Volkswagen: test drive in a print ad

Following on from other unique ways of getting customers to take test drives we’ve outlined this week, such as Nissan’s Accidental Test Drive and Lexus’ use of exclusive free music concerts, here is yet another spin on the humble road test.

This time it’s the turn of Volkswagen to showcase their own take on the 21st century test drive by fusing together traditional print media with augmented reality innovation to debut the world’s first ever test drive within a print ad.

A fold out print ad was placed in a number of key Norwegian magazines depicting a birds eye view of a town (either in summer of the depths of winter, complete with snow) with a long winding stretch of road running through the middle. Those who had downloaded the accompanying mobile app could hover their handset above the image in order to view a Volkswagen vehicle and steer it across the course.

The Lilliputian virtual test drive enabled users to interact with key Volkswagen innovations, such as lane assist, adaptive lighting and cruise control.

It’s a novel gimmick that pushes key features of the vehicle without anyone having to actually bother with venturing into a showroom. There’s also a childlike ‘play’ quality to the promotion, which takes a user back to their childhood as it evokes memories of playing with toy cars - a clever mix of nostalgia with technological innovation.

No one is expecting people to make a rush purchasing decision based on a miniature hand held test drive, however, it does highlight how traditional media can now be utilised as a stepping stone to a tangible product test.

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