VW's new marketing campaign unveiled by former Fiat star

Paul McVeigh a special correspondent for Automotive News Europe
After winning credit for playing a key role in helping Sergio Marchionne revive Fiat, marketing genius Luca De Meo joined Volkswagen eight months ago to bring his magic to the staid German automaker.

The first fruits of De Meo's efforts to add more flair to engineering-driven VW can now be seen. De Meo has unveiled a new global image and marketing campaign for the VW passenger-car brand called Think Blue.

The campaign highlights the brand's focus on building cars that are more fuel efficient and environmentally friendly than previous models. De Meo sees the new slogan as an evolution of VW's acclaimed Think Small campaign in the 1960s to promote the Beetle. Says De Meo: "Think Small has become Think Blue."

He adds in a press statement: “Our goal is to establish Think Blue as an expression of our corporate mindset and a firm feature of the Volkswagen brand's ecologically sustainable activities. We have deliberately chosen an international slogan because environmental protection knows no national boundaries."

The statement gushes further: "The Think Small slogan symbolizes the Volkswagen brand's achievement in democratizing mobility the world over. The challenge of the future lies in achieving efficient and sustainable mobility for everyone. Volkswagen intends to lead the way."

The campaign will include Web specials, an e-game for iPhone and iPod Touch users as well as traditional print and TV ads.

Under Marchionne, De Meo, 42, succeeded in turning around the struggling Fiat brand and was given a groupwide marketing position in 2007. He also is credited with the successful marketing launch of the new Fiat 500.

VW CEO Martin Winterkorn aims to topple Toyota as the world's No. 1 automaker by 2018. He has said he considers De Meo to be one of the world's best product marketing managers who will make sure that the vehicles created by VW's engineers are appreciated in the market place.

Think Blue is the first shot in the company's marketing strategy to achieve that aim.

Milan-born De Meo, pictured above, joined the car industry in 1992, working for Renault and Toyota before joining Fiat, then VW.