Wednesday, October 28, 2009

The Fun Theory

Volkswagen (an auto company that produces all those nasty carbon producing vehicles) is behind a socially responsible initiative, The Fun Theory.

The concept is based on a simple philosophy: That people will change their behavior for the better if it is fun to do. 

Volkswagen came up with three videos to demonstrate this belief and set up a competition to encourage others to come up with their own ideas to help prove The Fun Theory.

So what?

Well, the idea for the campaign is brilliant. It is based on an idea that is easily communicated, the ideal is widely recognised by most people, it provides one of those penny dropping moments and it is fun to watch.

As a campaign, it would appear to be extremely successful for Volkswagen. The videos produced and branded by Volkswagen have gone viral on YouTube with the the most popular video below already having over 5 million views. The campaign is cost effective with the website used as the central focus of the campaign that is fed by viral social media.

One motivator behind the campaign is to convince the public that Volkswagen is a caring, sharing corporate citizen. After all the videos on the website encourage the virtues of recycling, not littering and in the video below, motivates people to use the stairs. And of course the public competition for the public to produce similar videos will create all sorts of socially responsible ideas that Volkswagen can attach their branding to.

We do not think that the underlying PC, social responsibility is the main motivator for this campaign's mass appeal. In fact the campaign was probably was at risk of failing because of it.

The success of the campaign was the humor behind the frailties of human nature by encouraging people to have FUN while doing mundane activities. We like taking the p*ss out of ourselves.

Will the campaign raise brand awareness? Probably. 

More importantly will the campaign encourage the sale of more Volkswagen cars? Who knows?

So what can the travel industry learn from this?

Source: Video stolen from

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