How car manufactures are winning with Experiential Marketing

Mini Inflatables In a bid to create an emotional connection with consumers, the automotive industry is moving away from traditional television, magazines and billboards to get their hands on non-traditional channels such as experiential, digital and social media.

With cars being such a major investment and an integral part of people’s lives, a positive personal engagement with the vehicle is vital. In the car industry, a great experience is key and there is no better way to achieve this than with real-life, face-to-face marketing.

An article featured at The Telegraph highlights the growth of car brands using experiential marketing as a novel alternative to provide the ultimate customer experience. Indeed, experiential within the automotive industry is the perfect mechanism to promote the performance and features of the car in addition to the company’s values.

Car brands are getting extremely creative in their marketing approach. More and more we’ve been seeing great examples of engaging campaigns to ensure consumers are paying enough attention and getting involved. After all, they are not only selling a product, they are selling a whole complex of feelings, design and experiences that dazzle consumers senses, touch their hearts and stimulate their minds.

In The Telegraph’s article, Kia’s Communications Director Steve Kitson describes the experiential approach as ‘the way ahead to broaden understanding of your brand and turn customer’s interest into commitment’. From the experiential standpoint, in order to replicate the car’s attributes into a real experience, involving consumers on a journey and shaping the whole campaign according to their needs and expectations is a win-win situation.

The British icon of the 1960’s, BMW’s Mini Cooper is an inspiration for the automotive industry, marketed brilliantly with an unconventional smart design, which was revamped over the time. Today, Mini is much more than a car. The brand sells a lifestyle and has developed a massive community of fans and enthusiasts who love getting involved with and accessorising their cars. The distinctive design of the Mini was also converted into lovely inflatables, which we featured on our Celebrating Creativity section.

Hyundai also exemplifies their experiential approach through their campaign ‘New Thinking. New Possibilities’. The brand has taken the 3D projection mapping to another level by hanging a real car off a building and integrating it into an impressive futuristic computerised cityscape. This is a great viral that represents their new positioning by including a physical object, and people, into a projection show and, therefore, making the whole experience more real and engaging.

Getting into the fun factor


Marketing a car doesn’t have to be directly about the vehicle. For some time now, VW has been experimenting a number of viral marketing campaigns to attract attention to their green credentials. We have featured some brilliant examples on our blog such as the Piano Stairs, which was dedicated to promoting an environmental friendly thought and shows that something as simple as fun is a good way to change people’s behaviour for the better.

The Fast Lane Slide was another amazing viral campaign dedicated to everyone who loves to speed things up. These stunts by Volkswagen are great examples of its grass roots experiential initiative labeled as The Fun Theory, which encourage consumers to engage with the brand, while demonstrating the company’s value through a fun experience.

Other car brands are also getting great results in maintaining a relationship with consumers who already bought into the brand. Last year, Nissan ran a cheeky guerrilla campaign in Dubai to promote their new Nissan Patrol SUV. They went round car parks “parking in” other SUV’s leaving a note on the windscreen explaining they had to run, but feel free to move the car. This is a great example of ambush forcing people to unknowingly take a test drive of the new car and encourage them to contact the dealership for a real one. Over 78% of people signed up after the accidental test drive.

Outdoor adventures


Here at Hotcow, we love when brands create amazing real-life experiences tapping into the online communities to build up great brand advocates. The American car brand Dodge had encouraged people to embrace a real-life scavenger hunt for a chance to win a car. Within the tagline ‘you find it, you keep it’, Dodge had hidden three Journey crossovers across America in the West, Midwest and East. On their Youtube channel, people could find a series of video clues and embark on a real-life journey to find one of the three hidden cars.

Similarly, VW’s Golf have turned a Norway road into a real time game of roulette using Google Maps and Streetview to promote the new Golf with BlueMotion technology. VW encouraged Facebook users to bet on how far can a Golf run with one full tank of fuel. The closest guess would win the car. Challenging people to engage with the brand and offer a chance to win a car is a great way to showcase new models and create an emotional connection with less affluent consumers, turning them into great brand advocates.

In the automotive industry, it is always important for car manufactures to ultimately build a lifetime brand loyalty by meeting the needs of consumers at different life stages. Having a strong online presence is paramount to ensure that consumers can get involved and you can hear what they have to say. Furthermore, creating a emotional bond with younger consumers who are constantly connected to social networks will pay off in the long term as their incomes grow and their affluence rises.

Hotcow is a multi-award winning Experiential Marketing agency. We get brands in front of consumers in ways that persuade them to buy. We fully implement our ideas; nothing needs to be farmed out. For more information or free consultation, contact us.

Leave a Reply