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Automotive Social Media Marketing Examples and Case Studies

Automotive Social Media Marketing Examples from throughout the Car Business...

If Automotive Social Media Marketing achieves the adoption rates that we have seen drive the economic recoveries within the technology industry, along with consumer and lifestyle products, Car Dealers and Car Companies will soon learn the true meaning of when people are passionate about a topic, the want to talk about it.

The American Auto Industry has always had the ability to elicit an emotional response from car buyers, but some would argue that te industry's decline in this capability is part of what has made automotive marketing more difficult across the board... With a history of emotional tie ins and impact that crosses many barriers other products cannot get past, the auto industry would seem to be the ideal vertical for Tier 1, Tier 2 and Tier 3 integrated social media marketing initiatives. Of course, not every automotive brand will be as responsive to social media marketing... Check your brand's technographics to see if your customers are engagable.

Here’s an ongoing list of Social Media examples, and resources:

  1. Chevy Tahoe “Create you ad” – 2006
    Perhaps one of the earliest examples (and boldest) was the advertisement where anyone could create their own Chevy ads. Many anti-SUV/Auto ads appeared, and some suggest it was a failed campaign. I believe it was a success for the very reasons it was criticized, at least GM took a bold move to embrace what everyone was talking about, aside from the residual buzz from the campaign itself.

  2. Jeep’s Have Fun Out There
    To me, this is really a great way of reaching with these tools, rather than create all the content themselves, Jeep has aggregated content from the community. I’m sure it’s been filtered, so nothing non-PG is added, but it’s a good way of letting the community ‘drive’ their own agenda. Essentially they are “fishing where the fish are” by linking and aggregating communities where they already exist on flickr, youtube, and facebook.

  3. Honda/Acura
    Has launched several campaigns such as this ‘create your own profile‘ for your social network, featuring Honda Pilot. Other examples inlcude Acura TSX Facebook page, and a Honda YouTube channel that features a variety of innovation lead videos.

  4. GM launches a Community program -2008
    From Neville and Shel of the For Immediate Release program (podcast) “GMnext is more or less a year-long online initiative around the 100th anniversary of the company. Here’s a bit of an overview in the event it’s close to what you’re looking for. Shel did a few podcasts when they launched.” Aside from this community initiative, GM continues to push the envelope and has created a ‘social media newsroom‘.

  5. Chrysler Listens with Insight Community -08
    Forming an online community is one thing, but using it to listen to customers, then making changes is another. Chrysler has launched a Customer Advisory Board that allows customers to be involved in a two way dialog to make suggestions. This one was powered by Passenger, see list of other insight vendors.

  6. Mini’s Owners’ Lounge
    By creating an extranet for customers, Mini has let their owners self organize, self-express, and communicate.

  7. GM’s many blogs
    This Chrysler auto focused blog is rich with media, appears to be frequently updated, by void of many comments. Of course many of you know the GM Fast Lane blog, which has been around since 2005, authored by VIP's such as Bob Lutz, and the GMNext blogs.

  8. Jeep’s Patriot Adventure: Choose your own Adventure -2008
    Really an example of interactive marketing, not social media (aside for videos going on Youtube) Jeep launches an interactive campaign where members can direct which choices video actors make. If you don’t know the difference, read the many forms of web marketing.

  9. Ford’s Social Media Press Release
    I’ve never really understood the value of the social media press release, as I’d rather see corporations/employees joining the conversation, as the level of trust will be higher. In any case, Ford has developed a social media press release for it’s cars, the layout and visualization of the cars looks fantastic. Scott Monty put the kabash to the Ford SMPR program in early 2010, transferring assets to the secured site... Here's an example of their secured site's goodies for Ford approved social media types:

    2012 Ford Mustang Boss 302: The Legend Returns
    Building on the spirit of the 1969 Mustang Boss 302 – one of the most sought-after examples of American performance in the world – the
    groundbreaking GT has been distilled to its purest form. Every component has been examined, each system strengthened, lightened and refined. The result is the 2012 Mustang Boss 302, a street-legal race car destined to be America’s next performance legend.

    2012 Mustang Boss 302 Overview
    2012 Mustang Boss 302 Laguna Seca
    2012 Mustang Boss 302 Engine
    Ford Racing Boss 302R: The Prototype in Plain View
    Mustang Boss History: 302, 429 and 351

    2012 Mustang Boss 302
    2012 Mustang Boss 302 Laguna Seca
    Mustang Historical Timeline

    2012 Mustang Boss 302
    2012 Mustang Boss 302 Laguna Seca

  10. Toyota: Master of Africa -2008
    I applaud this community site that talks about 4X4 best practices and sharing, as it discusses not only the sponsored brands’ discussion of their products, but other companies. Great way to really join the authentic conversations that the market will already have, and attempt to build trust.

  11. Scion Speak let’s owners self-express
    By encouraging owners to create their own personalized emblem, they strengthen member affinity. This is really an example of interactive marketing, not social media. Now, if members were able to take that emblem to their social networking site, then it could spread. Also, there should be a way to print out that emblem and adhere to car.

  12. BMW 1 Series Graffiti Facebook campaign -2008
    This is perhaps one of the best case studies of brands getting social media right, like the Dell Regeneration campaign (both by Federated Media) BMW reaches to existing Grafiti users to draw what they think the BMW 1 means to them “What drives you?”. The result is astounding, thousands of beautiful pieces of art created, and spread across Facebook.

