This post is part of a week-long series on how different industries can leverage social media to connect with their customers.
By Briana Campbell (@MsMatchGirl)
America is a car country and we Americans feel a strong connection between our cars and the identity that they give us. A car is not just a way to get from one place to another, it’s a status symbol. Our cars tell the world who we are. We’re not just keeping up with the Joneses, we’re outdoing them, letting our individuality shine through how our cars represent us.
From the (let’s face it, incredibly adorable) Everybody Loves a Honda site to the fast and fun USA site of Mini, auto companies have entered the new media and social networking worlds in full force. They’re finding a ton of new and interesting ways to not only get information about the cars (you know, boring stuff like miles per gallon and horsepower) but to engage people with the cars.
I mean we all played “punch buggy” as kids, pounding the heck out of our seatmates and squealing with delight any time a VW Bug drove by. Well, Volkswagon knows that and their advertisers have made the game viral, renaming it “Punch Dub” and letting you smack your friends no matter what type of VW car passes you on the road. They kicked off the campaign with a Superbowl commercial featuring Tracy Morgan and Stevie Wonder, and then took it to the internet, giving people a chance to win a new Volkswagon CC by virtually slugging friends on their Facebook pages.
In March of last year, a friend from High school drew my attention to the Ford Fiesta movement via Facebook. Hilary McHone announced that she was applying to be one of 100 Fiesta Agents, each given a 2011 Fiesta to drive for 6 months – completing missions and uploading videos and blog posts as they had adventures in their Ford Fiestas. She was accepted and along the way she, after learning how to drive, visited our high school – driving from LA to NH to attend a charity foot race , took improv classes, went sky-diving, raced her Fiesta against other agents and she and her fiancé Rick drove from LA to Tennessee to get married. She was just one of many agents documenting her travels and adventures – and using the internet to share the whole experience.
Facebook fan pages and iPhone apps let the consumer see exactly how unique their experience will be if they have the car. They create a movement and a culture and an interaction that could previously only be experienced by ownership. What’s next for the auto industry when it comes to our digital world?