Volkswagen is launching the new GTI model with a singularly focused marketing strategy: an iPhone racing game app.  The carmaker says the move is as much a consideration of reaching its target audience as it is rooted in cost-efficiency.  Writing for Ad Age, Kunur Patel and Jean Halliday point out how the carmaker spent $60 million on the launch for GTI’s 2006 model, a far cry from the budget for an iPhone app.  Cost was such a factor in the new launch that VW even licensed the racing game engine from an iPhone developer.

The Ad Age writers consider VW’s decision from a quantifiable standpoint.  The more than 50 million iPhone and iPod Touch users represent a bigger potential audience than the biggest network TV shows, and a potentially better targeted one for who VW is trying to reach.  Yet a viral and PR only campaign to get one app noticed among the estimated 65,000 in Apple’s App Store might pose a challenge.  Patel and Halliday break down the carmaker s campaign and talk to analysts about the opportunity cost of VW’s approach.

Read more at Ad Age {link no longer active}.