CALIFORNIA STAYS

ClientVOLKSWAGEN
Category A04. Travel, Leisure, Retail, Restaurants & Fast Food Chains
TitleCALIFORNIA STAYS
Product/ServiceVOLKSWAGEN CALIFORNIA
Entrant BELONG AGENCY Copenhagen, DENMARK
Idea Creation BELONG AGENCY Copenhagen, DENMARK
Media Placement BELONG AGENCY Copenhagen, DENMARK
PR BELONG AGENCY Copenhagen, DENMARK
Production BELONG AGENCY Copenhagen, DENMARK
Credits
Name Company Position
Thomas Bjerg Belong Agency CCO
Farah Dib Belong Agency Executive Creative Director
Line Johnsen Belong Agency Associate Creative Director
Sigge Bjerkhof Belong Agency Director/DOP
Louise Brandt Belong Agency Strategy Director
Jacob Scriver Belong Agency Strategic Planner
Martin Meincke Belong Agency Designer
Laura Gry Belong Agency Designer
Julie Willemoes Frandsen Belong Studio Producer
Marie Tidemand Belong Agency Digital Campaign Manager
Lise Skakkebæk Larsen Belong Agency Project manager
Ditlev Ahlefeldt-Laurvig Belong Agency CEO
Louie Halvorsen Belong Agency Associate Project manager
Thomas Mason Belong Agency Editor
Jesper Lind Belong Agency Editor
Alex Suhr Belong Agency Drone
Daniel Norit Belong Agency Copy Editor
Josephine Bugtrup Belong Agency Strategic Planner

Why is this work relevant for Direct?

By addressing a key consumer pain point, we were able to engage the Volkswagen California community online and offline, starting a grassroots movement that quickly spread beyond the usual forums. We leveraged the iconic road trip, long synonymous with the VW campervans, to turn cult into mainstream culture. By reinventing it and enabling a whole new way to experience the road, we empowered our target audience, started a social media storm across multiple platforms and opened a lively discussion in the community – one that lives on as a social movement questioning restrictive overnight camping rules in Denmark and beyond.

Background

In the 1960s, Volkswagen changed the game. The now iconic VW campervan gave birth to road tripping - no destination, only adventure on the horizon. And with hotter, longer summers, there has never been a better time to get on the road with Volkswagen California… Except, in Denmark, like most other European countries, spending the night outside a camping site is nowadays punishable by a fine – seriously hampering the original idea of the campervan. That's why Volkswagen Denmark briefed us to help revitalise Volkswagen California’s position as the ultimate symbol for freedom. We had three objectives to meet: BUSINESS: Traffic to website and leads (downloads of pricelist/sales material) COMMUNICATION & BRAND: Develop a platform that differentiates VW California in the travel category (including camping) INTERNAL Develop a range of emotional USPs for VW California in addition to all the technical features

Describe the creative idea (30% of vote)

The road is no longer what connects us from A to B. With VW California, the road is the destination. So we set out to make it this year’s hottest holiday destination. By drawing on the vocabulary of the hotel and services industry, we sought to showcase the unique and unbeatable ways in which we make you feel at home on the road. In order to do this, we partnered with landowners all across the country to open California Stays – overnight spots in Denmark’s most remote and breathtaking locations, bookable for free on the website, AirBnB and Booking.com. In only two weeks we were fully booked, traffic to the website put serious pressure on our servers and the wave of interest had us extend the campaign to six full weeks. By addressing a real problem, we – once again – made Volkswagen California synonymous with freedom.

Describe the strategy (20% of vote)

Our freedom to experience has never been greater – cheaper flights, hotter, longer summers and a window to the whole world on our Instagram. Freedom is no longer just about being able to go where you want, whenever you want. True freedom is about feeling at home, wherever you go. We feel at home when we’re able to be true to ourselves and our values ​​without compromising. Whether it's what we do, what we eat, or what and who we spend our time on. Through extensive research and interviews with the target audience, defined as families prioritising quality time together over exotic holiday destinations, we found the key insight: road travel is the ultimate way to travel on your own terms, but it was seriously hampered by legislation preventing overnight stays outside of traditional camping sites. That's what we set out to solve.

Describe the execution (20% of vote)

We created the world’s first Volkswagen California overnight spots, announced a week before to a Facebook community of California owners and fans – allowing them first priority to explore and book. The spots, situated in four different corners of Denmark – in some of the most beautiful and breathtaking locations, otherwise inaccessible due to private roads and legislation – were now available to anyone with a VW campervan, owned or rented. We then initiated a large-scale digital campaign leveraging key moments and places where our target audience searched for holiday and road travel inspiration, creating awareness and buzz around a new way of travelling. The community was engaged in a lively debate around the underlying legal challenges and the solution, leading to multiple request for the spots to stay open and clearly indicating the cross-category exposure we had generated for Volkswagen California, spurring thousands to share their stories on social.

List the results (30% of vote)

The campaign was the most successful Volkswagen California campaign to date, generating over 991% increase in traffic to website compared to the same time last year and an impressive 100% increase in sales material and pricelist downloads – a certain indication of consideration in the automotive industry. Beyond smashing the business objectives set for the campaign, we also managed to drive large scale awareness and engagement on social media with over 4.5million impressions and 500.000 likes and comments. The spots were fully booked within two weeks, compelling us to re-negotiate with landowners to extend the duration of the campaign in order to meet the huge demand. The campaign got exposure both on local news sites and in industry press, pointing specifically to the effectiveness of the campaign in placing the brand, the product and the solution right at the heart of the community and the brand’s most loyal fans.