carwow is known as a straight-talking brand with massive scale. As the world’s biggest automotive channel on YouTube and Europe’s largest new car marketplace it is used to big numbers. But the success of its recent campaign with Vauxhall promoting the Corsa-e, the electric version of the UK’s second best-selling car, raised the bar for branded content campaigns, with genuinely impressive quantifiable results. This was particularly remarkable as it was achieved without a penny being spent on paid search. It was also the first campaign where a brand had access to carwow’s renowned commercial and editorial expertise.
More than 1 million organic views is a noteworthy achievement in any vertical, but particularly so in the newly-cluttered marketplace of electric vehicle (EV) launches. Car manufacturers are rushing to introduce new models in the face of both shortened UK government timescales for electric-only new car sales (now 2030) and the new 95g/km CO2 EU fleet-wide emissions targets that come into force in 2021, arguably the world’s toughest restrictions.
As major manufacturers are forced either to cap their own petrol and diesel sales, or engage in carbon-swapping schemes in order to avoid huge fines, they are trying furiously to launch full and hybrid EV versions of their best-selling cars, as well as entirely new vehicles. Into this noisy clutter, enter Vauxhall’s Corsa-e, the first electric variant of its best-selling model – as well as the first new product launch since Vauxhall’s takeover by PSA.
Vauxhall was not to know, of course, that the launch would coincide with a pandemic-induced lockdown that meant test-driving was more difficult. However, via Mediacom, it was able to become the first brand to secure access to carwow’s editorial team to create a native content campaign. Faced with the huge interest in, but many questions about, EVs, they created a multi-strand campaign together that balanced the needs for entertainment and education among prospective Corsa-e buyers.
In practical terms that meant trying to reach multiple touchpoints along the consumer purchase funnel. These included headline sponsorship of carwow’s popular ‘electric hub’, sponsorship of key EV tools, including the fuel chooser and charging point finder and the creation of exclusive video content designed to be entertaining and informative. Both Vauxhall and Mediacom were able to work closely with carwow’s commercial lead, Sepi Arani, and its editorial team, led by carwow’s chief content officer.
In addition to the sponsorship, the long-form native content created in the collaboration produced some impressive results. Those 1 million+ organic views resulted in a remarkable view-through rate of 72 per cent and drove thousands of configurations of the Corsa-e on the carwow website and over 1,700 enquiries to the Vauxhall network itself. These direct response results, combined with the added brand value of existing evergreen content provide clear, helpful advice for consumers looking to switch to EV. It has helped to establish Vauxhall as thought leaders in this space.
Lynette Wong, head of media at Vauxhall, said: “We were looking for an innovative partner, that could help us achieve a full funnel campaign for Corsa-e. carwow helped provide our consumers with inspiration, knowledge and ease of purchase. Not only had they exceeded our objectives and expectations, but allowed us to tap into their editorial expertise to create excellent, informative content that we have gone on to use in our own channels. Their unique proposition enabled us to target highly relevant audiences with engaging content that resulted in a truly outstanding partnership.”
Harriet Waldron, the associate director at Mediacom who led the partnership, said: “We are excited to be the first brand to utilise carwow’s expert editorial team, and impressed with the collaboration and seamless delivery of the content created by carwow. They understood Vauxhall’s brand identity and were able to weave this into their editorial tone of voice to create content that worked brilliantly for both brands. The results speak for themselves.”
Sepi Arani, Commercial Lead at www.carwow.co.uk, commented: “With competition in this space uniquely fierce as manufacturers race to meet their obligations, something unique was called for. It is a credit to Mediacom and Vauxhall how quickly this went from idea to reality, as well as a testament to the quality of the pre-existing relationship we had built through smaller, high performance campaigns that focused more on the purchase journey that they trusted our direction enough to move investment away from traditional ad spend for something more innovative - with multiple levels.
“For carwow, this was the perfect extension of a long term partnership with Vauxhall,” Arani continued, “and completely aligned to our own mission to educate and empower car buyers to make the right choice for their lifestyle and budget.”
The high level of interest in the branded content and the follow-through numbers suggest that Vauxhall was right to take the approach of doing something genuinely different to help launch Corsa-e. In the light of the continuing restrictions forced upon the industry by pandemic-related lockdown, it is clear immersive branded content may be one of the more significant replacements for the full trial experience.