Volkswagen True Life Costs website

Campaign: True Life Costs


Agency: Tribal DDB UK





Volkswagen has one of the highest levels of brand consideration in its sector of the market, but many people still believe they’re expensive. Volkswagen’s current price position is actually the best it’s been since the 1990s. For example a Golf is, over three years, up to 14% cheaper to run than the competition.





To address the misconception that the car brand is expensive by creating a website that provides an engaging, easy to understand analogy of Volkswagen’s impressive ‘whole life costs’ affordability.

Volkswagen price their cars to be competitive at purchase, but when you investigate the costs involved with owning a car, Volkswagen become even more competitive. This is called ‘Whole Life Costs’, a calculation based on the original purchase price, servicing bills, running costs and resale value.





The ‘True Life Costs’ website aims to show that the little things really do add up over the months and years, and that Volkswagen understand this. For example, what if your choice of daily sandwich affected where you could afford to go on holiday? This led to the big question: What will your whole life cost you?

To tackle this pretty scary question, Tribal DDB UK created a miniature representation of life; a model village populated by tiny, stop motion-animated inhabitants. One key element was how the quality of the online experience would be taken to reflect the quality of the cars. It had to be solid and well designed, without losing any of the playful and tactile art direction that makes it accessible. The vista was shot using a tilt-shift style to exaggerate the small scale feel. Multiple camera passes allowed the agency to incorporate the streets and buildings into an interactive environment. As visitors explore they’re encouraged to re-evaluate their living and domestic decisions and ultimately calculate their ‘Total Life Cost’.  Ordinary costs are put under the microscope as visitors contemplate the value of their choices and are encouraged to share and compare their often surprising Cost Report with their friends on Facebook.

The website was promoted through a number of channels including: Online ads, inserts in nationals, offsite engagement platforms and PR.




The campaign generated interactions with over 200,000 people within the 3 month campaign period and on average each person spent 3 or more minutes. People are using it, playing with it, every day. Those people take away the key message about Volkswagen value and hopefully get an insight into the way everything adds up over time.