Although you may have seen this case (or an earlier version of it) before, it is not until now that the strategic platform allows it to show it’s full potential. Over the last three years, Volkswagen has built a brand platform – Visit the Road. It centers on a big idea that solves a key consumer pain point – spending the night outside designated camping sites is prohibited by law.
We knew that giving a whole new generation of drivers their first taste of the freedom of the road and capturing the imagination of those who remember the road trip days of the 60s was going to take more than romanticising the product.
To make VW California the holiday experience of choice, we wanted to demonstrate that a modern iteration of its essence – the feeling of travel with no bounds – had a relevant role to play in contemporary culture – one that thrives on freedom to pick our own paths.
Taking the iconic road trip experience from our collective past, extending it beyond the traditional remits of driving and into the category of holidaying, we created a cultural phenomenon that had the power to transcend generations, and in the process, placed VW California firmly in the hearts and minds of consumers.
Over the years, road tripping has become harder. Denmark, like most European countries, has introduced laws that prohibit people from camping in the free. Being able to go where your heart desires, and spend the night alone in nature is the essence of why VW California speaks to people. It was this feeling we needed to bring back to the community.
So we introduced California Stays – a kind of AirBnB for land. Together with landowners we built 12 exclusive and unique overnight stays in some of the most breathtaking parts of the country, bookable for free on the website and on major holiday booking sites – all made available to anyone with a VW California - owned, rented, or borrowed.
What started as a brand activation, has evolved in to a fully fledged brand loyalty initiative that has brought everything from Twin Stays, designed to encourage the community to meet new like-minded people or visit the road together, to Dreamers’ Stays where those without a Volkswagen California can be nominated to an unforgettable stay, to California Stops – a crowdsourced experience map, populated with the community’s most loved hidden gems.
The platform was supported by three brand films bringing to life the freedom of waking up to a new, magical view every day, as well as social and digital campaigns driving traffic to the website and capturing the data that allows the platform to continue to optimise, grow and bring value to the community.
Winning the holiday category is more difficult than ever. While the options at our fingertips have become more ample, making the road the ultimate holiday destination for people requires creating top of mind awareness, and value – for longer.
By monitoring conversations online, we pinpointed the key elements of travel booking and built our creative approach on the symbol that bore the strongest social currency – the desire to have access to exclusive and unique experiences.
Using this as our springboard into wider cultural discourse, we leveraged the rise in popularity of staycations and local exploration to create a value-adding branded experience that would be remembered, and requested, way past the campaign period.
The Stays: fully booked within 24 hours for the last three years
Website Visits: up more than 211%
Pricelists: 3-fold increase in downloads compared to before the initiative was introduced
Sales: up 81%
Nicolai Løje Farganis, Head of Marketing for VW Erhvervsbiler says: ”Det er super tilfredsstillende at arbejde med en aktivering, hvor pris ikke er til stede i selve kommunikation, men fokus i stedet har været en emotionel tilgang…Det åbnede for ikke bare at positionere bilen som transport, men også tage ejerskab på de oplevelser og destinationer, du altid har drømt om, men aldrig – eller i hvert fald kun sjældent – har oplevet. Resultaterne overstiger i høj grad vores forventninger. Det demonstrerer, at vi har ramt hovedet på sømmet, og vi er stolte af at have udviklet en kampagne, der rent faktisk formår at skabe så meget værdi, at vi nu ser ind i at gøre det til et fast produkt, som skaber added value til vores California-modeller.”