Brand Gestures for the fun-of-it – Volkswagen's funtheory.com

Just for the fun-of-it
There has been plenty of debate over the years (some of it with readers commenting on this site) about the validity and value of brand gestures that do not have an immediate and specific selling proposition. In many ways this represents the difference between the crafts of advertising and branding.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2lXh2n0aPyw&feature=related

The Speed Camera Lottery.
Idea: Rewarding Speed Limit Signs – Submitted by Kevin Richardson (USA).
Can we get more people to obey the speed limit by making it fun to do? The idea here is capture on camera the people who keep to the speed limit. They would have their photos taken and registration numbers recorded and entered into a lottery. Winners would recieve cash prizes and be notified by post. Better still, the winning pot would come from the people who were caught speeding.

Here’s a great example of a brand gesture from the folks at Volkswagen. Unlike many brand gestures, where the communication objective of the experience is directly related to the proposition and positioning of the brand, Volkswagen’s funtheory.com plays on the outer margins of brand communication. As Volkswagen describe funtheory.com: ‘This site is dedicated to the thought that something as simple as fun is the easiest way to change people’s behavior for the better. Be it for yourself, for the environment, or for something entirely different, the only thing that matters is that it’s change for the better.’

As we’ve evolved as a society in the way we absorb and interact with brands, the way audiences respond to brand messages has changed. Twenty years ago the extent to which you could build market share was directly related to the budget you had available to invest in your above the line advertising campaign. The world has changed. Traditional advertising techniques and channels have become part of the way brands need to communicate to connect to their markets, but not the only way. The catch-cry is ‘Integration’ – integrating a campaign of brand messaging – some hard, some soft, some using traditional mediums, some using new or fresh mediums. And as the way we connect with our audiences has changed, so-too has the messaging itself.

No-longer can brands focus on the offer – what we want you to do or buy – they must also give people a reason to buy that is non-functional, a reason to want to buy.

The process of creating emotional connections – the truer and deeper the better – requires a subtly, complex and multi-dimensional craft of which attributes such as engage, delight, interact and share are most defining. This brand gesture campaign from Volkswagen is a sweet example of just that craft.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NfFzmRQriss&feature=player_embedded

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cbEKAwCoCKw&feature=related

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zSiHjMU-MUo&feature=related

The Fast Lane – A Funtheory Follow-up
Following-on from their funtheory campaign – VW have created some more brand-driven frivolity with these great brand experiences dedicated to everyone who enjoys speeding life up a little.

The fast Lane campaign is integrated through VW’s Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/volkswagen?v=app_122484447791278

If you’d like to chat about creating a reason for your customers to want to buy your products or services, why not give us a call.

David Ansett, Brandamentalist
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Designer of Brand Gestures

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