Volkswagen & Gilt Partner for Charitable Flash Sale

Last week, Gilt Groupe, a member’s only sale site, partnered with Volkswagen for a special sale event like no other. For three days, Gilt offered one 2011 VW Jetta each day to its members for $5,995.

Yup, you read right—there’s a one missing from that price. And according to the VW blog, buyers got an even better deal. Instead of the 2011 Jetta S with an asking price of $15,995, buyers got a loaded (complete with navigation system) Jetta SEL that normally starts at $21,395.

But wait there’s more. All proceeds from the three-day “flash sale” went to the charity Dress For Success, making the sale’s tagline, “Great. For the Price of Good.” incredibly true. Oh, and all three cars came wrapped in Gilt’s signature golden hue.

Needless to say, the cars sold out within seconds on each of the sale days. So with this sale in the past, and a lot of people kicking themselves because their fingers/mouse clicks weren’t fast enough, why was this a genius move for both the Gilt and VW brands?

Well for starters, the first flash sale that took place on December 15 was only available through Gilt’s mobile app, and generated enough buzz around their apps that users were clamoring to download one (I know I did). Once users have the app, Gilt can send push notifications alerting members to new sales and special mobile-only sales. While Gilt didn’t profit directly from the VW sale, the retail site is now in the pockets of more of their users wherever they are, regardless of computer access—and not too far from their wallets.

As for VW, the car brand was able to generate its own amount of good buzz.  Not only did it establish itself as a charitable company, but it also got the 2011 Jetta in consumers’ minds even if they weren’t members on Gilt. While VW only gave away three Jettas, Gilt members could add themselves to the Wait List for a special incentive they could redeem at VW dealerships.

According to The Driver’s Seat, the Wall Street Journal’s auto blog, the sale is part of the car company’s strategy to gain visibility among buyers who thought VW to be too expensive. The Jetta’s everyday low price is hoping to compete against other economy cars that used to undercut the Jetta by several thousand dollars.

What really made this sale so successful was not just that it was a three-day flash sale, or that it was for a good cause, or that it generated a lot of buzz around the Jetta and Gilt’s mobile app. What made it so successful was that it was all of those things rolled into one neat, Gilt-wrapped package. The sale drove people to learn more about the charity, download the Gilt app, and to their local VW dealership to find out more about this fancy new Jetta.

What more can you ask for in a marketing campaign?

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