Haymarketing automotive studio

Volkswagen ID. Buzz & What Car? Vans: Getting Van Buyers To #ThinkAgain

Publishing Excellence Awards
Best Creative Solutions Led / Content Marketing Campaign

Don’t think vans are sexy or important? Think again. They typically make up 15-20% of UK vehicle sales, with the Ford Transit Custom the top-selling vehicle outright in 2021 and 2022. That means vans are a fiercely competitive sector, and key to a manufacturer’s bottom line – and that’s doubly true as we face the electric switch. Getting a head start in the fast-growing electric van market is now crucial to shaping a brand’s future success.

Haymarket Automotive Studio’s task for 2023: help VWCV raise awareness of its new all-electric ID. Buzz, with compelling reasons why it should top a business’s wish list.

VWCV has sponsored What Car? Vans since 2019: putting its vehicles in front of 2m users, 75% of which are small businesses. This was the perfect base for their ID. Buzz story.

First, the team crafted ‘Work Smarter/Live Electric’ films that presented the ID. Buzz through the lens of pioneering British businesses who share its ethos of thinking smarter and acting sustainably. A long-form documentary-style let them craft a richer narrative, while BBC nature presenter and sustainability advocate Lindsey Chapman added warmth and credibility.

The team built on Volkswagen’s surf heritage with lifestyle brand Rapanui, which is transforming destructive fast fashion trends by rewarding customers who return T-shirts for recycling. This paralleled how the ID. Buzz is made using recycled materials. They then visited Pavegen, whose energy-generating tiles spark sustainability storytelling through the power of people's footsteps. It highlighted the ID. Buzz’s range-extending regenerative braking.

But they also had to bust some electric van myths. Zero emissions and cost-effective charging mean electric vans can significantly reduce a business’s running costs. But vans are also hard-working tools, with concerns around whether electric vans are up to the job in terms of range, load space and payload.

The team knew the best way to conquer electric doubts is to reframe facts about how we really use vehicles in the real world in a positive and relatable way. Essentially, getting electric-curious buyers to #ThinkAgain. So, using highly original high-impact stop-motion animation, they answered big questions around the ID. Buzz’s capability in an engaging and memorable way.

The What Car? Vans campaign put VWCV’s ID. Buzz in front of 430,000 van-focused users. It also significantly boosted views of Haymarket Automotive Studio’s independent editorial ID. Buzz review to double that of its nearest rival.

The team’s long-form ‘Work Smarter/Live Electric’ documentaries got 84,000 YouTube views with 55% engagement and a female demographic of 16%-24% (an impressive shift from the traditional 9% for What Car?). Their high-impact #ThinkAgain stop-motion short-form YouTube videos were also viewed 75,000 times, with 75% engagement.

The content really sparked the imagination of their social audience, with 420,000 reach and 885,000 impressions across Facebook and Instagram, including 233,000 Thruplay video views (15sec+).

As a result, even though all-electric vans form just 6% of annual sales, 36% of the target audience said they’d actively consider the ID. Buzz. Not bad for a campaign that delivered media value +60% on VWCV’s initial investment.

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