A PR campaign that has it all

Those who know me know that I am a woman with an engine as a heart. I am passionate about everything that transports: bikes, trucks, planes, boats, and of course motorcycles. I keep up-to-date with almost everything in communication campaigns within the transportation industry.


Source by meh.ro

Today I bring attention to a PR campaign that has impressed me over the years, not only because of the message it portrays, but also by how well thought out and developed it is. The campaign has received more than 10 international awards, including 2 gold awards at the Cannes Lions Film Festival of Creativity 2014. It also doubled the production of units and sales of the latest edition of the promoted product, and earned about 40 million media worldwide.

How did they do it? Let’s look at what I believe to be one campaign that has it all: information, persuasion, and memory.


Source by blog.bbt4vw.com

In September of 2013, after 63 years of production, Volkswagen announced the discontinuation of one of their star products. The body of the “VW Kombi”, a mystical German mark van that was produced in Brazil, did not meet the new security requirements for airbags and ABS established by the Brazilian government.


Source by theinspirationroom.com

The timing was perfect. A personified flagship product would say goodbye to her followers, and the brand wanted to do it in style. Volkswagen announced they would produce 6000 units of a special edition that would terminate the career of this vehicle.

The Message
Before leaving, the Volkswagen Kombi had one last wish: to thank those who had developed a relationship with her and gave her so much affection over the years, making her one of the most endearing vans of all time. In a mature and tender voice, Kombi recalled her stories from her lifetime and reported to have written a “will” to those who gave her the most love.


Source by unfinishedman.com

The emotion with which the message was transmitted touched the hearts of even the most hardhearted of people. This was a clever strategy to achieve a unique connection with the followers of the brand.

The Strategy
The concept was to create the first campaign that ‘unlaunched’ a car that was a true legend in the automotive industry; and to engage the people. This was achieved by storytelling, and interacting live with the people through digital channels.


Source by www.advertolog.com

Volkswagen invited people to visit their website so they could check out the ‘Kombi Last Edition’ model, and send purchase intentions. People were also invited to share stories of their experiences with the Kombi.

The Kombi-Last-Wishes strategy was immediately successful. Large numbers of stories were submitted, and used to create the ‘Kombi’s Will’ advertisement. The strategy involved interacting with those who already knew the vehicle, as well as those who intended to acquire the latest edition model. Online sources, including a website and social media, as well as traditional media channels, were perfect for carrying the message of the brand.


Source by www.advertolog.com

During the campaign created by BBDO Brazil, “Kombi Last Wishes” compiled a series of stories with those who had developed a relationship with her over the years. This was an essential element for connecting with the public.


Source by oman-collective-intelligence.com

In conclusion, Kombi-Last-Wishes was a campaign that gave a deserved farewell to a product whose importance goes beyond the brand. A vehicle marked by generations of people that is part of the pantheon of the global automotive industry. The Kombi-Last-Wishes campaign certainly made its mark in the industry’s worldwide PR and marketing standing.

Please leave your comments about what you feel about this multi-awarded campaign in the section below.

If you haven’t connected with me on social media yet, check me out on Twitter and Google+.

Other articles:
Sex plus Cars, a successful formula.
A bus stop heated by a tweet.


5 thoughts on “A PR campaign that has it all

  1. Hi Mia,

    Interesting PR campaign about the Volkswagen Kombi. You can see that they set up some of their social media channels and tactics to that people could write and post their stories about the vehicle. Again, you goes to show you that social media is about creating the feeling of community where various individuals from across the globe can share their stories and experiences. Social media has made the world seem that much smaller in a way.



  2. Hi Mia, First, this is such a great topic to write about. Your passion about it comes through. Second, what I thought spoke to me was the fact that they used so much emotion to convey their message. I think emotions speak louder than words. It was very smart of them to use the voice of an old woman to portray how long the car’s been around. I automatically thought of this old 80 year old woman sharing stories with her grand children on a rainy evening. It was that personable. They have nailed the language too. It is definitely a beautiful way to say good bye to something that is so close to the hearts of people. An image that will stay with them for a very long time. It describes a journey and that makes it so rare and unique. I feel like I am a part of this car’s life and death. Beautiful post.


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