Exploring Influential and Impactful Automotive Advertising Campaigns (Part Two)

Disruption for the Modern Age in Automotive Advertising Campaigns

Beginning in 2001, the automotive industry embraced a new approach to disruptive marketing that aligned with a rapidly changing and evolving world.

Disruptive marketing is about standing out from the crowd. In today’s noisy, digital and tech-savvy world, companies are desperately trying to sell you something from every angle, in every space and on every platform, making it difficult to connect with an audience already overwhelmed and oversaturated with content and advertising. . Since the tech boom of the 2000s, disruptive marketers have been the ones who have managed to cut through the noise and find success – more than at any other time in history, especially in the automotive industry, where the competition is fierce and customers are bombarded. with daily advertising.

Today, disruptive marketing practices are more important than ever. Whether disrupting conventional showrooms or selling cars online, disruptive marketers have disrupted the status quo and boosted sales by appealing to a sense of adventure and modern technology. client.

Automotive Marketing in a Post-9/11 World

The automotive industry was one of the first to be impacted by the events of 9/11. In the aftermath of the terrorist attacks, GM launched the “Keep America Rolling” campaign. The goal was to encourage people to buy GM cars to help support the economy. The campaign was very successful and is credited with helping GM weather the economic downturn.

Keep America Rolling was a huge success, with GM sales increasing 20% ​​in the months after the campaign launched. It was a perfect example of how a well-executed disruptive marketing campaign can help a business through an economic crisis.

Take advantage of heists

Disruptive marketing is all about making a splash and getting people to notice. It’s about thinking outside the box and finding creative ways to grab people’s attention, and with a looming car shortage in the 2000s, it inspired one of the company’s most memorable campaigns. history of the automotive industry. Launched in 2009, the program offered consumers a cash rebate for trading in their old cars for new, more fuel-efficient models. The results have been spectacular. In just six weeks, the program boosted auto sales by almost 30%. More importantly, it changed the way people thought about buying a car. Suddenly, fuel economy became a top priority for consumers, and automakers scrambled to keep up. The Cash for Clunkers campaign was truly a game-changer for the automotive industry, and it’s a perfect example of the power of disruptive marketing.

The car advertising that electrified the industry

The Model S was a revolutionary vehicle for Tesla. It was the first fully electric car that had a range of over 200 miles. This has made it a viable option for long-distance travel and has helped change people’s perception of electric vehicles. Tesla’s marketing campaigns have been very influential in driving sales and generating buzz for the company.

The beauty of this is that the campaigns weren’t made by Tesla itself, but rather by someone in the audience. Someone who wholeheartedly believes in the brand, so much so that they felt compelled to create their own version of an advertisement; a creation that had more than 375,000 views, totally unsolicited by the brand itself: Gallons of Light.

Capturing the power of Black Friday

Taking inspiration from major retailers across the United States, car dealerships have begun to adopt the “retail frenzy” model known as Black Friday. Black Friday has been widely regarded as one of the most effective pieces of disruptive marketing in history. Held on the Friday after Thanksgiving, the Black Friday campaign is widely marked as the official start of the holiday shopping season. While Black Friday has traditionally been a retail event for big box stores or smaller shopping experiences, the automotive industry has begun to pivot its marketing budget in recent years to entice consumers to buy a car.

“Marketing has convinced the public that ‘Black Friday’ is a great shopping day to jump into the holiday shopping season. It provided a very effective ‘disruption’ to the norm – staying home and watching football with the family,” said Kirk Oleson, chairman of Graham Oleson.

Marketing while the world stood still

The unprecedented circumstances of 2020 have forever changed the face of industry, commerce and advertising. Positioned against the backdrop of a catastrophic global pandemic, automotive marketing teams scrambled to come up with a hard-hitting new advertising approach while most were sheltering in place.

As car dealerships remained empty due to social distancing and health concerns, TV ads began to change tone and approach to connect with car shoppers. “While this television advertising campaign was not the first to promote car buying from home, it was launched at the very beginning of COVID and was very successful,” said Tony Roland, director of automotive account at Spectrum Reach. “Car buyers weren’t going to dealerships back then. A lot of people aren’t comfortable making such a big purchase without seeing it, touching it, and talking directly to a person.”

As demonstrated in an advertisement that featured local car dealership Joe Maus CDJR, this approach assured the consumer that the process could be both simple and non-threatening. “At a time when many other local retailers were talking about the steps they were taking in their stores to make them clean and safe, this alternative resonated with viewers across the market,” Roland said.

Modern challenges for a new era in automotive shopping

Consumer behavior has changed dramatically in recent years and companies have had to adapt their strategies accordingly. One of the biggest changes was the discontinuation of weekend shopping. In the past, companies focused their marketing efforts on getting potential customers to add their products to their shopping list by Friday. In the automotive industry, weekends have traditionally been the time when dealerships offer their best deals. However, with more and more people shopping during the week, dealers have had to adjust their strategies. As a result, the way businesses operate has changed dramatically in recent years, and companies must continue to adapt their strategies to keep up with the changing consumer landscape.

Beyond the new challenges of modern buying models, the media landscape is more fragmented than ever, creating a more saturated environment to connect with audiences. With the rise of digital media, consumers have more ways to get their information. This has led to a disruptive marketing environment, where companies have to fight for attention. Automakers achieve this in part by using cross-demographic targeting, allowing advertisers to reach a wider audience with their message. In the automotive industry, for example, companies are targeting young adults with social media campaigns. Indeed, they know that this demographic group is more likely to be interested in new car models. By using cross-demographic targeting, companies can reach a wider audience and increase sales, such as the 2022 Acura “Your Turn” campaign with Vince Staples during the NBA Finals. According to Torrance Hampton, Creative Director and Executive Producer of GFACTOR FILMS, “The disruptive nature of the campaign stems from Vince himself, and you can see his direct influence in the campaign visuals: the artistic 360-degree freeze-frames, car performance shots jump and kinetic camera movements while showcasing multicultural millennials experiencing the new Acura Integra It’s not about the car, it’s about the lifestyle .

Reinventing Disruptive Automotive Marketing in the 21st Century

There have been many other disruptive automotive marketing campaigns over the past century. The automotive industry is constantly changing and so is the marketing landscape. What worked in the past may not be effective today, and what’s popular now may be out of date in a few months. To stay ahead of the game, automotive marketing teams will need to continually find new, innovative and disruptive ways to capture the hearts, imaginations and loyalty of the consumer.

If you missed the first part of this series, click here.

Marilyn J. Hernandez