Chevrolet Hits College Campuses For Back Seat Stories

08 October 2008

We all know getting a new product into the hands of consumers helps make a connection – so sampling is a natural tactic for lots of marketers.  But what happens when you have a new car to introduce – its hard to hand those out on the street.  The people of Chevrolet just launched a new campaign that gets close, bringing the new Aveo5 College Cab to six university campuses in the US, offering free rides around campus with a unique social media twist.

The Aveo5 is a smart little car that only costs $12,000 – so perfect for a parent to buy his or her college student or for a student to buy on their own.  So, knowing driving is believing, the Chevrolet Aveo5’s arrive on each campus for a week – with a light on top and everything – offering students who hail the car a free ride.  Now the social media twist, everyone who takes a ride is videotaped, capturing their experience (in the back seat) and impression of their first ride in the Aveo5.  The videos for each campus are then uploaded to the campaign site, where riders send their friends and family to the site to watch the fun.  The videos are up for a week – with the most viewed video from each campus moving on to the grand finale round – where the views are cleared and a national audience will select the winner (by most votes) who wins a new Aveo5.  On the site riders can create flyers to give to people, post on their Facebook of MySpace profiles or email around as well.  You can read more about the campaign via the launch news release.

The campaign site provides a solid digital home for the campaign – making it easy to watch videos, see where the tour is now and where its going and has some of the Aveo5 drivers on campus blogging about their experiences.  There are links to learn more about the car, check out Chevy’s fuel solution options and of course back to  

So, what’s missing?  As always I’m sure the people who worked hard to create this campaign had more ideas that maybe didn’t fit in the budget or didn’t make it off the drawing board.  These ideas are just to explore additional areas to think about for your next campaign.  What about:

  • “Celebrity” drivers.  Imagine if on the first day on each college campus consumers got in and were greeted with the lead singer of a local, well-known college band, either driving or in the passenger seat.  Or a huge A-list actor/actress and Chevrolet makes a donation for every mile or person picked up that day by the campus cab.  I just like the added word-of-mouth that it would drive, getting people to be even more on the look-out for the Aveo5 roaming around campus offering free rides.
  • Sing-a-long.  I think its a universal fact that people sing in the car with their friends.  What if there were four songs people could choose from when they get in the car, and then there’d be a winner per song.  Again, i have watched all of the videos but some are funnier than others – and think watching videos of people trying to sing to funny songs could help create a viral effect for the videos, further helping to spread the campaign to others.
  • SMS/MMS component.  Lots of mobile phones these days have video playing capabilities, so it would be great if I could send a snippet of my video to friends’ mobiles or an SMS with a link to check out the full video.

All-in-all, I think this is a great campaign, designed to appeal to the desired audience for the product, leveraging social media in an intuitive way and a nice prize to get people excited.  A big “WOOHOO” to the team at Chevrolet.


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