Volkswagen Polo campaign targets ‘independent young thinkers’

Volkswagen has launched a campaign to push its newly redesigned Polo model based on the positioning line that the car is “for dedicated followers of no one”.

Created by DDB Sydney and directed by The Glue Society’s Gary Freedman, it is targeting young drivers, positioning them as “independent thinkers”.

Anke Koeckler, Volkswagen Group Australia MD, said: “The new Volkswagen Polo is the major market launch of Volkswagen in Australia for 2010. It has been recently awarded World Car Of The Year 2010 and is a very important part of our volume strategy.”

The campaign launches with a cinema and TVC ad and is being supported by print, DM, outdoor and extensive digital activity including a new microsite, online banners and social media.


  • National ECD: Matt Eastwood
  • Creative Director: Mark Harricks
  • Creative Team: Paul Sharp & Mike Burdick
  • Business Management: Scott Thomson & Patrice Bougouin
  • Strategy: Nick Andrews
  • Director: Gary Freedman
  • Photography: Andreas Smetana
  • Production House: Revolver Film
  • Media Agency: Mediacom


  1. Goose
    10 May 10
    2:22 pm

  2. I’m in their target demographic and the ad left me sort of confused when I saw it on tv.

    Are the silver shoes at the end saying that as fiercely independent as we play with being, we all follow the same trends in the end?

    And FOLLOWERS OF NO-ONE seems like such a vast statement for a friendly car to be selling. And people my age have a heavy eye-roll reflex when an ad trying to sell us a product pitches the idea that it’s for followers of no-one.

    Weird mixed messaging.

  3. Ben
    10 May 10
    3:30 pm

  4. I’d be their target demo too, and it works for me. In fact, I probably wouldn’t have considered a Polo over a Golf prior to seeing this ad.

  5. AdSuit
    10 May 10
    3:44 pm

  6. Why Ben?

    It leaves me perplexed too.

  7. OtherAndrew
    10 May 10
    3:46 pm

  8. @Ben,

    I can’t tell whether that comment was tongue-in-cheek… kudos if it was. If not, I’m not sure their aim was to cannibalise sales from a more expensive (and presumably more profitable) product line.

    @Goose, I think the idea was that the others were all following someone, but the Polo driver wasn’t.

    For what it’s worth, I liked the ad. More importantly, I actually like the car. And yes, I’m in the target demographic too.

  9. david
    10 May 10
    3:56 pm

  10. I get it – people that blend into their inner city cliques are individual thinkers because:

    a) trying to stand out is less authentic than trying hard not to stand out
    b) being a critic at the failing of others is smart because it deflects being criticized
    c) associating with less attractive and insecure people makes you look better

    The qualities of a young individual thinking person or an arsehole?

  11. Dragon
    10 May 10
    3:58 pm

  12. mmmmm….didn’t really tell me a whole lot about the car’s features etc. In fact I didn’t really know it was a car ad until the last few seconds
    – I reckon it was a concept thought up so the creatives and special effects people could have some fun !!!

  13. R Mugobwe
    10 May 10
    3:58 pm

  14. Anyone considering a Golf or a Polo is far from an independent thinker! I reckon Karl Benz’s horseless carriage was a better ride. And probably had as many features. Who did the guys at VW have to exterminate to get Car of the Year!!

  15. Anonymous
    10 May 10
    4:00 pm

  16. Sorry but such a mass produced product as cars the message ‘buy this to be different’ doesn’t ever really sit well. You will always be one of several hundred thousand others with a car like this and an ad like this will not convince anyone otherwise.

  17. Emma
    10 May 10
    4:02 pm

  18. ^ woops – anonymous was me, Im not actually afraid to let mumbrella readers know my identity.

  19. R Mugobwe
    10 May 10
    4:12 pm

  20. Please tell me how the VW Polo is an individual car. Take the badges off the Polo and line it up with 15 other Ford, Honda, Toyota through to Proton mid size hatchbacks. You would be hard pressed to pick it out.

    This ad is bollocks. Just an excuse for the FX dept to morph some faces and burn some cash.

