Seat brings a sense of history to Altea launch

Barcelona. Lutz Kothe says his last product launch for Seat, Volkswagen's Spanish subsidiary, is a memorable one.

"We are pulling out all the stops," says Kothe, who was head of Seat's marketing communication until April 1, when he moved to the same job at Volkswagen Group.

The Altea debut in Spain features ads that juxtapose the coming of the car with memorable historical events.

For example, one ad features the first heart transplant in 1967. Below the picture of a man with a huge scar on his chest are the words "The new Seat Altea is coming."

Other ads are keyed to things such as the flower-power era of the mid-1960s and the invention of air-cushioned sport shoes in 1979.

The campaign's message: It is time to do something revolutionary again -- for example, buy a new Altea.

In the last five years, Kothe has changed Seat's image from a cheap brand to a passionate maker of sporty cars.

"We have to polarize more, as we have less advertising budget than the large manufacturers," Kothe said of Seat's marketing effort.

This year, two-thirds of Seat's worldwide marketing budget will be used for the new model.

Kothe says the so-called multisports vehicle should become Seat's third-best seller, after the Ibiza and Leon.

TV commercials and print ads start this month in Italy, Portugal and Switzerland. The campaign will begin in Germany in June, just before the launch on June 12.

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