By Jennifer Faull, Deputy Editor

February 6, 2017 | 3 min read

After establishing the engineering qualities of its brand over the past 10 years, Skoda is now looking to bolster its perception as a premium brand and its advertising has made a shift to reflect that with a Bradley Wiggins-fronted ad that suggests its drivers – like the cyclist – are ‘driven by something different.’

It’s one of the first campaign to come from Skoda’s UK head of marketing, Kirsten Stagg, since she rejoined from parent company Volkswagen last October. She was first part of the marketing team between 2000 to 2005 when she said the challenge “was to show it made really good quality cars.”

Now, as it focuses on showcasing its premium products, “with more of a design focus,” its ad campaign has shifted from highlighting the form and function of a car to instead the lifestyle of the driver.

“It was about creating something that was different and stood out from automotive category norms. We didn’t want a standard and predictable ad – we’re communicating an attitude and how it connects through to our brand,” said Stagg.

Of course, many of the hallmarks of the classic car advert are there. Beautiful mountain scenery and winding roads but in a 90-second spot, just less than 15-seconds actually show a Skoda car. The rest of the clip is interspersed with Wiggins ascending a hill and flashbacks to his youth and career achievements.

“The storytelling we want to convey is that he’s always made his own choices and that’s the connection we want to make with the car,” added Stagg. “There are people coming to our brand looking for much more aspirational products and we really want to make sure we are connecting with those people.”

The link between Skoda and cycling might on the surface seem an obscure one. However, the car-marque began life as a bicycle maker and continues to use that part of its heritage in marketing decisions, including sponsorship of the Tour de France and the Tour of Britain as well as supporting grassroots cycling clubs.

The Bradley Wiggins activity launched this weekend on TV and in addition is investing in a “premium” cinema package that will see the campaign shown around any films in Oscar contention, such as La La Land and Moonlight.

On social it will be investing budget on pushing behind-the-scenes content created with Wiggins – mainly Facebook and YouTube – but will also be using Instagram for the first time.

“We really like the more premium, visually-led content so we feel like it’s a good fit for this campaign,” said Stagg. “Over the course of the year we’ll be looking at the different formats [on Instagram] and how to use them.”

In another first it will also begin an e-newsletter “which is much more lifestyle led and about engaging with our customers through a lifestyle focus, not just selling cars.”

“We’re also redoing the look of our web and mobile sites to convey this much more aspirational feel,” she said.

Skoda Volkswagen (VW) Marketing

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