    The way to sell this car is use the words “World’s best Car 2010 and from less than 20k”. If that didn’t treble sales you could actually start telling people why it is the best car in the world in 2010. And if that didn’t work starting sacking your media buyers because they are as hopeless as bloody creatives using 45 seconds to bloody promote MOVEMBER!!!

    The Guys at DDB need their butts kicked for this. I bet they win an award, and the polite germanic people at VW smile nicely and change agencies next year.

  21. tbone
    10 May 10
    4:27 pm

  22. i like it, i thought the whole ‘not for followers’ thing was based around the idea that it is more of a basic looking nice car, not a trend, e.g. the converse chuck taylors of the car world?

  23. Gem
    10 May 10
    5:05 pm

  24. I saw this the other night and even at the punchline was a little confused :/

    I second Mug….all the small cars look the same now! I used to love a lot of the small car shapes and now they’ve all morphed in to these bubble like tampon tictac looking things. VW’s are reliable cars for sure so best to promote it as voted best small car for under 20k.

    I like that people get creative….was it on brief? I don’t know, would need to see how the client briefed the agency. Either way the agency is hired to advise and plan for their client…..I wouldn’t advise to put an ad like this to market to increase sales, bit of brad perception work yes but not something that = foot traffic for the retailers.

  25. MW
    10 May 10
    5:23 pm

  26. I agree with Dragon. I had no idea it was a car ad until the last minute but I did want to see it again to figure it out. Still don’t get the silver shoes though.

    Btw are men (with or without facial hair) really the Polo’s target demographic?? I thought it was a womans car….

  27. the kaiser
    10 May 10
    10:33 pm

  28. This is a classic example of the emperor with no clothes. It’s the World’s Best Car for 2010 – but it took the client to tell me that in a press release! Call me old-fashioned but I would’ve thought the agency’s job was to find a cool way to say that not ask the client to fund this wank. Avoiding the bleeding obvious seems advertising’s latest trend – I bet World’s Best Car will be one of the first thing out the VW sales staff mouths when they’re trying to sell Polos.

  29. aktif
    10 May 10
    11:40 pm

  30. it’s one of those ads that I don’t want to click on by the freeze frame, so I cannot give it praise or condemnation.

  31. reggi
    11 May 10
    7:43 am

  32. Das Auto ist gut, das advert is shite vay to inform ze ist gut auto

  33. Spunky1972
    11 May 10
    10:01 am

  34. Well I’m a bit surprised by all the negativity (well, not really, happens to virtually every TVC posted on Mumbrella).

    I really like it

  35. Davo
    11 May 10
    10:12 am

  36. Apart from the really good ones…

  37. steve
    11 May 10
    10:34 am

  38. maybe, if as an industry, we stopped producing so many crap ads then the comments might be a bit more positive.

  39. Nathan
    11 May 10
    4:32 pm

  40. Had absolutely no idea what the point of the ad was till i read the comments here.

    some guys in a car changing facial hair? a generic ‘cool guy’ who thinks it’s funny? they get out of the car and are all wearing silver shoes?


    classic ivory tower copywriting.

  41. R. Mugobme
    12 May 10
    10:36 am

  42. 3 things.

    1. A bad joke is one where you have to explain the punchline. A bad ad is the same.

    2. This car is not an individual car so why would you think that a person seeking individuality would want one?

    3. Why not just make an ad saying “Best car in the world 2010 VW Polo. Come and see why now and we will give you change from 20k… Then give half a dozen away from the money you saved on the bloody creative and having to buy 45 seconders to get the punchline on screen for 3 seconds…

  43. Ben T
    12 May 10
    11:24 pm

  44. R Mugobme you are very silly individual indeed.
    If you had any sense you would go and find out why a VW is a better product than other cars in it’s class. Do your research before you voice your foul opinions.

    It’s easy to criticize, much harder to offer something better… Send a link through to your work (if you have any) and then we can all have laugh.

