BEIJING -- Volkswagen is preparing its first branding campaign in China to defend its lead in the world's fastest-growing automotive market.
The ad agency Dynamic Marketing Group will bring VW's "love"-based marketing platform to the country.
VW uses its German-language advertising tag line "Aus Liebe zum Automobil" in many markets worldwide. In English this is "For the love of the automobile."
In China the brand campaign revolves around the slogan "China's journey, Volkswagen's heart." It is a loose translation of VW's global slogan.
Dan Mintz, Dynamic Marketing Group'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."
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 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 Auto-motive Co. Ltd. and Shanghai Volkswagen Automotive Co. Both Chinese partners, First Auto Works Group and Shanghai Automotive Industry Corp., are involved in the new marketing campaign.
– Alysha Webb contributed