Part of our mission is to help clients create content that has impact, especially impact with the right ‘ears’ and ‘eyes’.
That is why the latest ‘eyes on the road’ campaign from Volkswagen is being put under the spotlight today.
If you haven’t seen it, scroll down – I’ve embedded the video for you.
Once you’ve done that, I’d like to a couple of moves that clicked their communication into gear.
First gear: Start with an insight
The first thing that struck me about this piece of communication was how it was based around a simple, fundamental insight, that mobile phone use is now the biggest killer on our roads.
Let’s think about that from our perspectives.
Have you based your current marketing communication around one, simple insight?
Or have you stretched it to two, or three, or a dozen?
There is always temptation to cram as many messages and nuances in as possible when you are planning to spend time and money communicating.
However, the less ideas, the more effective the communication can be.
Second gear: Don’t park your efforts until you’ve identified the SO WHAT!
One of the things about planning your communication with an experienced marketer is that they will help you move past a simple list of facts or features and drive you deeper into what those things MEAN to your target market.
In the VW example, instead of expecting the audience to do the work to understand what it means when they are told mobile phone usage is the biggest killer on the roads, the team pushed through to be really clear about the ‘what’s in it for me’.
As George Bernard Shaw said (and as colleague Jane Miller is keen on repeating):
The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place
The trick is knowing that a fact, by itself, no matter how emotive you might think it to be, still needs to be explained in terms your audience will truly ‘get’.
Third gear: The medium is the message
In this case, VW and its agency chose a cinema for sharing this message.
A cinema is large and all the emotion of audio-visual content is able to play out to the full.
What’s more, a cinema is a safe space and the clever triggering of an SMS to audience members while ‘nothing much’ was happening on screen cleverly mimicked the cocoon-like feel many of us have in our cars; safe, comfortable, invincible.
The look of genuine shock on the faces of the audience members is palpable.
I think it is clear that emotional resonance has been achieved.
Top gear: Exploiting technology
This experiment and campaign used available technology to time the mass sending of SMS to the audience with the action on the screen.
But beyond that this was not an exorbitant campaign that pushed technology into new realms.
And this is why this example is so relevant to small to medium business even though it is from a global brand.
Whether your budget is $10, $10,000 or $10,000,000, taking time to work through those steps and finally deciding on technology that is free or affordable AND relevant to your audience, will be the difference between driving your message home or running off the road.
From our perspective as strategic marketers, there are times to be at the wheel and times to enjoy the scenery but if the journey isn’t heading towards a specific destination, it’s just an expensive spinning of wheels.
So, yes, keep your eyes on the road but keep a map (marketing plan) by your side.
The VW Eyes On The Road ad