Who’s surpassing the United States as the #1 auto market in the world? If you guessed China, you get a gold star.
Reuters quoted the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers (CAAM)’s data, saying that in May of 2012, 1.28 million sedans, sport utility vehicles (SUVs), multi-purpose vehicles (MPVs) and minivans were sold in the country. In the same month of 2011, only 1.04 million vehicles were sold.
What does this jump in Chinese auto sales mean? It means that China is rapidly replacing the U.S. as the #1 auto market in the world.
Fierce auto brand competition isn’t only happening in the arena of sales, but in social media as well. Recently, we saw three auto brands execute social media campaigns on different channels with different local, unique and meaningful components in China.
It’s important to keep an eye on this dynamic market to see how these international automakers are localizing their brands and embracing local social media.
Volkswagen Scirocco – Kingdom of Night Campaign
Scirocco’s Kingdom of Night campaign targeted young consumers who love the nightlife. Scirocco based the campaign on the online behavior of China’s young consumers who prefer visuals over text. The brand ultimately created a mobile app and a Renren.com page (Renren.com is a platform similar to Facebook in China).
Scirocco encouraged consumers to use its campaign application to take photos of their nightlife, upload the photos to the Kingdom of Night Renren page, and tag their location.
This campaign also had game mechanics similar to Foursquare check-ins. Fans submit a photo to get a badge. If a fan collects all of the badges, they qualify for a free trial of the Scirocco sedan.
The campaign ran for two months. More than 200,000 photos were uploaded. The most staggering results were that 6,000 consumers test drove the Scirocco and 20,000 sales opportunities were created, which led to 200 actual sales.
Cadillac hashtag campaign – #Thisisstyle
Cadillac is a dynamic force in China’s social media universe. Recently, we saw Cadillac roll out a new campaign on Sina Weibo through the combination of a Sina Weibo ad buy and promotional content on their Weibo channel.
Cadillac made “style” one of its themes, combining the brand’s history and celebrity topics around #Thisisstyle.
Cadillac defines #Thisisstyle through the following key words: technology, cycle racing, art, celebrity, fashion, film and music. The general Weibo audience used the hashtag when they tweeted about activities that they define as their style.
Cadillac started the #Thisisstyle hashtag and then pulled additional fan content from all the mentioned categories into a centralized #Thisstyle hub. Meanwhile, Cadillac promoted the hashtag campaign via a Sina Weibo ad buy.
Cadillac also leveraged New York Fashion Week to promote the #Thisisstyle hashtag campaign. We could not find any Cadillac official sponsorships at New York Fashion Week based on fashion week’s official website; however, Cadillac did leverage their campaign using celebrities, designers and sedans to connect with Fashion Week and highlight the brand’s focus on “style.”
So far, Cadillac’s hashtag campaign has generated more than 340,000 discussions on Sina Weibo. #Thisisstyle became one of the Top 10 Sina Weibo hot topics and Cadillac’s Sina Weibo page reached 839,654 followers. In terms of follower numbers and engagement, Cadillac has one of the highest number of followers among auto brands.
Spark Is Coming Campaign
Spark, which is a mini sedan from Chevrolet, launched a brand awareness/promotional campaign on Douban.com a few months ago. It was notably the first time Douban designed a campaign page for a brand.
Douban is recognized as a popular social media platform that combines social media characters and forum functions. Using that functionality, Spark created two interactive programs for this campaign.
One is called Sparker program, where participants can take a test created by the brand to see which car fits their style, If the participant gets a high score on the test, it means the participant’s character matches the Spark brand.
The other program is Spark scrawling, which allows participants to scrawl on the Spark campaign page and submit their scrawling work. An example of this program is shown on the left. This program echoes the Spark brand message that is design beyond imagination.
Meanwhile, Spark also leveraged promotional ads on Douban.com, placed ads in popular movies such as Inception, and tried to activate users on Weibo.
In terms of results, Spark’s brand page on Douban attracted a total of 2,854,549 visitors and collected 615 scrawling works from 6,086 Sparker participants.
Have you seen other car brands make an impact socially across the globe? Tell us about it in a comment.