From one way traffic to interpersonal traffic with VW

I love this linear commercial for VW.  It’s called 30 years in the making and it shows the changing life of the manufacturers working on the car’s design and production over the lifespan of the car. It’s a perfect example of linear communication. The brand speaks. Tells us a brand-centric story about it’s own narrative and our job is to become aware of the history and develop a preference for the product as a result.  Game over until we come to the point of purchase.

This campaign above is an interpersonal campaign for VW, called Midlife Crisis in which they put a very specific customer group at the heart of everything. First they get these lost souls to fill out a form to define the extent of their midlife crisis. Thereafter, our multiple choice responses to a series of increasingly embarrassing questions creates a bespoke video response that urges each of us to put aside all our silly midlife urges and grow up by buying a VW. The ad creates awareness of the campaign. The website engages our interest and the email takes us closer to the test drive at the dealer. The linear route is a wonderful generic pitch to a universal market. The interpersonal route is a more profound interactive engagement with a very specific target group. In one route, the brand is at the centre of attention. In the other, the customer is the focus of all the attention. Maybe it’s because I’ve been there and got the Jungian T-Shirt, bought and sold the twin turbo supra that I love both commercials but find the midlife crisis one hits me straight in the Harley Davidson savings department. The version you like might serve to tell you whether you need to visit the midlife crisis centre sooner than you think.