In 2017 Suzuki gave us our biggest challenge yet: launch the brand-new Suzuki Ignis to a brand new audience. The Ignis is a model designed to bring a younger, female, car buyer to the brand. This was complicated in two ways. First, Suzuki had never previously targeted this group. Second, the work we’ve done to make the brand famous has all been targeted to families. In the eyes of 20-something women Suzuki was decidedly uncool.
The brief was to quickly reach and engage this completely new audience. Our target? 6,000 cars to be sold in the first year.
To make things even more complicated, the small-car market was in free-fall, dropping year on year.
What we did
Car brands don’t get women. Pink cars, adverts full of cosmetics and fluffy childlike imagery is patronising and out of touch. Our quant research found that, like men of their age, 20-something women were looking for adventure and independence. But we also researched the content young women regularly consume, and the response was damning. Hardly any of it could be described as delivering adventure or independence.
This was our opportunity: to place the Ignis at the heart of messaging which celebrates and promotes the adventure and independence our audience is seeking. Working with E4, we created a brand-new TV format designed to engage their young female viewers. All Star Driving School is a TV series about the trials of learning to drive, but ultimately about the adventure and independence the first-time car can grant its owner. We’d then amplify the stories of adventure which came out of the show, in effect using the series to create messaging for the Ignis across multiple channels. With driving integral to the show we didn’t suffer from limitations on product placement. Across 15 weekly episodes, it didn’t matter which celebrity took the wheel as the Ignis was consistently the star of the show. Speaking of the celebrities, our social listening even helped us to select talent we knew our audience already love.
Those who passed their driving test in the series were rewarded with an Ignis. It allowed the car to continue facilitating their adventure and independence, featuring heavily within social stories. On the back of one such adventure we created a series of storytelling TV creatives starring Mark Francis and Kathryn Ryan, these were then used across a 10-week paid TV advertising campaign. We ran a 14-week campaign calling on Instagrammers to take advantage of test-drives and create adventures of their own, taking inspiration from those they’re seeing on screen. This was further supported by paid for influencer outreach and a series of Buzzfeed articles commissioned to provide even more ideas of adventure in the car.
The campaign re-wrote the rules on how cars should be marketed to women. When we began to set out the strategy in early 2017 we knew that change was in the air, but we couldn’t have anticipated just what an important year it would be for women. Our work was in tune with this, standing out from the pink’d up crowd, it demanded attention, drove engagement and importantly, drove sales:
329,000 people tuned into All Star Driving School every week, up 20% on the slot average (BARB)
All Star Driving School was the most talked about show on E4 in all of 2017 (Channel 4) and is to return for a second series in 2018
Our TV, influencer and BuzzFeed amplification reached a further 86% of 16-34-year-old women across the UK.