5 Outstanding Automotive Advertising Campaigns

The automotive industry is definitely resourceful when it comes to advertising campaigns. From best-selling cars to complete failures, vehicles do enjoy advertiser’s attention. And since the rise of social media and online marketing, the channels used changed as well. While in the past we were invaded by print advertising materials, digital content is leading the game today. Some brands successfully capture the soul of their products, while others make us wonder if the campaign is a real one. Brands today want to turn heads and “wow” their audience and, why not, competition. Success stories or not, below are some of the most eye-catching and attention-grabbing advertising campaigns we witnessed in the past few years.


#1. Citroën’s “Design Your Own Car” Campaign

In collaboration with Brandwidth Group, Citroën approaches the process of purchasing a new vehicle with the consumer in mind. You don’t always love the specifications, when you do, the colour is completely wrong, and the process is a hassle, overall. The Citroen C1 Connexion was just about to meet this desire.

Through the group’s first crowdfunded car, this is what the manufacturer wanted to allow the consumer to do: create and design a vehicle, with the perfect leg room, cup holder number, and virtually adjust all specifications to their own needs. Through a Facebook campaign, the two collaborators decided to let the brand’s fans choose how their next vehicle should look like and what specifications it should feature.

The results were, in fact, great. The number of sales went through the roof, while their social media engagement rates also increased significantly. The campaign translated in 500 real car sales, which was unexpected at that time, not to mention the buzz that surrounded the campaign.

#2. Nissan and their “Batmobile” version

If you’re a car manufacturer and you want to impress your customers, what do you do? You make your latest vehicle model sound incredibly thrilling by associating it with the Batman image. The 2012 Nissan Juke model enjoyed a similar approach, and the audience seemed more than thrilled about this. The timing was also great, as the “Dark Knight Rises” launched that year. While this is a very straightforward collaboration and approach, the strategy enjoyed quite some popularity. More than 200,000 social media users got involved in promoting the new model. The strategy increased Nissan’s sales for the Juke model and contributed to boosting the manufacturer’s revenue. The whole idea was a product of the collaboration between Nissan and Manning Gottlieb OMD.

This is proof that, sometimes, simple campaigns can work wonders for customer engagement and profits.

#3. Ford Fusion got a role in “New Girl”

Social media and TV series go hand in hand, and Ford seems to be fully aware of this.

Well, product placement is an age-old advertising practice, but let’s be honest: it’s not always effective, nor is it creative. But when Ford got a role in the New Girl TV series, things were about to change. The “plot’s” development was the following: someone mentioned the brand; then, we see the car – a stunning Ford Fusion; then, one of the characters, sort of used the car. Cece, the character in discussion, was expected to go to work – as a model for the Ford Fusion new model. The only “problem” was that she was under influence, after attending a birthday party. The whole scene ends with a slight parody of the brand, by the brand. But we don’t want to spoil that part for you, so you can read more about it here. The important thing that you should know is that the sales for the Fusion model increased by 6% after the episode was aired, in November 2012. Needless to say, the section was shared on social media obsessively over the following months. Maybe this motivated some of the buyers to also buy car insurance policies, with additional personal injury packages, but we’ll never know for sure.

#4. Toyota’s Pinterest-worthy photo albums

If you consider the fact that Pinterest is a female-oriented platform, you might wonder how smart was Toyota’s decision to advertise their new vehicles through it. Surprisingly, Toyota USA managed to put together an album that is truly worthy of everybody’s attention. The account is a lot of fun to look at, and most importantly, it features some incredible shots of perfectly polished Toyotas, fresh out of the factory’s gates. This is a great and effective way to boost customer engagement, after all!

#5. Chevrolet and Vine Advertising Videos

While Chevrolet is not the first company to use Vine for promotional and advertising purposes, it certainly took the game at a whole new level. The manufacturer’s Ice Box was promoted through Vines that showed how the Ice Box was created. While this was a good campaign, the company could have used the traditional YouTube, instead of Vimeo clips. The content was informative, but it lacked creativity. And this isn’t what you expect from the brand with the “Excellence for Everyone” slogan.

And because this there are some poor approaches to advertising and we don’t see some automotive manufacturers go home with any Grammy soon, here is an example of a poor marketing decision.

If you’re a car enthusiast, you most certainly know how big Fiat is in the industry. The only downside is, the company isn’t doing very well. In fact, across the USA, only 43,000 units were sold back in 2013, out of the 100,000 units target.

The social team from North America thought that creating the “Fiat song” was a brilliant idea. The collaboration between Pitbull and Arianna. This was a failure, for sure.

The automotive industry is quite creative when it comes to advertising methods, both online and offline. The teams these companies usually collaborate with incredible advertising agencies, and this is easily noticeable. While there are certain success stories, push some boundaries and you won’t receive any public recognition.

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