There is a lot of formulaic strategy in the content marketing that car companies use.
It’s heavily based in SEO. It’s data-driven, and it wants to impart the technical and logistical information as efficiently as possible.
These are important things for content marketing to accomplish, but from a writer’s perspective, it means to finding ways to convey the same dry information again and again without actually repeating yourself. It has another side effect as well, which content marketers need to sit up and pay attention to.
When a person is seeking to buy a car (yes, they need to know the stats, what sets the car apart from others and directions to the car dealership), but in order to create content that is truly memorable, it’s important to engage the consumer. Knowing what the rpm is of X model being sold in Y town is not going to do that.
There are several major players in the automotive industry that have taken note of the importance of customer engagement. As a result, they’ve developed content marketing strategies around one of the best way to engage buyers: social media.
While expensive and eye-catching, running a car commercial during the Super Bowl is hardly anything new. In the past, it was one ways that car companies capitalized on consumer engagement, as Super Bowl commercials naturally lend themselves to being fodder for both next day water cooler discussions as well as trending social media topics.
This year, Hyundai decided to take their Super Bowl ad and tailor it for trending purposes–by shooting their ad during the actual game. While other companies spent a full year creating their ad, Hyundai was going to take the enormous risk of pooling that entire investment into a 90-second mini-documentary that showed behind the scenes moments while the game was taking place.
But this strategy was far from a gimmick; Hyundai partnered with the U.S. Military to create what was arguably the most emotionally moving ad of the game. “A Better Super Bowl” showed troops serving abroad watching the game. With state of the art technology, Hyundai recreated the experience of being gameside for troops in Poland, and capped it off with real-live reunions with soldiers and their families.
What did the advertisement have to do with cars? Maybe not a whole lot. But at the conclusion of a very exciting game, Hyundai turned the conversation away from a football game to what allows our country to come together as families and celebrate the good times. It hit an emotional chord, it got people talking, and it branded Hyundai as a company that cares.
While 2017’s Super Bowl ads were the least shared in 6 years, Hyundai’s ad far and away received the most positive responses. Hyundai established itself as the brand to beat on YouTube with its 2016 Super Bowl ad, and by going in a completely different direction in 2017, it remained strong.
Though we cannot measure the effectiveness of influencers in advertisements, it’s clear that they have the ability increase engagement and spark conversation. Chevrolet took advantage of this of with their Hidden Gems campaign for the Chevrolet Trax.
The campaign ran across a wide variety of social media platforms, from the now defunct Vine and the always youthful Snapchat to the ever-growing Twitter and Instagram. In doing this, Chevrolet was able to hit a wide range of a primarily Millennial audience: consumers that now represent a larger portion of the population than Baby Boomers.
The campaign was not revolutionary as far as social media content marketing goes. (Influencers were given Chevrolet Trax and invited to share the hidden gems of their favorite itineraries, especially highlighting the car’s off-roading capabilities.) But as far as the automotive industry goes, Chevrolet succeeding in getting Millennials thinking and talking about their company.
If there’s one social media platform that we don’t often see brands engaging with, it’s Craigslist.
Nissan has been a social media innovator in the automotive industry for some time now, but this Shorty award-winning campaign deserves an extra-special mention for true creativity.
Yes, Craigslist is a website for selling stuff, but it’s also technically a social media platform. Nissan stumbled across a particularly creative ad penned by an aspiring filmmaker. They chose to buy the car, donate money to charity, and restored the car to the glory expressed in the ad. The ensuing product was turned into pure viral gold, and was shared far and wide beyond Craigslist.
About the author
A freelance writer and content strategist for the last eight years, Alexandra M is a highly skilled writer, editor, proofreader and researcher. From an educational background based in English literature and poetry, she brings a deep understanding of the artistic use of language at its most basic level. Experience in overcoming research obstacles such as language, censorship and bureaucracies, has prepared her to tackle any inquiry with creativity and depth. Drawing on a breadth of personal and professional experience, she uses original thinking to apply these skills to produce and write creative, corporate and technical materials. When editing, her attention to detail combined with a quick grasp of overall coherency allows her to respect the author’s voice and intention while steering a work toward its best possible form.