Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Co-branding works for me!

I’m sure everyone has seen the Volkswagen commercials promoting the company’s tie-in with First Act guitars, a Boston-based guitar company headquartered on Boylston Street. If you haven’t, here’s the deal: buy a $20,000 Volkswagen, get a $600 guitar.

The guitar is special for a few reasons. First, each one is custom built to match the car it comes with. This includes color coordination, a VIN label, Volkswagen dot inlays and a guitar strap made from a seat belt. Perhaps the coolest feature of the guitars is a built-in preamp which enables the guitar to be plugged into the dashboard of certain Volkswagens and played through the car’s speaker system. (Through a normal amplifier, the preamp adds overdrive, or distortion.)

This promotion has mainly created two things.

  1. The idea that the guitars will become highly collectable
  2. A lot of people with guitars but no desire to play them

The best possible mix of the above two points is an individual who possesses number two and is unaware of number one. I found such a person on Craigslist, sort of. “I bought a new car, and a week later there’s this package at my door,” he told me after I responded to his ad. He was asking $300 for the guitar. “I opened it up, and I was like, huh?” We talked for a while. I told him I loved First Act guitars, that his guitar could possibly become collectable in the future (What would Jesus do? He’d probably play a PRS.) and that I would give him cash. He said he had to think about it now, and that he would call me back. “Me and my big mouth,” I thought.

I stopped looking at pictures of the guitar on the Internet and forgot about hearing back from the guy. A few days later, my phone rings. It was him. “Are you still interested in the guitar?” he asked. I said yes, and he told me he would sell it for $400. I couldn’t complain—they sell on eBay for upwards of $800 currently. When we met and exchanged cash for instrument, I asked why he chose to sell the guitar to me; he must have received a ton of emails. “I did,” he said. “And a few people offered me more money, but you know what?” I gave him a quizzical look. “You were the only person who seemed excited about actually playing the damn thing.” And I must say—it plays great!


At 12:33 PM, Blogger Adam Zand said...

Make sure you bring this axe on the 22nd.

I like the V-dub campaign from Crispin Porter + Bugusky and hope they figure out a way to do a major band tour using cars for amps/speakers.

Better yet they could rip off an idea from VW's glorious advertising history as the company gave the world a Pink Floyd edition Golf in 1994, Rolling Stones 1995 and Bon Jovi edition in 1996.


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