Chevrolet Promo, Case study DRIVE-THRU FINALS WITH CHEVY by Weber Shandwick New York

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Industry Cars
Media Promo & PR, Case study
Market United States
Agency Weber Shandwick New York
Account Supervisor Kathleen Bush
Released March 2011

Credits & Description

Category: Automotive and Transport
Product/Service: CHEVROLET
Group Manager: Dave Barthmuss (General Motors)
Account Supervisor: Kathleen Bush (Weber Shandwick)
Media placement: Integrated Grassroots - Fortune Magazine, Press Enterprise, Fox News, Campus Newspapers - 9-10 March 2011

Summary of the Campaign
After decades of losing ground to foreign auto brands, GM found they’d lost the trust and confidence of a generation of consumers. Following the contentious auto industry bailouts, GM needed to win back the hearts and minds of a whole new generation of drivers. For the Chevrolet brand, GM connected directly with the most trendsetting, modern consumer segment – college students – to introduce a new line of cool, eco-friendly cars and change the perception that Chevy was just about trucks.

'Drive-Thru Finals with Chevy' is a grassroots, campus-based, ride-along event that increased engagement and purchase consideration.

By partnering with influential on-campus student organisations to co-brand, promote and host the events, GM stayed in-step with student interests, communications, and social media channels during campus final exam weeks. Message penetration was ensured by providing students and media with the online and offline content and tools necessary to spread the brand and experience stories.

To date, approximately 5,000 students have ridden in Chevrolet vehicles. Through campus outreach and social media, Chevy reached 156,000 students on-the-ground; 50,000 on Twitter; and through national, local and campus media, generated more than 9m impressions. Additionally, by handing out Flip Camcorders during the drives, GM enabled students to create their own content that resulted in more than 70 original online videos literally singing Chevy’s praises across the web. Branded photo booths also encouraged sharing and posting of content. on the students own network. In the end, 2011 vs 2010 year over year sales were up 29.36%.

The Situation
Following one of the most controversial periods in American auto industry history – the General Motors bail-out – GM needed to recapture the hearts and minds of consumers. To introduce the new GM, and in particular the new Chevrolet, the company wanted to directly engage the people and bring them positive, first-hand experiences with Chevy vehicles. The most trend-savvy and discerning segment of the target 'modern family' audience – the college student – presented significant challenges, having reached driving age as the GM bail-out was taking place. For them, Chevy had long-since lost its 'American Pie' pop culture cool.

The Goal
Campaign Goal: To bring the cool back to Chevy among college students by driving positive first-hand experiences with the new Chevy; to create compelling, shareable digital content and encouraging positive word-of-mouth; to increase purchase consideration; to collect real-time feedback; and to strengthen relationships with student organisations and faculty.

Target Audience: College-age consumers, including their offline and online social networks; college, local and national consumer media.

Research: To maximise participation, the team identified universities in key markets across California with large on campus populations: University of Southern California, Stanford, U.C. San Diego, U.C. Santa Barbara, U.C. Riverside, Santa Clara University and San Diego State University.

The Strategy
•Give Students What They Want: Match student needs (study breaks, fun, food) with Chevy priorities (grassroots engagement, mass awareness through social media).
•Partner With Authentic Campus Leaders & Peers: Align with on-campus student organisations with existing wide-spread social networks to co-brand and host the events.
•Keep Promotion Social: Be visible where students are every day: online. Student organisations created Facebook invitations, Tweets, campus-wide emails, blog posts and Flickr photos thus reaching 25,000 students directly. The team created #ChevyStudyBreak for chat.
•Line Up the Cool Rides: To attract participation, offer electric Volt, sporty Camaro and college-friendly Cruze and Sonic.
•Turn Students Into Social Media Advocates: Loan students Flip Camcorders to create their own unique, shareable content for posting to GM blogs, student networks. Offer branded photo booth opportunities, with real-time social media sharing to spread the buzz.
•Hyper-Targeted Media: Pitch local and college-focused media to cover the events.

GM hosts 'Drive-Thru Finals with Chevy' events in conjunction with student-run organisations at each school for 2 nights during student final exam study weeks. The events take place during prime study stress times, from approximately 8pm-1am As a result of student-driven social media and on-campus outreach to students, each event typically garners as many as 1,500 RSVPs to the Facebook invitation sent out by student organisations, with lines consistently drawing upwards of 75 students before the events even begin.

Over 2 nights, students hop into Chevys for 10-20-minute chauffeured rides to their drive-through restaurant of choice, compliments of Chevrolet. GM loans Flip Camcorders to students to document their ride and hosts views-driven contests to encourage the most creative submissions. The videos and branded, shareable-in-real-time photo booth opportunities tap into and capture school spirit, student enthusiasm surrounding the events and sing Chevy’s praises across the web.

Documented Results
•Approximately 5,000 students rode in Chevy vehicles.
•Approximately 156,000 students reached on campus via event, materials, college media and on-campus publicity.
•50,000 more were reached via 3rd-party (non-GM-based) tweets and other social media posts.
•More than 9m impressions were generated through national, local and campus media efforts, including Money, San Diego CW 6, San Diego FOX 5, San Diego KUSI (IND), San Jose Mercury News, the San Diego Union-Tribune, Fortune and others.
•Hyper-targeted campus media placements generated more than 57,000 impressions
•Students created hundreds of online videos from the events, with 71 posted to GM networks and shared via student social media channels
•The 'Drive-Thru Finals with Chevy' events succeeded in driving consideration for Chevy. Year-over-year Chevy sales results in California were up 29.36%.