Volkswagen Canada drives advance sales with ‘countdown’ campaign

Marketers are always talking about wanting to drive conversions on landing page, but Volkswagen Canada has taken it to a whole new level with its latest digital promotion for the 2014 Golf and Golf GTI.

Working with Montreal-based agency Palm+Havas, Volkswagen has set up a landing page that allows consumers to try and get the best discount possible on the new cars due to be released at the end of the month. A countdown ticker starts at the full retail price of $18,995 and ticks down at more than a cent per second, or about $1,000 per day. When a prospective buyer sees the price they want, they click the “lock-in” button and fill out their credit card information to put a hold of $250 on their credit card for seven days. Here’s the catch – if you wait too long and someone else locks the discount in first, the countdown resets to full price and you need to wait all over again.

So why would Palm+Havas propose this campaign to Volkswagen?

“How can we bring that ‘behind the wheel’ feeling to this launch campaign?” says John Parlea, group director of CRM at Palm+Havas. “The intenet is we’d let the price go as low as consumers feel it should. If no one jumps in to lock it in, it could go down thousands of dollars.”

Volkswagen is committed to the discounts locked in, he says. But the biggest discount taken so far off is $267. Visitors to the page know how many others are potentially waiting to lock-in (191 at time of writing) and see the discount amount grow with each passing second. The page has already led to 60 sales, Parlea says.

The biggest challenge to executing the promotion was ensuring the countdown time would appear the same to everyone viewing it, no matter what browser or device they happened to use. So the agency used secure socket layer technology that is also employed for stock tickers to ensure everyone saw the same thing at the same time.

Volkswagen will rely on digital channels and word of mouth to drive traffic to the page. It has 950,000 Facebook fans, and a healthy amount of traffic visiting to divert.

“We have limited budgets in comparison to our competition,” Parlea says. “That’s why as an agency we’re tasked with finding efficient and innovative ways to push through.”

If you don’t want to wait around watching the countdown, you can have an email alert sent to you once the discount reaches a certain amount.

And another tip from Parlea – you’re locking into receive a discount on a price, not to pay the price on the screen. So you’re still able to negotiate with local dealers and then apply your discount on top of that.

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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada

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Brian Jackson
Brian Jackson
Editorial director of IT World Canada. Covering technology as it applies to business users. Multiple COPA award winner and now judge. Paddles a canoe as much as possible.

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