Volkswagen do Brasil: Born on March 23rd, 1953, in a warehouse in the Ipiranga neighborhood of São Paulo, where the first Beetles and Kombis were assembled out of parts brought from Germany. Three years later it began working with AlmapBBDO, a relationship that’s lasted to this day. In 1980 the company entered the truck market and was soon leading in sales. By putting innovative communication at the service of technological innovation and high-quality models, Volkswagen won Brazilians’ trust and made Brazil one of the brand’s biggest markets anywhere in the world.
What is the longevity of the relationship between your agency and the brand and how did this relationship begin?
The relationship between AlmapBBDO and Volkswagen predates my time at the agency. It began 62 years ago – I hadn’t even been born. Back then the agency was called Alcântara Machado, under the direction of Alex Periscinoto, and it created the brand’s first campaign, announcing Volkswagen’s arrival in Brazil.
Much later, along with Marcello Serpa and José Luiz Madeira, I worked for the agency as an art director and eventually became creative director, directly contributing to the brand’s growth over the course of more than 20 years. Two years ago, with Cíntia Gonçalves and myself at the head of the agency, we undertook a global review focused on compliance and strengthened our connections through a local pitch; I’m sure we’ll continue to reinforce those ties in the years to come. So we have a solid, lasting and very healthy relationship with the brand, which is very much shaped by a new way of looking at it: Volkswagen is always transforming and renewing itself, and it’s like we have a new client every year. We’re very proud to be working with them.
What has been the most innovative/successful campaign created by your agency for the brand?
There have been many. I’m particularly fond of one we did to mark Volkswagen’s 50th anniversary in Brazil: it was a double-page newspaper ad, showing all of the models from the very first to the latest. Other emblematic pieces include the “Dog-Fish” that we created for the Space Fox, which took home a gold in Film at Cannes Lions. There was also “Opening Doors,” which we did recently to demonstrate how easy it is to use the hands-free trunk, and which was awarded a Bronze Lion. “Goodbye Kombi,” which we were very proud to create, was honored with seven Lions. We covered the discontinuation of the Kombi and the reintroduction of the New Beetle – and we were the ones to propose that it be called the New Fusca in Brazil, since that’s how the car has always been known and the name carries much more emotional appeal around here. We released a car that was completely modern at the time, with a ‘70s-era look. Other memorable projects include the classic “Double Check,” which took gold at Cannes in 1999. For the web series “01.09,” which we debuted last year to advertise the arrival of the New Polo, we created branded content – the brand’s first-ever web series, action-packed, suspense-laden, and full of enigmas. On September 1st (01.09 in Portuguese), we provided the solution to the mystery: the New Polo - 01.09, when read backwards, reads “POLO”. This was an unexpected approach to advertising Volkswagen’s innovative design to a new audience for the brand, a young and connected group. The Polo is currently fourth in sales nationwide. We also created key work for the brand’s retail, and we couldn’t be happier with the results: in June of this year alone, Volkswagen did 26% better than in the same month last year and eight times better than the growth for the Brazilian automotive sector. Since late 2017, Volkswagen has gone from third in sales to a solid second place. We’ve just debuted the campaign for the New Tiguan, which uses a stork to announce the arrival of this New Volkswagen.
What way do you work with the brand to keep up with the industry changes?
One advantage of the relationship between AlmapBBDO and Volkswagen is that we’re an agency that’s in constant transformation. We’ve always seen the brand as a new client, a new prospect. We’re also a full-service agency active in all sectors, a modern framework for the partnership that gives us profound insight into our client’s business. We do everything from the brand’s CRM to advertising, so we’re really working on all fronts for them. Our specialists and creatives have been collaborating with the brand for a very long time, some for decades, so they know it inside and out. For any innovation that we introduce, we only implement it when it makes sense for the client’s business, their results, the image of the brand, and in terms of its creative potential – not just for the novelty of it. We’re acutely aware of the rationale for each of these innovations. That makes us even more decisive, a key factor in the client’s business.
What factors have enabled you both to stay in a partnership for so long? And how do you plan on keeping this relationship going forward?
It’s a two-way street: AlmapBBDO is very good for Volkswagen, and Volkswagen is very good for AlmapBBDO. We know the client’s business so well, and they’re so important to us, that at times we can work alongside them to see the effects of each change in the brand and the company. Now we’re not just partners in ideas, we’re business partners as well. That’s what makes this relationship so enduring. Our biggest challenge is to make sure that the brand continues to inspire everyone else just as much as they inspire us.