Chevrolet is an American institution synonymous with tradition and pickup trucks. This reputation, built over 100 years of mass-market communications, presents a major problem among the growing segment of millennial first-time car buyers who are interested in stylish, fuel-efficient city cars.
With the introduction of a new small car, the Chevy Sonic, the brand saw an opportunity to bring this new generation of car buyers into the Chevrolet family. The challenge was to launch the Sonic to an audience of young, hip millennials who had completely written off Chevy as old-fashioned and irrelevant and they couldn't rely on the traditional car-ad formula of mass-broadcasting product features and lease offers.
Millennials are incredibly skeptical of advertising and reject anything that feels disingenuous so the campaign had to be about actions, not ads. The brand wanted to demonstrate that the Chevy Sonic is a personal launch pod to discovery so created a campaign with sonic-first stunts, never done by any car, and built a platform to encourage millennials to do and share their own first-time experiences.
Chevy Sonic partnered with extreme sports stars, robotics experts and tech masterminds to create the Sonic "firsts", with a digital platform that encouraged millennials to do their own. During a four-day launch, a live stream on letsdothis.com allowed people to launch a Sonic off a 100ft platform, offering them a chance to win the car by helping us push. Chevy Sonic partnered with Rob Dyrdek, pro skateboarder and MTV star, to "kick-flip" a Sonic, which featured in the new seasons premiere episode of Rob Dyrdek's show.
Through interactive 3-D projection Chevy Sonic turned Hollywood's Roosevelt Hotel into the Guinness World Record's largest claw game, where people played to win experiences as prizes, from dream vacations to a Chevy Sonic. Finally a social game challenged players to complete and share first experiences via letsdothis.com and a mobile application, where the more social love players received, the closer they got to winning their own Sonic.
Participants were given exclusive access, encouraging them to capture and share their own footage of Sonic firsts. This was promoted through ads and partnerships with digital publishers to engage their fans and footage from Sonic firsts were repurposed in ads.
The Sonic helped GM end 2011 as the category leader in new-car sales and begun to shift millennial perceptions of Chevrolet from old-fashioned and out of touch to youthful and relevant.
180 million PR impressions.
Four million viral video views.
Headlining coverage on MTV, People.com, Gizmodo, ESPN, Skateboarder Magazine, Discovery Channel, Hollywood Reporter, Yahoo!, the New York Times, Wall Street Journal and more.
267,000 Facebook likes.
11,000 hours spent on letsdothis.com over the campaign period.
Estimated 8.4 million peer-to-peer social impressions from the first month of Sonic's Game of firsts with click-through rates 250% higher than Chevrolet benchmarks.