Amarok turns test drives into uplift­ment

The Witness - Wheels - - INNOVATION -

THE Volk­swa­gen Amarok So­cial Test Drive har­nesses the good­will of South Africans with rou­tine test drives to de­liver books to ru­ral schools.

Volk­swa­gen’s Tar­ryn Knight says the world- first idea “clev­erly con­nects our need to demon­strate the heavy work that the Amarok is ca­pa­ble of do­ing of­froad and our coun­try’s need to de­liver sup­plies to in­ac­ces­si­ble places.

“Most tri­als of our one- ton pick- up take place in a tarred ur­ban en­vi­ron­ment while there are thou­sands of or­gan­i­sa­tions and com­mu­ni­ties which are in des­per­ate need of a pick- up to make ur­gently needed de­liv­er­ies”.

Ogilvy & Mather Cape Town’s Ni­cholas Wit­ten­berg says the chal­lenge was to find a way to con­nect the driv­ers with the de­liv­er­ies.

“We be­gan on a small scale by us­ing so­cial me­dia sourced en­tries for a dig­i­tally- based com­pe­ti­tion to find five So­cial Test Driv­ers for a pre­de­ter­mined cause”.

This re­sulted in 6 000 text books be­ing de­liv­ered to a school in Kwa- Zulu Natal, 10 sewing ma­chines and 423 me­ters of fab­ric go­ing to the East­ern Cape, 10 boxes of sta­tionery and a fur­ther 41 boxes of books be­ing de­liv­ered to schools in KwaZulu- Natal and 35 boxes of cat food and 12 boxes of dog food be­ing de­liv­ered to an­i­mal shel­ters in the West­ern Cape.

Ni­cholas Wit­ten­berg says the ini­tial pro­gramme demon­strated the vi­a­bil­ity and the ap­petite for the con­cept and “we now have a mas­sive vision for it as the deal­er­ships are start­ing to con­nect with lo­cal or­gan­i­sa­tions that they can sup­port on a reg­u­lar ba­sis with ev­ery Amarok test drive”.

Amarok So­cial Test Drives are also be­ing de­ployed to meet im­me­di­ate crises. Op­er­a­tion Hy­drate ap­proached Volk­swa­gen to de­liver four, one- ton loads of fresh wa­ter bot­tles to Senekal in the ru­ral Free State in the midst of the worst drought the area has seen in decades.

Tar­ryn Knight says the upsi- des for the Amarok deal­er­ships are clear; “they con­trib­ute to their com­mu­ni­ties, give po­ten­tial buy­ers a true test of the ve­hi­cles ca­pa­bil­i­ties and leave those po­ten­tial buy­ers feel­ing like they’ve made a mean­ing­ful dif­fer­ence in the lives of oth­ers.

“That is what Amarok and the Volk­swa­gen brand are all about”.

Ni­cholas Wit­ten­berg be­lieves the power of the idea lies in its scal­a­bil­ity; “there’s no rea­son why ev­ery Amarok Dealer around the globe can’t do this quickly and eas­ily which means there is a huge up­side for ‘ de­liv­er­ing’ so­cial goods”.

To par­tic­i­pate, visit www.so­cial­test­drive.co.za

PHOTO: SUP­PLIED

An Amarok on a typ­i­cal route in ru­ral South Africa, de­liv­er­ing much ap­pre­ci­ated sup­plies as part of a unique test drive pro­gramme.

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