Whimsical website from VW focuses on long-term value

With True Life Costs, Volkswagen puts a simple long-term-value message—“To see the big picture, you need to think beyond the one-off purchase price,” as an intro tells us—at the center of a U.K. website that has visitors consider a car’s costs in the wider context of living expenses over a lifetime. That serious-minded calculation is balanced out by whimsy: The setting is an Edward Scissorhands-colored bucolic toy village, and there’s a winking tone, both in the upper-class voiceover and the copy (“The patter of tiny feet is often swiftly followed by the whir-click of the cash machine”).

Part of the automaker’s “Unbelievable value” campaign, the site asks users to choose categories like food and family, house and holiday, then has them move a slider to indicate their spending in various subcategories (e.g., in Education, increasingly costly options include “home schooling,” “posh private lessons” and “off to boarding school”). The Car section asks users to consider purchase price, servicing, efficiency and running cost for Volkswagen’s range. A “cost report” shows average lifetime expenditures based on the user’s responses.

The downturn has forced people to think about each expense—and in many cases to switch to “good enough” products—but not necessarily to take a long-sighted view. Brands that are selling value need to convey ideas like “The number on the price tag might be only half the story” (as VW’s voiceover says)—a basic message, but here nicely integrated into an original, fun-to-use package.


Photo Credit: http://www.truelifecosts.com/

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