PR News 2013 Digital PR Awards

Winner: Edelman Digital – Why VW: Volkswagen’s Storytelling Platform

On October 15, 2013 the PR News’ Digital PR Awards Luncheon took place at the Grand Hyatt in New York City. Top PR and communications professionals gathered for this annual awards program that honors the individuals and organizations behind the most innovative and successful digital communications campaigns.  The 2013 Digital PR Awards: Blog went to Edelman Digital for their work on “Why VW: Volkswagen’s Storytelling Platform.”

 Edelman understood that Volkswagen is an iconic brand with a very dedicated online community of both owners and enthusiasts. According to PRNews, “80% of its audience consists of current or former owners and there are more than 4,800 engagements on Volkswagen’s owned social properties daily.” Given these statistics, Edelman decided to create a platform where these enthusiasts could share their stories about the brand that they have invested in with their time, money and future.  In addition, Edelman also wanted to establish a destination where prospective owners could go to and learn more about the personal stores others have shared about their experiences with the brand, in hopes to have them partake in the Volkswagen community.

In order to accomplish the stated objectives, Edelman developed  “Why VW,” a social media-based storytelling platform that allows Volkswagen owners and enthusiasts to share their stories.  This platform was hosted on both and within the VW Facebook page, which allows Volkswagen to directly engage and learn about their fan base within a branded environment.  Edelman also created five videos on the “Why VW” platform that featured real-life Volkswagen owners talk about the love they have for their car.  They decided to use real people with real ties to the brand, instead of paid actors, in order to convey a sense a nostalgia and attachment individuals have to their car. For instance, one story entitled “First Date to Forever” portrays a couple from Minneapolis, MN who share their story about how Volkswagen cars have always been a part of their growing family, and always will be, ever since their first date. The couple comes across sincere and happy to share their love of Volkswagen to others. This video is just one of the thousands created that makes a lasting impact on the viewer.

 Volkswagen was able to recognize its “super users” who shared the most content on the platform with incentives such as free event tickets, VW DriverGear and more. This action further enhanced the relationship between Volkswagen and their biggest fans.  According to PRNews, “Since its launch in September 2012, “Why VW” has received over 1,300 user stories and more than 2.8 million page views from over 720,000 unique visitors. Edelman will use the stories that have been harvested from this program to create transmedia stories for media outreach to automotive and lifestyle magazines.” Overall, this campaign generated millions of visitors to the webpage and provided Edelman with material for future media outreach.

The digital campaign proved to be a major successful for Edelman and Volkswagen. Edelman truly understood its client’s brand and target audience and developed a social media-based campaign that resonated with current and potential owners.

 Here is the “First Date to Forever” story:

Below is the “Why VW” webpage to further understand the impact of the campaign: