BEIJING -- Volkswagen is preparing its first branding campaign in China to secure its lead in the world's fastest growing automotive market.
A small advertising agency in China is giving new meaning to VW's "love"-based marketing platform. TV, print and online ads based on the Chinese character for "heart" roll out in late July. The ad agency Dynamic Marketing Group developed the campaign. Dan Mintz, the agency's chief creative officer, says the campaign "works at the Chinese level but also fits with VW's global platform and heritage with the VW love bug and the old hippie vans."
VW sales in China grew 41.6 percent to 698,391 vehicles last year. But its one-third share of China's passenger-car market is slipping, while rivals such as General Motors are marketing aggressively there.
VW has two joint ventures in China, FAW-Volkswagen Automotive Co. Ltd. and Shanghai Volkswagen Automotive Co. Both Chinese partners, First Auto Works and Shanghai Automotive Industry Corp., are involved in the new marketing campaign.
The brand campaign revolves around the slogan "China's journey, Volkswagen's heart." It's a loose translation of VW's global slogan: "For the love of automobiles."
The glue that holds the campaign together is the Chinese character for "heart." Its root forms other characters such as "love," "compassion," "loyalty" and "wisdom." The ad agency chose 16 characters based on the "heart" character. It designated one for each model VW sells in China.
The character for "loyalty," for example, represents the Golf, VW's best-selling model in China.