“We, Chetan and Hema, are from Bangalore. We are here because of our love for adventure driving. We really enjoy hitting the road in our beloved machines and driving on endless journeys, be it the hills, countryside, woods or beaches. I feel an adrenaline rush whenever I wake up on a fine morning, stuff our backpacks, get into our car and head out of town with no particular destination in mind. Leave the world behind, just keep driving and forget everything. We are quite excited and just game for this driving challenge.” This is how one of the thousands of driving enthusiastic couples who have registered for the ‘The Great Driving Challenge’ introduces themselves.
The Great Driving Challenge is a unique marketing initiative conceptualised by Contract Advertising Chennai for its client Hindustan Motors Mitsubishi, which is gearing up to launch a new variant of its Cedia car, called Cedia Sports.
The activity, which kicked off on June 15, 2009, has been attracting a lot of couples, who are passionate about driving, to register. The campaign encourages couples to apply online on www.greatdrivingchallenge.com. Three selected couples will go on an all-expenses paid challenge in a customised Mitsubishi Cedia Sports for 12 days.
Each couple will have to complete 3,000 km in these 12 days. The drive will be flagged off from Mumbai and will also culminate in the same venue. All along the route, the three couples will have to blog about their experiences, take pictures and upload them. Interestingly, the couple can plan their own itinerary, although the organisers may give them some two or three points that they need to touch along their way.
The Website is open for registration and collection of votes is on till July 17. Audition and selection of the three finalist couples will take place on August 5, 2009, while the drive off phase is between August 5 and 17. The winner will be announced on August 17. The shortlisting and selection is being done by a panel of eminent jury consisting of Adil Jal Darukhanawala, Editor, Zigwheels, the official media partner of the event, and Tanya Chaitanya, Editor, Femina, besides others.
The campaign began on June 22 and there have reportedly been 2.06 lakh unique visitors as on July 8. While the total number of page views on the site is claimed to be around 17 lakh. The initiative has attracted 60,000 testimonials and votes and about 8,973 sign-up and applications. The Alexa rating of the site currently stands at 8,000.
Rajesh Mathew, Vice President, Contract Advertising Chennai, said, “Mitsubishi Cedia Sports is a driver’s car and one has to drive it to really feel the experience. To communicate that we thought we will have someone experience it and share the experience. All we wanted was to create a buzz around the new Cedia variant and we thought why no create that buzz in an interesting way. That is when The Great Driving Challenge was born.”
He added, “The thought was to capture the imagination of our customers online. We have been doing things the conventional way such as print and hoardings and they have worked in a way. Maybe, it’s a time to break new grounds. Also, we are launching a sports car and thought digital is a very good space to be in.”
Contract initially released an ad in The Times of India’s sports column asking people to register on the website. “We also had radio spots. We have also used social network sites like Facebook, Orkut, Twitter, etc., extensively for this campaign,” said Srreram Athray, Senior Creative Director, Contract Advertising Chennai.
He added that people could also vote for the applications besides giving testimonials to the registered couples. The quality of the applicants’ posts, voting, plus the testimonials that people have given – all these would matter while selecting the finalists, Athray said.
Sandip Maiti, CEO, Experience Commerce, the digital agency for this campaign, explained that The Great Driving Challenge was a web driven event. “Though it would culminate in an offline event, it is a web driven event and will continue to be a web driven event all through the way,” he added. The target audience for The Great Driving Challenge is 25-30+ audience. “We had our own doubts like will these people come in and upload their pictures. But when you look at the kind of people who are actively taking part in this contest, they are not the kind of people who normally associate with the Web medium,” Maiti noted.
He believed that the Web was actually a great conversion and engaging medium. The campaign broke on print. In the first three days, the website attracted some 5,000 visitors and the conversion rate was about 95 per cent, Maiti claimed.
“After seeing the ad, people came on the website and engaged for hours. They have now been engaged with the brand for the last three weeks and would continue to be engaged. So, the combination of print and web media has worked very well in this campaign,” Maiti further said.
Commenting on the initiative, MS Balaji, Executive Vice President & Head of South, Contract Advertising, said that conventional campaigns were aplenty and easy to do. “If you really want the consumers to take part seriously with your brand, you must embark on some activity which will interest to them,” he added.
Balaji further said, “When you combine what your brand offers and marry with what the consumers are seeking, then you get lot of interaction. As the market becomes highly competitive, we have to find more and more interesting ways of reaching out to the people. We have to do something that is of interest to them and not something that is of interest to us.”
Speaking about the initiative, Pritam Saikia, Head of Marketing, Hindustan Motors Mitsubishi, said that in all their previous launches they had predominantly used ATL. “Now we thought why not look at a BTL, because that is where the next marketing programme is heading towards. We wanted to set a benchmark for marketing programme, which merges traditional media with new media,” he explained.