Smart Promo, Case study SMART: THINK - FAST - BUY! by MEC Beijing

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Industry Cars
Media Promo & PR, Case study
Market China
Agency MEC Beijing
Released September 2010

Credits & Description

Category: Best Use of Online Advertising
Product/Service: SMART
Date of First Appearance: Sep 6 2010
Entrant Company: MERCEDES-BENZ CHINA, Beijing, CHINA
Vice-President/ Head of Marketing: Mao Jingbo (Mercedes-Benz)
Marketing Communications, Senior Manager: Javier Lu (Mercedes-Benz)
Manager, Marketing Communications: Li Shan (Mercedes-Benz)
Senior Officer, Marketing Communications: Beck You (Mercedes-Benz)
Managing Director: Michelle Yang (MEC)
Associate Planning Director: Corinna Chen (MEC Interaction)
Digital Manager: Eve Luo (MEC Interaction)
Strategic Planning Manager: Jean Zhao (MEC China)
Media placement: Online - - 6th Sept 2010

Insights, Strategy & the Idea
Although SMART has undertaken a series of branding campaigns since its China launch in Apr, 2009 – awareness & customer inquiries of smart was just not converting into sales.

This was because the time lapse between initial interests to actual purchase was too long - offering opportunity for doubt and hesitance to kick in - the inherent nature of a “small” car has limited appeal to the Chinese consumer in the first place, and coupled with smart’s premium price tag, is enough to make people waiver in their final decision.

A drastic and completely new way was needed to directly target, and overcome, this hesitance – to give people that extra nudge to purchase.

Our strategy was to create a sense of urgency to trigger people into action: Think – Fast – Buy!

Creative Execution
E-commerce offered the ideal solution: it’s a platform that encourages impulse buying; it widened our potential customer base by taking dealership store to consumers; and finally, selling cars through E-commerce was a China media & industry first.

We leveraged the power of social herding and put the smart car up for “Group Buy” on Taobao, China’s largest e-commerce platform. If 200 people registered, they could purchase a smart car for 23% off its original price (regular industry discounts are ~10-30%).

In order to create anticipation, key opinion leaders seeded news about the opportunity 3 days prior.

To maintain interest, we introduced a series of "One second buy" opportunities throughout the campaign – people were able to snap up limited items, including a SMART CAR, for USD0.15!

To deepen engagement, 20 Taobao sellers created bespoke fashion shoots with their store items and smart, and an interactive advertorial page was also created.

Results and Effectiveness
During the month of the campaign, 796 smart cars were sold, representing a 106% increase from previous month. This represents USD21mil worth in sales. 963 units continued to be sold in Oct, 2010. This compares to average monthly sales of 229 previously. Our budget was only USD420k + 1 smart car, offering an ROI of at least 1:50.

200 orders were reached in 3 hours 25 min. The activity generated PR worth USD227,425 – including exposure on CCTV News and 49% increase in call volume to dealers and a 34% increase in showroom traffic year on year.