Generation Golf:
How to Define a Target Group for Europe's Most Popular Car 

Sven H. Becker,
Account Planning Director, DDB Needham Worldwide GmbH, Germany
Rolf Dielenschneider,
Head of Marketing Communications, Volkswagen AG, Germany.


In November 1996, DDB Needham was asked to develop an advertising campaign for the launch of the Golf Mark 4 in October 1997. At the time sales of the Golf Mark 3, and all usual market research indicators suggested that the Golf brand was stronger than ever. The data suggested that the launch of a technically improved version of the Golf would be routine, just as the successful launches of the previous versions.

However, with other car brands such as Audi, BMW and Mercedes launching models in the A segment it was also clear that things would not quite be the same in October 1997. In the wake of the new competition, the positioning benchmark of its class was no longer a default for the Mark 4 Golf. A complete re-think of strategy and positioning of the Golf was therefore necessary to ensure the continued success of the Golf.