For the launch of its new A-class, the brand’s most important launch in 60 years, Mercedes wanted to attract a younger generation of buyers in the U.K. To do this, Mercedes moved away from a traditionally heavy focus on TV and outdoor advertising to include more social media, mobile, and content co-creation into its marketing mix. The #YOUDRIVE campaign allowed viewers to determine what would happen in an exciting story told over the space of three ads, connecting with 25- to 44-year-olds in a way that Mercedes had never been able to do before and creating a new customer-driven approach to automobile launches.
Mercedes knew that its target audience:
Therefore, it decided to reach out to young people who were watching TV while also simultaneously interacting with a mobile device, tablet, and/or laptop. Hashtags placed in each TV commercial steered the #YOUDRIVE story and encouraged viewers to go to Twitter to determine what would happen next. Users could see the live voting results on the #YOUDRIVE website, giving them absolute control over what happened next in real time.
To build excitement for this campaign, Mercedes promoted it like a movie premiere, using digital outdoor, time-targeted text messaging, paid social media, and newspaper cover wraps to drive consumers to the campaign trailer on YouTube. This pre-release build-up lasted for a week prior to the #YOUDRIVE launch.
In July 2012, Mercedes’ old A-class model represented 0.4 percent of the total U.K. hatchback market. Two months after the #YOUDRIVE launch, it represented 6.2 percent. Brochure requests increased by 140 percent, and 77,000 leads were generated (vs. an original goal of 50,000 leads). The average age of people enquiring about the new A-class was 10 years younger than the traditional Mercedes norm. Over 740,000 people visited the #YOUDRIVE website, and the campaign hashtag appeared 103 million times on Twitter and 30 million times on Facebook. The YouTube trailer was viewed 237,000 times and had an impressive 95 percent completion rate.