The automotive industry is expected to increase spending on digital advertising from $13.57 billion in 2018 to $15.65 billion in 2019. With so much spending on digital advertising, there’s scope for some amazing, creative campaigns.

At a loss for how to attract new customers? Let these 5 unique automotive digital marketing campaigns inspire you to create something eye-catching.

1. Ford Mustang

Here’s the setup. You’re an up-and-coming male actor. Your agency sends you to a meeting with the star of a new dating show.

The star turns out to be a beautiful young woman and the meeting is going well. She invites you to take a drive in her hot, red Ford Mustang. So far, everything looks good and you’re having a wonderful day.

This is the scenario faced by a number of actors recruited for this Valentine’s Day promotion. The video prank was dubbed “Speed Dating” and its impact turns on the prejudicial view that women aren’t great drivers. It turns out that in this case, she is an amazing stunt driver.

Once you take your seat your driver treats you to the most hair raising, drive of your life. She accelerates, turns, spins, and the exciting ride fills the air with burning rubber.

One of the actors must have winced when he saw the completed video. He actually asks the stunt prankster if she wants him to drive the car. The reply is a simple “no”, as she puts her foot to the floor.

To be fair most of the young male actors seem to enjoy the experience. The actors are thrown about but survive unscathed. The video campaign quickly went viral.

2. Toyota Prius

When millennials are buying a car, they have a lot to consider. Of course, like any car buyer, they need to think about features and benefits but Toyota felt they had some special needs.

Millennials may be great research skills but there’s so much information out there, Toyota felt they could help.

Millennials have concerns about the environment. Their world is tech-enabled. They may not be experienced at buying a car.

Toyota launched the Prius c, using a YouTube channel that they called the Game of Life. This interactive digital and video content provided help with negotiating, form filling, technical information and more.

Hybrid engines were demystified helping confirm Toyota’s ecological credentials. Bluetooth was explained for millennials who would appreciate the way it integrated their car with the essential digital tools of their lifestyle.

The campaign acknowledges the balance that 20 and 30 somethings are seeking behind career and lifestyle, coffee culture and ethics. The car with the answers, according to Toyota, is the Prius c.

3. Ford Canada

Ford in Canada had redesigned its family of vehicles but they had a challenge. How could they get the Canadian car buyer to give them a try? The answer was to encourage them to try out much more than a new car.

The launch of the family of Ford cars was an important strategic step. Previously to the 2015 launch of the new look Ford family, each of the cars looked like they were from different families. The Mustang, Focus, and Fusion were distant cousins at best.

Unifying the brand in this way was intended to associate the cache of the Mustang with the less impressive Focus, Fusion, and Fiesta. A good strategy but one that needed communicating effectively. The aim was to get the Canadian consumer to give Ford a try knowing that they wouldn’t be disappointed.

The campaign consisted of live events where people could “Try More”. Consumers could try a range of new things including creative art projects, live music performance, and ax throwing. At each of the live events, there was also an opportunity to test drive a new Ford.

The “Try More” live events provided great content for social media and there was also a 30 second commercial and digital display. According to Peter Jansen, Ford of Canada’s director of marketing, the campaign is a long-term project.

4. BMW 1 Series

Engaging your customers is one of the challenges of digital marketing. There’s so much content out there, how do you break through the noise? BMW has done it with a neat microsite solution.

The microsite allows users to upload images through Facebook. The images of buildings are then arranged to form a portrait. The images appear to make up a cityscape and a portrait at the same time.

Once created, the city streets are explored by a BMW 1 Series car. Users can engage friends by tagging landmarks which their friends can then visit. As their friends are involved then also can create cities representing a face and the network continues to grow.

A great example of consumer engagement, branding, and in-your-face digital marketing.

5. Chevy Sonic

Chevy had done some serious work on the engineering of the Chevy Sonic. They felt that they needed to respond to customer demand for better fuel economy and improved safety. The time for launch came in 2014 and some creative thought was put into digital marketing.

Safety and economy are important but they are difficult concepts to work with when you want to create some excitement. Chevy came up with an ingenious solution.

They got some celebrities with reputations for fun and excitement to perform stunts in the new more economical and safer Sonic! For example, Rob Drydek performed a kickflip, turning the car through 360 degrees. He may be a professional skateboarder but he was an amateur driver.

Within 4 months of the Sonics launch, the number of shoppers on websites had increased by three and a half times before any traditional advertising. The digital campaign had paved the way for a triumphant Super Bowl commercial based on the stunts. 

Creative Automotive Digital Marketing

With so much competition, these examples of creative automotive digital marketing have broken through. They grab the attention and imagination of their target audience effectively. Take inspiration from their success.

Learn how to use digital marketing to drive visitors to your website.

Digital Marketer

Will Peters Digital Marketer

A digital marketing innovator with a passion for building the most effective sales & marketing campaigns.