VW begins polling everyone... about everything

Volkswagen knows that 73% of the people want to take the tiny soap and shampoo from hotel rooms. They also know that 60% of ice cream buyers prefer cones over cups. On an apparent quest to learn everything, Volkswagen's just-announced multi-faceted polling effort, known as It's what the people want, "...is a way of keeping in touch with what matters to people today," according to Tim Ellis, Vice President of Marketing for VW of America.

In addition to the web-based polling, VW has also taken their efforts to Times Square where consumers may participate in live-polling, via text SMS, with the ABC Supersign (pictured above). If music is more your style, VW is also encouraging people to visit pandora to influence the playlists of two Volkswagen radio stations. While we endorse any effort by an automaker to understand what the public really wants, this obsession to learn everything may have gone too far. We just can't seem to overlook the notion that while Volkswagen accepts the fact that 65% of the people want boxers, not briefs, they still haven't fully grasped the concept that we also want the new Scirocco on our shores. Where's that poll?

[Source: Volkswagen]


Consumers hit the polls on the Internet and Times Square to share their opinions

AUBURN HILLS, Mich. - Volkswagen of America, Inc. announced today a multi- faceted national polling effort to find out exactly what the people want. Utilizing media, technology and user-generated content like never before, the campaign allows consumers to engage in live online and mobile polling. A real-time mouthpiece of the people's collective voice, user-generated live polling begins at the hub site, vw.com/whatthepeoplewant, and then spreads across the web and in-market. The initiative is part of Volkswagen's new global brand platform, Das Auto, and underscores its fundamental message of It's what the people want.

"Volkswagen has a rich heritage as part of American popular culture and a deep personal connection with its customers," says Tim Ellis, Vice President of Marketing for Volkswagen of America, Inc. " It's what the people want is a way of keeping in touch with what matters to people today. Through this campaign, we offer a unique way for consumers to interface with the brand by providing an interactive platform for their thoughts and opinions to be seen and heard on a global stage."

To launch the polling initiative, Volkswagen teamed with GfK Roper Public Affairs & Media to take a reading of popular opinion from a representative national sample. Among the findings, Volkswagen found that six in ten (62%) Americans believe that people should not have to use their real names on Internet social networking sites despite heightened attention to online safety; a majority (52%) of Americans do not want restaurants to change their portion sizes in the face of a movement towards better health and well being; and in a world where creating balance between work and personal life is a priority, a resounding 85% of Americans say that people should not be allowed to bring their pets to work.

With total votes to date exceeding 666,375 Volkswagen's interactive polling program has produced interesting questions and findings on timely issues in current events, lifestyle trends and social behavior - ranging from the everyday to the quirky. The following is a sampling of results from the top 20 most-voted on polls, which received 4,865 votes each on average.

The most-voted on poll, reaching 12,253 votes, shows that 73% of people want to take the tiny soap and shampoo bottles from hotel rooms. Maybe ice cream vendors already know this, but 60% of people vote for cones more than cups. The people are speaking out against reality television, with 87% of people wanting fewer reality shows.
65% of the people want boxers not briefs.

Consumers can participate in live polling by visiting vw.com/whatthepeoplewant, where Max, a classic talking Beetle and the new brand spokesman, will invite them to share what it is the people want. Visitors can click to see the real time results of an array of popular opinion polls, vote "yes" or "no" on a variety of topics, share polls with friends, and even suggest new additional polls. By clicking "wear this poll," people can purchase customizable t-shirts displaying polls of their choice and who submitted it, thus giving people instant street fame.

The most active polls will have an opportunity to gain visibility on an even larger scale. Volkswagen recently unveiled an interactive display in Times Square where consumers can participate in live polling through the ABC SuperSign. Volkswagen is the first brand to utilize the ABC SuperSign's "live interactivity" technology, which allows two- way dialogue with passersby via SMS. Located at 43rd and Broadway, the SuperSign is a live 3685 square foot electronic screen featuring Max and generating questions from the database of polls hosted on vw.com/whatthepeoplewant. Consumers can use their cell phones to text message "yea" or "nay" in response to polls that appear on the SuperSign. Through innovative WAP technology, their texted votes will stream live on a lower news ticker.

Poll results will also be dynamically displayed via web banners after any poll reaches 1000 votes. These banners will be displayed across the web in topically relevant places, such as near a news article that relates to the poll's subject.

If music is more your speed, consumers can visit pandora.com from now through May 9, 2008 to collectively influence the playlists of two Volkswagen radio stations called "Music for the People." Listeners can vote for which artists they want to hear, and Pandora will generate all the requests into a truly democratic playlist.
For more information or to participate in polls, please visit vw.com/whatthepeoplewant.

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