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Car Companies Using New Sights, Sounds for Promos

Auto makers have just wrapped up showcasing their new models at the North American International auto show in Detroit and many will soon be advertising during the Super Bowl on February 5. However, it is far from business as usual, since car buyers have been impacted by the economy and distracted by so many media options.

As a result, auto companies have had to adapt and be more unique when advertising and promoting their vehicles. Brands across the spectrum — from economy to luxury, domestic and foreign — have tried alternative timelines and communications tools to generate increased consumer interest. They’ve been hosting contests, posting teaser ads online, using new advertising venues and creating audio files. Below are selected examples.


A recent TIME article focuses on auto manufacturers using pre-event buzz to sell vehicles. Chevrolet launched a Super Bowl ad contest where consumers could view and vote for their favorite ads created by filmmakers. “Chevy Happy Grad,” above, was the winner.

A Los Angeles Times story reported that Kia Motors will be releasing a teaser of its Super Bowl ad in movie theatres a few days before February 5. The ad, entitled, “The Dream,” features the band Motley Crue and a Victoria Secret supermodel to promote its Kia Optima midsize sedan. We couldn’t find it after a quick search online, but we’ll update this post if we do.*

And, of course, there’s the Volkswagen teaser commercial for its Super Bowl commercial, which has been viewed over seven million times so far on YouTube.

Separate from the Super Bowl promotional hype, Bentley Motors, a high-end brand also owned by Volkswagen embarked on a “company-wide effort to contemporize its image,” according to its communications director, Michael Baumann, who spoke at the IABC/Prime Research conference late in November.

Bentley is seeking a younger audience, has launched its new models in new locales, including Croatia, and gone are the dark green racing colors worn in the company showrooms. Also, its Mulsanne model features Apple products. Digital press kits and mobile apps have been introduced to integrate with social media channels. As Baumann commented, “For the pinnacle of British motoring, this was quite a step.”

Bentley’s teaser campaign for its new Continental V8 model is an audio file highlighting the sounds of the car’s engine as it takes a test drive. So plug in your headphones, sit back and listen. Picture yourself motoring around the English countryside near Highclere Castle.

*We’ve now got the Kia clip (below) and the best part is the man on the rhino.

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