Be surprised? More like Be Confused! #Fail

VW logo

VW logo

Last week at the Mall of the Emirates in Dubai, there was a mysterious looking stand in the main atrium with a giant block of mud and two people in lab coats kept padding it down and scrapping away at it. I was kind of curious as to what it was so I went and asked them what this big block of mud was doing in the middle of the Mall. They were very secretive saying they are working on molding a vehicle but they wouldn’t say who the manufacturer was, in my mind VW popped up instantly and I’ll explain why later on, below are some pictures I took from the first day:

VW Be surprised Launch campaign

VW - 2 - Be surprised Launch campaign

Now what made instantly recognize that was a campaign for VW was the font ( and the  video playing on the video had the VW feel to it. And this is what happened on the second day I want to check out the stand, the VW logo appeared from nowhere:


VW - 3 - Be surprised launch Day 2
The VW logo appears out of nowhere!

But what was interesting was that the videos looked local, they appeared as to they were shot somewhere in the Middle East. In fact if you take a look at the first image above and pay attention to the image on the TV screen you’ll see palm trees and the black & white painted sidewalks, which prompted me to ask the guys in the lab coats, is this shot here in the UAE? To which they answered that it was shot in the region (Again being very secretive). But I did manage to get some information out of them after a short while of talking to them that it was supposedly a 360 degree campaign specific to the MENA region.  Later on that day I decided to check out the website, I was expecting to see a very flash heavy microsite with animations and designs flying all over the place and a registration box… But I was surprised when I was directed to a facebook page!

There wasn’t much info at the time about the campaign, only some posts about a photo competition where users had to spot the car in the streets take a photo of the car and upload it to the facebook page to get a chance to win it for a year. The photo comptetion was in Amman, Jordan and Abu Dhabi, UAE.

Here’s what I don’t Understand about the campaign (and I was hoping that somebody from VW could help explain but they never got back to me):

  1. If this campaign is about surprising people and not showing us the car and being all secretive about it in the UAE. Why direct users to a page that has the car and people already uploading images of them spotting the car?? I want to get a chance to win, but wait I’m not in Amman or Abu Dhabi!
  2. The page had around 3,000 likes! I don’t understand, apparently 3,000 people liked something even though they didn’t know what it was?!
  3. Facebook is mainly to create a conversation and connect with your audience, but you need some sort of platform to push consumers too or some sort of tool that will help you in increasing your sales, at the minimum collecting some contact information. How does VW plan to gather that information from their facebook page? We have a facebook page, but I can’t contact the people that like the page or send them messages even inside facebook because there are restrictions against doing that.
  4. Also I didn’t see the whole 360 degree attempt. If I hadn’t been passing by in the mall I would have never found out, I didn’t hear any radio ads, see any TV ads or any print or outdoor ads.

To me the campaign was not well thought out through because if the photo-competition wasn’t available in Dubai, why direct users from Dubai to a page that contains a photo-competition they can’t participate in? They could have done so much more but to me this looks like a half a***d attempt at trying to create a 360 degree campaign with a social layer.

What are your thoughts? Do you know anything about the campaign, please let us know.

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Having worked with top digital agencies and companies in the MENA region for the past number of years I'm now looking now to venture on my own with small side projects in online, SaaS products. Things I like include: gaming, sports, technology, social media, start ups, funny things and reading about new bright ideas.