We live in the age of two realities - digital and corporeal. Gleaming campaigns behind LCD screens and social media marketing have seeped into the pores of every imaginable industry. The automotive industry is no different in this regard, though it is notorious for its stubborn refusal to keep up the pace. If you are a marketing manager or an entrepreneur involved with a vehicular brand, you can find inspiration and plenty to learn from these shiny examples of brilliant automotive marketing campaigns.
Ford is one of those long-lasting automotive companies that are, in many ways, a living marvel. It has managed to survive pretty much anything economic fluctuations have thrown its way, proving time and time again that it is a colossus to be contended with. Naturally, the crucial cornerstone of Ford’s formidability lies in the company’s open-mindedness to roll with the times.
This flexibility came to the forefront with the ‘Try More’ campaign which was advertised over TV networks, word of mouth, and, of course, social media. Ford hosted impressive live events across Canada. These served as a jolly playground for customers that enjoyed carnivalesque activities such as mechanical bull riding, ax throwing, and MMA fighting. One of the leading features of the event was the display of Ford cars that all consumers could inspect and test drive.
Making changes to improve vehicle detail pages is a crucial aspect of marketing, but it will only get you so far. You have to look beyond mere technicalities. Embrace the futurism. Cars and engineering are all about innovation and peaking ahead of the curve, so your marketing campaign should be imbued with a sense of progress.
Buzzwords such as AI, sensors, and eco-friendly are all the rage now, and Lexus knew exactly what they were doing with their ‘Driven by Intuition’ campaign. They tapped into this sense of progressing technology with sleek aesthetics and the eclectic model of the finest form against a natural background.
But what if we told you that the ‘screenplay’ for this campaign was actually conceived by the AI? The narrative puts utilitarianism to the forefront, as Lexus ES successfully passes the crash test with the application of its emergency braking system. Check it out and be inspired!
As has been implied in the introduction, social media is everything today. Effective content marketing campaigns that harness the power of social media and trending can be a goldmine of opportunities, and Mazda recognized this with their ‘Sound of Tomorrow’ campaign.
The famed car brand partnered up with Tomorrowland, one of the world’s biggest music festivals (not to be confused with Disney’s amusement park ride or 2015 film). Then the creative team did something completely outlandish: they built a gigantic record player and actually used Mazda MX-5 instead of an appropriately gigantic needle to recreate a song by Lost Frequencies. The ensuing online competition awarded the first individual who recognized the song, ‘Reality’, with the tickets to the festival. If that’s not an ‘out of the box’ racy campaign for you, hardly anything else will inspire you.
Yes, you’ve read it right - Porche tapped into the latest tech trends to come up with the amazing VR experience for Panamera 4 (should we even mention that the car is e-friendly?). The users of a VR app had a comprehensive overview of the ‘making of’ and behind the scenes in a full 360° experience, which also included the filming process. It was practically a Christmas gift for car lovers that like to peek ‘under the hood’, and it’s a truly modern piece of marketing with, dare we say it, postmodern appeal.
Of course, not everyone has the VR technology necessary for the experience, so Porsche's brilliant marketing team shared branded and limited edition Google Cardboard viewers. This is an important lesson in marketing that increases sales - be generous!
At a parting glance, #BestDayEver sounds like a misguided attempt of a ‘classic’ Chevy brand to become ‘hip’ with the millennials. While it might have turned out cringe-worthy, the marketing campaign was actually quite successful and it aroused the interest of the target audience. It might have had something to do with the fact that it was launched on April Fools day. So there’s another useful tip - use traditionally popular dates to your advantage!
The campaign involved charming stunts such as Alec Baldwin, masquerading as Abraham Lincoln, appearing in front of the unassuming college class and serving as a substitute teacher. Olivia Wilde, Norman Reedus, Kelly Clarkson, Kid Rock, and many others were also to be found on the impressive list of celebrity participants. Needless to say, it was a gargantuan success that exploded over social media, including 3 million stream views on YouTube for live events hosted by Garfunkel, Oates, and Jon Dore.
No doubt, good ideas are hard to come by. It helps a lot to look up to every successful marketing campaign out there in order to reiterate, modernize, and innovate. There’s absolutely no shame in taking cues from giants of the automotive industry that have managed to make a world of difference with their campaigns. After all, don’t great writers have to read as many novels as possible before they dare to write one themselves, and don’t successful artists have to refer to what came before in order to know where to innovate? Yes, I am making this comparison because there is something undeniably artful about a well-executed automotive marketing campaign!