  45. Tommo
    12 May 10
    11:39 pm

  46. I think all the negativity is fairly pointless…

    Not sure if the people that watched the ad and posted their thoughts here on this website actually understand what the ad is saying. Maybe it could have been clearer, but I see a Polo driver as someone who knows what they want. They are an individual in terms of the fact that they don’t follow trends, the three men in the advert copy each other and try to out perform. The guy driving the Polo is just someone who is clear about he what he wants, that’s all… He just doesn’t get flustered and I suppose that’s what the advert is saying…

    Only bit I think could have been clearer is the ending of the advert…

  47. Ben T
    12 May 10
    11:51 pm

  48. Yeh Tommo, I kinda thought it was something similar to what you just posted.

    The way I saw it was the three guys in the ad, no matter how hard they tried to be original, they still ended up with the same style at the end. Whereas as the car driver didn’t get flustered at all… clear for me and I think that’s why I liked it. Just says a Polo driver doesn’t follow the herd.

  49. Aimy
    13 May 10
    2:10 am

  50. Advert good idea just badly composed… website is very cool, not seen anything like that before.

  51. Mark
    13 May 10
    9:05 am

  52. Have to agree with Mugobwe. Not an idividulists car. But all individual cars will be very unfashionable in six months. Surely this should be aimed at the followers of fashion then?? I have sneaky feeling that some of the comments above come from family and friends of the creative team!!

    Sorry, but this is a bad ad. And it’s appearing on’s Crossword site? Not an obvious placement for the demo? Looks like the media placement isn’t working either!

  53. mumbrella
    13 May 10
    9:09 am

  54. Ben T, Tommo & Aimy:

    I’m glad that you’ve reached that consensus and explained the idea behind the ad (the driver has his own style but the passengers don’t). And I’m also glad how harmoniously you agree with each other.

    Now can you explain why you’re all posting from the same IP address?


    Tim – Mumbrella

  55. R. Mugobme
    13 May 10
    9:10 am

  56. @ Ben T. Please tell where in the ad it talks about the being 2010 car of the year. Or was I just to busy trying to work out which facial hair product the ad was for?? Ben if you think that is a “FOUL OPINION” Harden up buddy and admit it you (or a relative/friend/colleague) made a bad ad.

  57. Tom
    13 May 10
    9:19 am

  58. I’m starting to think there’s a viable business model around launching an agency that consults with other agencies on how to successfully astroturf Mumbrella. I’d probably start by sending Tim a press release, then commenting on it positively under multiple aliases – from different IP addresses!

  59. Andrew
    13 May 10
    9:21 am

  60. Pretty funny reading.

    Wish I hadnt worn silver shoes to work today though.

  61. R. Mugobme
    13 May 10
    9:25 am

  62. Okay So I get it now. Ben T and Tommo you were obviously the Beards in the Back. Aimy were the driving 5 o’clock shadow individual driver or the front seat beard??
    In Rhodes I mean Zimgobme we would sell you guys a farm and then come take it off you next week!!

  63. Jojo
    13 May 10
    9:26 am

  64. @R. Mugobme Spot on

  65. Jojo
    13 May 10
    9:29 am

  66. Let me clarify spot on when you say:
    3 things.

    1. A bad joke is one where you have to explain the punchline. A bad ad is the same.

    2. This car is not an individual car so why would you think that a person seeking individuality would want one?

    3. Why not just make an ad saying “Best car in the world 2010 VW Polo.

  67. R. Mugobme
    13 May 10
    9:34 am

  68. @ Jojo Thank you. Can I interest in nice small holding in Small african republic. Can you get you quite a bit for two and half Polo’s!!

  69. Jojo
    13 May 10
    10:30 am

  70. Thanks for the offer Mugobme but I’ll have to pass. I’m fresh out of Polos today – I traded them in for something more individual

  71. Warren
    13 May 10
    4:09 pm

  72. I guess this debate suggests the execution of the creative idea fell short?

    I have to say the first few times I saw it on TV I was watching so much facial hair flying around I hadn’t noticed the driver was not involved.

    In effect, the driver is tainted by his mates folly anyway.

    Perhaps a better idea would have been to show ‘types’ driving cars other than Polos and demonstrating that Polo drivers are their own people?

  73. version
    13 May 10
    4:45 pm

  74. I get it now. The driver isn’t participating. The others follow the herd. He goes his own way.

  75. Jono
    13 May 10
    5:15 pm

  76. Agree with most re the content and the positioning especially as these cars are EVERYWHERE. “Followers of no one”..righto vee dub, way to try and be urban and non conformist…so German!