  13. Saturn gets their Community (too late) - 2008
    I’ve always been impressed with the friendly Saturn brand, from user group sponsorships to the no pressure selling, they offer more of an easy going lifestyle brand. Now, their online community reflects their ethos, with groups, member profiles, and other social networking features.

  14. Nissan Finland launches Social Map Mashup
    This interactive map let’s members upload their destinations and images and let’s them share with others. It’s themed around the various offroad vehicles, trucks, and SUVs by Nissan. It looks like it’s a flash app, but I question if that’s very useful for mobile users.

  15. United Auto Workers Community
    The UAW, according to Chuck Gose, “allows workers to submit their stories to about what it means to be a part of the UAW and then other readers can comment or rate the story. They can also submit video.”

  16. Castrol runs a social networking site for car enthusiasts
    This ‘gear head’ community gives an outlet for those passionnate about auto mobiles, see the in depth profiles, featured cars, and discussions at motoraddicts

  17. Daimler launches German blog
    This German blog by Daimler appears to slowly get traction, a smattering of comments, and posts since Oct 2007, this could be a great way to reach a unique audience. Thanks to Stefan for this.

  18. Various Brands: Social Networking Campaigns
    Many of these are too minor to point out individually, but there are dozens of brands that have created social network marketing groups or campaigns, and thousands of groups created by owners themselves, a few examples: BMW, Facebook

  19. Ford's Fiesta Movement
    Ford's Fiesta Movement Chapter 1 in 2009 used a network of over 100 bloggers, who agreed to become "Fiesta Movement Agents" to deploy a series of Fiesta Movement Missions designed to build a buzz around the May 2010 launch of the all new 2011 Ford Fiesta subcompact. The Fiesta Movement was an automotive social media marketing success of the highest order, generating an incredible 42% model awareness among the targeted demographics at the end of Fiesta Movement. Keep in mind that this was Brand awareness for a car that not yet delivered to a single dealer! Conservative estimates are that Ford received marketing and advertising media valued at between $25,000,000 and $45,000,000 with a campaign cost of less than $3,500,000 for the Fiesta Movement Program.

  20. Ford Fiesta Movement - Chapter 2
    For the next chapter of the Fiesta Movement – in conjunction with Fiesta arriving in the U.S. – Ford let its fans take a crack at the
    advertising. They used their creativity to promote the new 2011
    Fiesta. Fiesta Movement Agents selected to participate got to use a Ford Fiesta during the program... Ford paid for the gas. Fiesta Agents competed for prizes (of varying dollar amounts) and had a chance to win a Ford Fiesta.

  21. Ford's Short Movies on the Big Screen
    “La Lucid” Short film premiere Santa Monica theater 7 AMC
    Ford's short film with the 2011 Ford Fiesta playing for 5 minutes before the movie Iron Man 2 on the big screen. Please read the info below for more details. Learn more & Discuss

Staffing and Resources

Scott Monty has led Social Media Practice at Ford Motor Company sin...

Additional Resources

AARF: Headlight
Avenue A Razorfish, an intractive firm that is now focusing on Social Media under the direction of Shiv Singh has a blog focused directly on the innovation of the auto industry, when it comes to marketing. iMedia has an article on what Social Media Marketing means to auto brands, worth a read.

Minor Social Networking Campaigns
Of course, it’s important to note there are hundreds, if not thousands of online communities created from avid owners, such as this, and dozens other that create groups within social networks. Quite frankly, many brands are missing the opportunities on social networks, when the apply the traditional marketing efforts to a social environment. Go to
Facebook, MySpace and do searches in groups and on the search bar to find more.

Owner created Communities
Of course, it’s important to note there are hundreds, if not thousands of online communities created from avid owners, such as this Mini, and Acurazine, both thriving passion communities. There are marketing opportunities, but most brands monitor, but don’t participate. Apparently, an owner created community called VW Vortex has been supported by VW themselves. (if you’ve details, please leave a comment)

Ratings and Reviews Sites
This list can be long, so I’ll just give a few examples such as Edmunds Forums, Yahoo Autos, and I’m sure there are hundreds more.


If you have your own experience with implementation of automotive social media marketing campaigns or programs, then please share your experience by describing it in a comment below. And, if you know about what either your own team, another dealer or a car company has done to better use social media to connect with car buyers, please describe what you observed in a comment.

Here are a few examples of responses from automotive social marketing professionals:

Bridgestone Uses Social Media to Sell Tires
Chris Brashear posted a comment stating that Bridgestone has effectively used a "social media" video strategy on YouTube. Bridgestone's objective was to extend their Super Bowl campaigns beyond game time, and they have repeated this strategy during and after each Superbowl for the past 3 years. However, Chris tells us that for the past 4 months Bridgestone has started emphasizing the word "social" in front of the word "media". You can check out Bridgestone utilization of social media marketing on Facebook, where they are actively engaging/finding their community with plans to expand social media engagement with their tire customers across other parts of their business. You
can currently find Bridgestone's videos at and their monitored Facebook Page is .

Source Disclosure: Chris Brashear manages day to day social media marketing activities for the Bridgestone and Firestone brands... Follow Chris on Twitter, too!

Bridgestone Americas


jlevine from Rebel Industries wrote in to describe several of their Auto Industry Social Media Marketing Campaigns:
  • We also ran the Share Your America program for Hyundai last summer to engage consumers around their summer road trip experiences. The Twitter
    page was

Views: 1315

Tags: Automotive Social, Case Studies, Social Media Campaign Examples, Social Media Marketing


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