discovery, Volkswagen engineers and shark photographers, we created a fully-operational underwater Beetle – the cool, totally manly “Shark Observation Cage.”

Our idea was to put the Beetle in a place every guy wishes he could be (maybe once): swimming with the sharks.