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How centenarian Jack inspired VW to develop its new marketing plan

While Volkswagen is known for engineering excellence, this year saw the German carmaker go in search of a new message. VW Ireland's head of marketing for passenger cars Paul O'Sullivan (below) set the wheels in motion. The former Nissan exec was given the job of creating a new vision for the car brand with the Das Auto sign-off.

An analysis of VW's strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats (SWOT) found corporate culture needed a rethink by turning the shareholder, customer and staff pyramid on its head. A strategy was developed along the lines that VW is not just about building cars, it's about creating life experiences. The inspiration for this was Jack Powell (100) from Tipperary, owner of 41 Volkswagens. The centenarian could even name every model he bought.

A car brand that wins consumer hearts earns commitment. Being Ireland's top-seller and "thrashing Toyota" sales-wise is no big deal. For VW, it's about stories to tell, stories to sell. So as to look distinctively Irish, VW's TV ads always avoid scenes with left-hand drive vehicles touring the Alps. In January, new ads will be rolled out. VW ads in Ireland are created by Owens DDB and MediaCom handles media buying.