Case Study: The Convertible You Always Wanted
Ed. note: This case study is a selection from the 2013 “Justified” competition, for which an esteemed jury identified 14 submissions that demonstrate the value of design in a clear, compelling and accessible way. To learn more about the jury’s perspective on this selection, see the juror comments.
Volkswagen is the original and top-selling marque of the Volkswagen Group, the largest German automaker and the second largest automaker in the world. Volkswagen Australia required a digital brochure to promote the release of the new Volkswagen Golf Cabriolet—a hatchback with a convertible roof—to the Australian market. The aim of the brochure was to promote the vehicle and generate exposure, interest and possible sales via test-drive environments. The audience included single people ages 30–45 years old and young couples that live an urban or suburban lifestyle.
The Golf Cabriolet digital brochure was designed for the consumer market. In a business sector in which there are a variety of cabriolets available, it was important that all materials reflect and represent the features offered by the vehicle that set it apart from the competition.
As cabriolets have been increasingly used throughout Australia’s urban and suburban areas, they have evolved from a basic open-top model to a model that is of the highest quality and packed with the latest technology—in contrast to the car’s simple roots. Purchasers put a lot of effort and research into vehicles in this sector due to the variety and affordable price range that exists in the market. Therefore, any collateral had to account for these issues.
The original theme for a recent television commercial promoting the Gold Cabriolet included scenes of children playing in a miniature open-top car that were shot during the mid-1970s. The commercial sought to reveal the new Golf Cabriolet and introduce the campaign line “The convertible you always wanted.” It evoked a feeling of nostalgia, going back in time to show viewers their dream car and then resolving to the reality that the car they always dreamt about is now here. Ensuring that this concept of “past dreams” was displayed effectively was important to both the commercial itself and our ability to promote the vehicle.
The concept makes use of a clever interaction between childhood dreams of the car we always wanted and the reality of the car’s arrival today. The scene with the child’s school desk and exercise book is used to represent the past: the pages of the book feature drawings of the child’s dream car, complete with all the “cool” features they might desire. Four pages of the exercise book are covered with doodles, each page displaying a specific theme: the style of the car, the designy-type things the child wants in the car, the car’s power and the gadgets.
The reveal shows today’s Golf Cabriolet, featured in a glossy publication, with each of the publication pages matching a page in the child’s exercise book featuring the imaginary car drawings. The experience enables the user to interactively wipe between past and present.
Once the idea for the website was conceived, it was important to source an appropriate and accurate style for the child’s doodle illustrations. Research into children’s drawing styles and the way that children think when doodling gave our illustrator a clear direction to take.
The design solution effectively facilitated the original brief, cohesively matching the television commercial. However, allowing the brochure concept and design to offer its own unique experience was key to the solution.
The conceptual idea and layout of design elements (schoolbook, doodles and glossy brochure) were accurately storyboarded for initial client meetings, which ensured a smoother design process. The final design was very close to what was envisaged from the start. Going beyond the television commercial, the brochure finds its own experience design niche in the digital space.
The Golf Cabriolet digital brochure helped set the Golf apart from its competitors. Reflecting the innovative technology of the car, the brochure took potential purchasers’ expectations to a new level. Not only were they able to learn about the vehicle itself, they were offered an opportunity to emotionally connect with bygone memories of childhood. The brochure effectively positioned the Golf Cabriolet as the dream vehicle they always imagined.
Attaining accuracy in terms of representing elements from the past was important to ensuring the success of the project. The school desk, exercise book and child’s illustration style were the most difficult elements to source. For example, it took a number of attempts to find the correct desk. The illustration style of the child’s doodles had to capture the spirit of a child’s imagination, and many doodle drawings were created by the illustrator before a specific style was chosen.
In addition, deadlines for the project were tight. Due to the many variants of design illustrations explored and various client-requested changes, it was a challenge to meet the live date requirements. Ensuring the design work wasn’t compromised under these circumstances was imperative.
The cohesive nature of this project helped ensure its success. The design solution made great use of the digital space for which it was created. It engaged, intrigued, and offered a fun and successful way to promote the Golf Cabriolet.
The website demonstrated strong online usage numbers from launch date to close of the project. Twelve months of analytics gathering show:
- 55,104 page views
- 49,068 visits
- 43,274 unique visitors