    However the microsite is quite cool and if I were in the market for a new car it’s at least making an effort to pull me in

  77. the kaiser
    13 May 10
    7:17 pm

  78. As I said earlier ” Worlds Car of The Year for 2010″ will be the first thing a salesman says to a prospective customer. It’s also the last thing any Toyota, Mazda, Kia, Hyundai, Honda, Ford, or Holden salesman wants them to say.

  79. Aimy
    14 May 10
    1:28 am

  80. haha… yeh we were using the same computer if that’s what you mean by IP? Student life is great apart from being SKINT !

  81. Aimy
    14 May 10
    1:32 am

  82. in fact any of you guys want to look at my book? anyone looking for interns?

  83. Tom
    14 May 10
    9:23 am

  84. Is your book one of those “Girl With The Dragon Tattoo” ones? Because I’ve already seen those.

  85. AdGrunt
    14 May 10
    10:17 am

  86. Nice insight.

    Beautiful digital work.

    Bewildering TV execution.

    Blame the client as much as the agency.

    UK hit a different and likely more resonant mark here

  87. krzystoff
    15 May 10
    2:16 am

  88. I was completely baffled by the point of the Polo ad when I first saw it — a bunch of bland-looking Beatles-wannabees, with magical facial hair, arrive at nightclub with matching silver shoes?!?

    it was fairly memorable, I’ll grant that — but I couldn’t see it making me consider a different brand or model of car — I’d like my next car to be far more individualised with a custom factory paint finish and custom interior.

    clearly the Polo is a pretty ordinary looking car, like many many others, but with Volkswagen’s (allegedly better) reliability.
    why did they not push the ‘best car in the world’ line more heavily — perhaps because it risks undercutting sales of their more appealing, more successful, more profitable Golf (ie. why didn’t the Golf win that award this year).

    Probably one of the most insightful and brave ads I have seen in a longtime, tapping into a key insight and current western cultural trend; fear of not being unique. Smart, brave and witty. Great work.

  89. Don D
    16 May 10
    8:43 pm

  90. I reeeeeeally didn’t like this ad. Even did a search to find out who made it just so i could say they are terrible.

    And yes i am in the target demo.

  91. Adam
    31 May 10
    8:37 am

  92. I am from the UK where VW’s are extremely popular cars. Just a heads up. A Golf is a mans car and a Polo is a woman’s car. I am not sure if I should echo this secret in sunny Australia, however that is the case back in the UK. (Whether it is meant to be like that or not…)

    So, are they saying that the men in the advert are women?

    I am confused at this advert…?

  93. Adam
    31 May 10
    8:39 am

  94. p.s. the guys in the advert do not own cars. They are creative types who live in Paddington, Surry Hills or Newtown and either walk or get the bus to work. Oh, if they did buy a car it would be an old school Valiant, or an old school VW Kharman Ghia… They certainly would not want to be associated with the sport of Polo, or Golf at that!!

  95. Anonymous
    31 May 10
    5:51 pm

  96. Whoa, thats a wacked out ad… i had no idea what it was trying to tell me until i looked on here…

    Awesome beards…

    (note to self – why am i looking up the meaning of ads on the internet… i gotta get a new hobby…)

  97. Monkibuns
    1 Jun 10
    1:01 pm

  98. A follower of no one walks…… or drives a gogo mobile. When was the last time you saw one of those?
    Maybe they’re implying that if you put ANOTHER BLOODY GOLF on the road you are a sheep. Here is a hairdressers alternative.

  99. Huh?
    1 Jun 10
    1:16 pm

  100. All the guys don’t end up looking the same. You end up with four different facial styles.

    So – the execution of the idea doesn’t stand up.

  101. Vera
    1 Jun 10
    11:04 pm

  102. I am a 75 year old grandmother, I play golf, I drive a mean tee shot with the over 65’s and also ‘drive’ a Polo…

  103. Sumer
    2 Jun 10
    2:05 pm

  104. I am not in the target demographic and took the simple message that the Polo has enough interior space to accomodate four grown men.


  1. For dedicated followers of no one: Polo launches in Australia | Polo Driver