VW NEW BEETLE
The New Beetle isn't Volkswagen of America Inc.'s best-selling car. But the reincarnated Bug was nothing less than a marketing and public relations coup when reintroduced to the United States last year. It was last sold here in 1979.
Liz Vanzura was at ground zero. VW's ad director did lots of homework before the launch of the New Beetle last year. There was an uneasiness inside VW about how well the retro machine with such nifty modern features as airbags would sell, said Vanzura, 35.
But she and her team did their homework and positioned the car as youthful and hip - and not just for baby boomers.
Arnold Communications of Boston was under pressure to recapture the classic, admired Beetle work of the 1960s. The result: an integrated effort that started with a teaser Internet push in December 1997.
A flood of positive press stories started around the time VW unveiled the production New Beetle at Detroit's auto show in January 1998, also creating a buzz. The car virtually was sold out by the time it went on sale in March. By year end, nearly 56,000 were sold, with another 25,498 sold since the beginning of this year.
Vanzura said she is proud that VW has the youngest demographics in the industry - from 18 to 49 - although core buyers are 18 to 34.
She joined VW in early 1997 after 13 years with General Motors.
'VW was just starting to make a dent when I started,' she said. 'VW's formula for success is our very clear definition of our brand and creating messages for our target.'