Many automotive brands have really embraced content marketing. Cars are a practical as well as an emotional purchase and it normally takes research, test-drives and above all, time, for someone to make a decision on what vehicle to buy. So it’s easy to see why content marketing is being used to promote the latest models. Here are three very different examples of what can be done.

Land Rover – #Hibernot

Originally launched in late 2014, Land Rover’s #Hibernot campaign is focused on changing the perception of winter; town or countryside, city or coast, offering inspiration to just get out there. In the first iteration of the campaign, Land Rover released a range of short-form videos where individuals defeat the cold embrace of winter. They featured scenes from wet, blustery coastal walks through to cruising flooded country roads. Each video story was seeded across social media and hosted on a bespoke Hibernot website, utilising HTML5 technology. Each also told a story with a Land Rover product – mostly through imagery – scattered throughout. Users were then encouraged to share their own #Hibernot stories across Twitter and Instagram.

For Winter 15/16; Land Rover took the campaign to the next level. Wanting to slot into the behaviours of their emerging target market – The Millennials – they used Instagram as the main platform. Employing the help of countless influencers (each with 20,000+ followers), the focus was on actual action, capturing the essence of #Hibernot through the eyes of the consumer.In tandem with this, Land Rover also encouraged members of the public to ‘see winter differently’ with digital billboards using real-time footage of rural/urban winter landscapes and applied filters as people pass by turning the screens into ‘window frames’. Each frame displayed on-site footage in locations such as SE1 Tower in Waterloo and the Northern Lights in Leeds; the filter on each image changed throughout the day, making a “realistic version of the scene”.

By making the otherwise bleak winter landscapes appear attractive – both through the brand and the consumer’s eyes – the campaign looked to underline the brand’s specialism in automobile engineering for adverse and wintry weather conditions. Moreover, by building the bridge between the offline/online (and in an innovative way), Land Rover is a constant presence in its target market’s lives.

Mini – Go With Your Gut

To celebrate the launch of the Clubman model, Mini released a series of online films about people who go with their gut feelings under the heading of The Cultural. The first film in The Cultural series is called “This Way Is My Way” and tells the story of a New York tattoo artist, Scott Campbell, who talks about the philosophy behind his art. The video – as with all in the series – is over 3 minutes long, drifting into the short-film territory. In each, no Minis are featured in the spot although at the end, a message flashes on screen telling viewers that the film was presented by the new Mini Clubman, followed by the strapline “go with your gut”.

For added reach and exposure, Mini seeded the video out to various press outlets. Working with publications such as Vice, Nowness and Cereal, Mini sought to reach the alternative audience – for the most part, Millennials – directly. And it worked; the videos received an average of 200,000 views on YouTube, with a similar views on Facebook. By pushing and crucially, creating content that worked well with the Millennials’ existing behaviours/habits, Mini seamlessly (and powerfully) entered into the screens of these users. They are the next buying generation and Mini know it.

Discovery or Search

While users primarily find video content on Facebook through their newsfeed, the user journey is very different for Youtube. So your content distribution strategy should reflect the differences in the platform. Videos that work well for search (How-to, instructional films, educational content, etc) will perform well on Youtube, while short evocative brand pieces will be better suited to grab a user’s attention as they scroll.

VW – Overall Content Marketing Strategy

Of all the automotive brands investing in content marketing, VW is surely king. It has moulded its strategy to reaching multiple demographics, across a number of channels and has pushed out a plethora of different content types. As an example, in the UK, VW worked with Buzzfeed on an interactive quiz looking at which type of dog breed best fits them, linking the result to a specific car model. On a similar vein in the USA, VW put together a Tinder-like parody, offering compatibility matching between the driver and a huge range of VW models.

Additionally, VW has placed itself in the content marketing driver’s seat – quite literally – with sponsorships, such as their relationship with the FIA World Rally Championship. The brand supported the race with Rally the World channels on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, as well as a website full of stories, videos, and photos [all branded] from the event. To take this a step further and to appeal to an even wider demographic, VW are moving into spaces where younger audiences are talking. For example, the VW-sponsored 360-degree Glam Cam at the pre-Emmys red carpet show. Moreover, online users also had access to Red Carpet Driven, a Volkswagen/E! partnership that brought behind-the-scenes stories and video from E! field producers and fashion stylists.

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