So it would seem there's a new bandwagon when it comes to online auto promotion. You have a new model coming out and the done thing is to get the public to review your new car and offer them a chance to win one. Simple enough. So.....
To the best of my knowledge the first major promotion of this type was done by Ford. Either their German, US or British Fiesta campaigns (I'm not entirely sure which got there first), followed shortly afterwards by their US Mustang 2010 campaign. More recently Toyota Ireland also followed suit with a similar style campaign. And the next folks (pardon the terrible pun) joining the party are Volkswagen. In an somewhat similar format to the other campaigns, Volkswagen are searching the digital sphere to find: The People's Reviewer.
So if all these campaigns are so similar why would I bother writing about it? Well to be honest, with the exception of the Mustang 2010 campaign, Volkswagen are (IMHO) going about this far better then anyone else. The campaign, developed for Volkswagen by Tribal DDB London, utilises a simpler yet far more rewarding mechanic then any of the other European examples.
VW asked the public to submit 'audition' videos (via YouTube) about why they should be chosen to test drive, review and comment on the new VW Tiguan. The campaign was promoted through a number of Social Media channels including Twitter, YouTube, Facebook and Flickr. Essentially the promotion was designed to drive as much user-generated online / digital buzz around the Tiguan.
Over 1,000 people created and submitted audition videos, and the next step was to narrow this down to nine reviewers. These nine reviewers were then given a Tiguan for a week. During the that week they had to shoot a short video review of the car. These videos are then all voted on by a public vote and the the highest number of votes gets to drive away a new Tiguan. The campaign itself is setup through a series of three heats. Three reviewers per heat, with one person going through to a final three person finale. These three then compete for the new car.
Interestingly VW also took the very smart direction of teaching the contestants how they could best build followers and win votes, through Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and Flickr.
So what have they achieved so far? Well there's over a 1,000 youtube videos all tagged up for the Tiguan. There are numerous FlickR! albums, blogs and Tweets, all talking about the Tiguan. Ultimately they all link back to both the VW site and campaign microsite. Achievement: more rich online content then you could ever hope to generate through non-social channels. Also consider the cost implications - aside from they agency (management and development) costs, some PPC (I would hope) and a small amount of social ads - they give away a car, at cost. So basically, this was a seriously cheap campaign for the results it has already achieved.
Of course you're probably thinking that this all counts for little if the voting element doesn't draw a lot of attention. Solution, there are also a huge stock of prizes for voters including an extended three-month Tiguan test drive and holidays (including trips to Bath, Venice and London).
Tribal DBB commented on the campaign, saying "The journey has had us meet some crazy characters like Dirk the artistic knitter/busker/crime novelist with outsized hair and Johnny, a gregarious import/exporter who towed a Winnebago plus a van and two mini race cars all in one go. We think it's a great campaign that combines social media with an offline experience while bolstered by a traditional media spend."
This is the promotional video that VW/Tribal DDb created for the campaign...
Another recent campaign from Tribal DDB can be found here.