It all started 12 years ago in 2002. The online bubble just exploded and Bild.de was looking for new revenue ideas. Bild.de – now and then Germany’s largest news Web site – came up with several ideas to open up new markets.

One idea became very successful.

We started selling the “Volks-Computer,” meaning a computer affordable for every German household enabling everyone to get access to the Internet and, of course, to Bild.de. The discount computer retailer Plus, which held more than 2,700 outlets in Germany, appeared to be the ideal partner for this project.

The following characteristics made the “Volks-Computer” such a great success:

  • A product made for the masses following current trends.

  • A good value-for-money ratio.

  • Providing add-ons to the advertised product.

In September of 2002, we started a massive advertising campaign in the print title Bild as well as on Bild.de. The computer was sold out within a couple of hours.

Within the subsequent three campaigns in which Bild.de and Plus partnered, more than 120,000 units of computers and laptops were sold to the German population. Plus turned out to be the biggest computer retailer in the fourth quarter of the initial year.

The concept’s main success factors were similar to the ones of the Bild brand itself: being relevant for the masses, having a high credibility potential, and offering the readers an added value. In the following years, we extended the portfolio of advertised products towards cars, insurances, bikes and even paints. There are only few limitations concerning the possible product range. 

One significant strategic change was carried through in 2003. We brought the logo closer to the Bild.de brand and made it a Bild.de look-alike; however, always displaying a combination of “Volks-“ and the product type (e.g. “Volks-Car,” “Volks-Paint,” “Volks-Bike” etc.).

The “Volks-Farbe” cooperation started in 2006. Alpina is Germany’s innovation and market leader in the “do it yourself”-segment, with an extraordinary brand recognition among home improvers. Its well covering white paint “Alpinaweiß” has been the most sold European interior paint for decades.

When launching its first “Volks-Farbe” campaign, Alpina was looking for a mechanics to activate its distribution team and to increase sales figures of the white paint. Thus, a special edition of “Alpinaweiß” was offered at a special price.

The company decided for an obvious add-on: plastic stripes helping to decorate walls. Alpina did a great job displaying the special edition at the DIY markets so consumers would recognise it from the print and online ads.

Even the paint buckets were branded by the “Volks-Farbe” logo. A perfect presentation of the advertised product at the point of sale turned out to be a big advantage to make the campaign a success. 

Since then, we have gained many insights on how the product has to be fitted, i.e. which elements to use at the point of sale and within the advertisements. Further, a famous testimonial used to push the campaign by a positive image transfer proved to be crucial. Sonya Kraus, who used to host a DIY show, was a perfect fit for Alpina’s 2013 campaign. 

Here are some of the lessons we learned from the campaign:

Dos:

  • Create a prominent presentation at the point of sale.

  • Support your partner at all levels.

  • Make selection of a suitable testimonial a priority.

Don’ts: 

  • Go without branding or presentation at the point of sale.

  • Use a non-suitable testimonial or even go without.

  • Spare the exclusive product or price communication.

The “Volks-Produkt” logo is a quality seal for our readers and partners. Therefore, we at Axel Springer Media Impact always take great care not to damage our brand. Within the past 12 years, we realised roundabout 170 partnerships. Through the support of our brand, our partners sold approximately 60 million items of their products with an estimated turnover of €1 billion.

However, it is always important to stay relevant and to keep up with the times. 

This year we introduced new and exclusive ad formats (print and online) that can especially be booked by our “Volks-Produkt” customers. In addition, we now grant a yearly exclusivity for the corresponding product category to avoid wear-out-effects and cannibalism among similar campaigns. All of these renewing measures help us to get into a conversation with our customers.

But even after 12 years, it is first and foremost the strength of our “Volks-” brand that builds the brands.