Is automotive marketing experiencing a creative re-birth? Absolutely and all the brilliant examples show that so much more is to come

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Automotive manufacturers have been pushing the creative bar quite significantly over the past years. Clearly the industry has strong creative heritage. We need only remind ourselves of the iconic work done for the Beetle (see “Lemon” ad beside), or more recently the work done for Mini (see here). However, it feels as though there is a creative resurgence in the automotive industry brought on through technology and the rise of experiential marketing. Many manufacturers have fully embraced the vast new opportunities that exist for advertisers – look at Volkswagen (see here and here and here and here), or Mercedes (see here and here and here and here), or Chevy (see here and here). Others have re-built their business around the new socially-driven world – most notably, Ford (see article here).

In order to celebrate the renewed creative muscle of the car industry, I’ve selected a few newly discovered examples from several Brands that show the innovative thinking at work. The work focuses on more tactical and innovative ideas and shows that you don’t have to sacrifice brand love to drive purchase intent or dealer visits.

The first example is from Volkswagen who put together a brilliant stunt for the launch of their Golf R, the fastes Volkswagen ever. The care has incredible power and speed so the Brand hired actors to walk around town in busy areas with mouthpieces that mimicked the the physical effects of G-force. These actors also wore t-shirts hinting at how these people were put into such a state.

The second example is for Land Rover who found a creative way to do a mailing to high-interest customers – they gave a replacement escape of “esc” for their computers. The unique button was in the shape of a Land Rover to constantly remind these people of the benefits of the car. Absolutely genius.

The third example is by Suzuki who partnered with several gas stations to bring to life the fuel efficiency of their new jeep. The stations were changed into Suzuki stations and sold gas for 30 percent less than the standard rates. Genius. (see case here).

The next example is from Jeep who developed a funny promotional adhesive to get people to feel what it is like to own a Jeep. The sticker needed to placed on the side mirrors creating an effect that when you looked at them the background was tilted and more off-road, bringing to life the thrill of the ride in a Jeep. Cute.

The next case study is by Nissan who wanted to get people to test drive its new convertible. Therefore, they found an innovative way of using cinema advertising to have audiences feel the benefit of their convertible experience.

The next example is by Lancia and, like the Golf R example above, wanted to get people to recognise and appreciate the performance and speed of their new car. To do this, they “hijacked” a horse race in Amsterdam. Among the horses they places a few Lancia cars to suggest the power that they had. Unfortunately all the horses were Lancia branded so it was clearly a stunt and thus the power of a pure hijack was a bit lost. Not bad though.

The last example is also by Volkswagen and shows an innovative eDM idea that helped to bring to life all the “hidden” features of their new Golf. Do do so they created an interactive eDM piece targeted at prospect buyers who had provided their email address for information. A simple click of the mouse and all the features where brought to life. Have a look. Very cool.


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