Mercedes-Benz USA: Build a GLA on Instagram

 
Campaign Summary

One of the most important online sales tools in the automotive industry is the “build your own car” utility, which typically lives on a brand’s website. However, the target audience for GLA was high-income Millennials who lived on the social web. To bring the utility to them, Mercedes-Benz created the first car configurator on Instagram. At the end of the process, consumers were given a price for their build and were encouraged to visit their local dealer for more information.

Strategy

Objective and Context:

One of the most important online sales tools in the automotive industry is the “build your own car” utility, which typically lives on a brand’s website. However, the target audience for the GLA was high-income Millennials who lived on the social web. To bring the utility to them, Mercedes-Benz created the first car configurator on Instagram. At the end of the process, consumers were given a price for their build and were encouraged to visit their local dealer for more information.

Target Audience:

With the launch of the all-new GLA, Mercedes-Benz had to reach a younger car buyer. While the brand continued to break sales records in the U.S., the average age of a Mercedes buyer was 53. Research also revealed that twice as many Millennial buyers chose competitors Audi and BMW over Mercedes. The primary target was a Millennial male in his early 30s with a high household income. The brand knew that this target lived on the social web, with Instagram being particularly relevant.

Creative Strategy:

The build-your-own tool, which was normally found on an automotive brand’s website, was critical for inciting action from consumers. A 2014 JD Power survey found that 85 percent of automotive site visitors used a customization tool to configure and price a car. Of those who were delighted by the experience, 64 percent went on to schedule a test drive. Mercedes-Benz wanted to leverage this insight but apply it to mobile.

Execution

Mobile Execution:

The idea was to create the first car configurator on Instagram. Taking advantage of the recently added “tagging” functionality, Mercedes-Benz gave consumers a way to pick the colors, wheels, roof, and grill of their new GLA. The brand did this by adapting the platform and creating hundreds of linked accounts and thousands of images representing all of the customizable options.

The innovation was promoted first to the @mbusa Instagram account, which had more than 175,000 followers. Then a demo video was promoted on Facebook and Twitter with paid social amplification to help get it in front of the target audience. 

Results (including context, evaluation, and market impact)

Bringing the functionality directly to the target audience’s native environment drove strong results. The experience resulted in over 100,000 Instagram likes and 20,000 new followers to the @mbusa account. Thousands of cars were built using the account, which received positive comments, such as “I loved this,” “…this is something different…something good,” and “You guys rock.”

On the day of launch, Fast Company praised the effort, observing that “Mercedes isn’t waiting for people to come to their site.” The Instagram experience was even discussed on the Bloomberg Business channel, where pundits debated if this was the future of car marketing.


Categories: | Industries: | Objectives: Mobile Native, Brand Awareness, Mobile Social, Product/Services Launch | Awards: Finalist, Silver Winner

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