Marketing Game Changers 2022: Volkswagen‘s Anja Petrovski

Marketing & PR director, Volkswagen Middle East

Years in current position: 2

Years with company: 10

Size of department: 10+

Previous jobs

Marketing communications senior manager, VW ME

Brand communications manager, VW ME

Associate account director, Memac Ogilvy

Recent campaigns

Despite the semiconductor crisis it’s still been a busy year for Volkswagen in the Middle East. We successfully launched two new products in 2022: the all-new Golf R and the redesigned T-Roc. We also did a brand campaign that focused on Volkswagen’s key attributes of comfort, design, safety and technology. We did this in partnership with Google to test if gender and age bias exists in advertising, and the impact this has on campaign metrics. For after sales, an often overshadowed area of the automotive business, we did our first ever TikTok campaign in collaboration with the brand, designed around the trend of ASMR. 

What is your objective in your current role?

For the marketing at Volkswagen to work cohesively when it comes to both brand and sales. Yes, marketing needs to support sales in the lower funnel, but this shouldn’t overshadow brand advertising. My goal is to make sure VW walks this fine line so we continue to address KPIs for both brand and sales. 

Do you have a guiding principle? 

Yes, I have always believed in ‘Love what you do and success will follow’. This is what I apply both in and out of my professional career.

How do you make agency relationships work? 

Firstly and most importantly, trust. We need to remember that we employed these agencies for a reason and we need to trust in them, trust that they have the best intentions for our brand and trust the work they are doing. In addition to this, I think agency communication is super important. I don’t mean just emails, phone calls and status meetings but communicating with everyone as they are part of our team so we all work together cohesively. 

Who inspires you professionally? 

Women, particularly women who successfully navigate being a mother, wife and leader. Elda Choucair is a real inspiration to me. I look up to her as a mother and leader, and for her loyalty and career progression within Omnicom.  

What is the biggest challenge in marketing at the moment? 

Trends to invest only in bottom-of-the-funnel, especially with sales targets or budget cuts. As marketers we need to remember the value of the brand and make sure that marketing works to support the brand as well as sales.

What is the next big opportunity in marketing? 

The metaverse.

What can we expect to see from you and your brand in the next year? 

Continued partnerships, continuation of brand and tactical advertising and some new and exciting products. Stay tuned.

Recent achievements

There has been a lot to celebrate this year. Firstly, sales records. This year we smashed our own records with our best sales month in over 80 months and the highest month of Teramonts sold since its market launch in 2018. In addition to this, we did this while sustaining and improving our brand metrics like awareness and first-choice across the region. None of this work could have been possible without the people in the VW marketing team and our agency partners, who I am glad to say have all stayed with VW this past 12 months and will continue into 2023. 

Rapid fire


  • What are you working on?
    Lots of exciting things.
  • Who are you following?
    Female leaders.
  • What are you craving?
    Mom’s homemade Serbian food.
  • Who are you hiding from?
  • What app are you glued to?
  • What are you playing?
    Self-help books on Audible.
  • What are you listening to?
    Self-help books on Audible. 
  • What are you reading?
    Self-help books on Audible.
  • What are you watching?
    Anything horror, the scarier the better .
  • Where are you travelling?
    Anywhere with a beach.
  • What is your good habit?
    Good listener.
  • What is your bad habit?
    After I have listened to you, talking to you too loudly.

Agency reference

Simon Ashwin, Chief digital & client officer, Middle East & Africa, Cheil

The pandemic brought with itself many uncertainties and didn’t mirror its impact from one industry to another. For the automotive industry, owing to the disruption in supply chain, it meant that Anja and the regional marketing team had to go back to the drawing board and rewrite the syllabus, as there would be no new models to launch. This meant doubling down on consumers with data-driven insights that resulted in an incredibly successful brand attribute campaign deployed across the region. Relying heavily on research, Anja’s team found a gap and shifted the narrative to focus more on brand over the product to solidify the foundation with a focus on Volkswagen’s quality, comfort, technology and safety. As the supply challenges begin to abate, the Volkswagen brand is now in an even stronger position and capitalising on foot traffic to dealerships.

It’s very hard to pick one collaboration I’m most proud of, from Disney, LEGO, Carpool Karaoke and more, but I would say the T-Roc launch tops the list. We identified a female Saudi gamer and built a story around her to push for locally relevant content that engaged a new and emerging audience for the brand. 

Anja is articulate, and very focused, authentic in her approach, inclusive and very much a team player who energises and motivates. 

From her, I have learned to build a strong, resilient team that keeps itself motivated and works cohesively towards the same goal, bringing a diverse range of agencies into the fold and giving them a seat at the marketing communications table.