According to Catherine Woolfe, communications manager for Golf at Volkswagen, the online-led advertising model could change the way the company promotes its cars.
'Conventionally it is assumed that TV is needed to generate the desire and buzz for a major model launch,' she said. 'But we believe online can achieve that and drive pre-order sales.'
A microsite developed by Tribal DDB will feature a 3-D virtual GTI. These will be the first images of the car prior to its trade unveiling at the Paris Motor Show at the end of September. The site will enable buyers to choose options such as colour and trim to start the order process.
The site will be promoted via email and direct activity, promotions at the flagship Volkswagen website and a consumer PR campaign.
The campaign aims to sign up 3500 people to pre-order. Nigel Palmer, account director at Tribal DDB, said: 'Four out of five car buyers use the web as part of their research and decision process.'