Renault introduced the popular European city car, the Twingo, to South Africa in December, combining live promotions, competitions, website and social media to reach a very finely targeted market. Renault’s Xavier Diquet tells what happened, what worked, and what was learned.
Renault SA flirts with social mediaRenault launched the new Twingo to South Africa with the Flirting with Life campaign, combining tried-and-tested marketing tactics with some novel approaches using social media channels. The Twingo is new to this country, and is a nippy little city car that the company says has been incredibly successful in Europe. It’s safe (loads more safety features than segment competitors), very frugal, has a cheeky, stylish design and very clever use of interior space. Renault positions the car as “one for the ladies”, with a core market in trendy, hip urban women in the 25 to 35 age group that want a practical but fun runabout that stands out from the rest.
The challenge for Renault SA was building a buzz around the car’s introduction, but also rapidly getting real customers behind the wheel. Ambitious sales targets, very tight marketing budgets and tough economic times for potential customers required some creative thinking.
The campaign was conceptualised in three main areas: the Flirting With Life competition website and related promotions, the “Twingo Hotties” and their face-to-face activation work, and the Facebook campaign that provided a way to reach new people more quickly. The core message was that the car was not only better featured than its rivals, but sexier and more fun, with customisations that could make it more “you”. The marketing campaign ran around these themes: young/fun/sexy, and choice. What every woman wants.
In the traditional advertising world, the campaign could be written off as nice try or a near miss – the numbers of people reached were only in the thousands. On closer examination, however, you can see that it was a great marketing success. We reached only the people we wanted to reach – almost perfect targeting.
The Flirting With Life site introduced the “Twingo Hotties”, four sexy guys who were brand ambassadors, lending their good looks and charm to close the gap between the arms-length online world and real life. The Flirting With Life site at http://www.newtwingo.co.za was designed to be fun – playful and irreverent, letting women “customise” the Hottie they chose with vacuum cleaners, oven gloves, fur-lined handcuffs and more, and then add a funny speech bubble. And share it with their friends.
Because the Twingo is “one for the ladies”, the call to action was to enter the Flirting With Life competition which would see forty lucky women win either a day of sybaritic pampering at the Hyatt, or an exclusive night out clubbing, with French champagne, delicious (but light) food and more. The campaign was designed by Offlimit, with web design by Mustardseed.
The Hotties hit the streets over December and January, visiting major Joburg nightspots, with the big finale at the competition days.
The Flirting With Life website (http://www.newtwingo.co.za) went live in December, seeing 667 unique visitors in December, 1,824 in January and 2,194 in February to date. Visitors could customise their “Hottie”: 677 people enthusiastically jumped in, with 502 referring friends, and 1,411 women entered the competition.
To reach out further, Renault called on Sentient Digital to help with social media. Four Facebook profiles were created for the Hotties, along with a Facebook group (Flirting With Life). The profiles were designed to show the fun online personas, providing a safe and tongue-in-cheek place to engage with the guys. Pictures of the Hotties were uploaded, along with video clips and the radio ads that were running, where the Hotties joshed each other, and swapped outrageous stories about being out on the streets with their Twingos saving the day.
Stories, images and other media were also added to a blog hosted on Blogspot (flirting-with-life.blogspot.com), ensuring that material could be found if people used the popular search engines.
Flirting with results
Overall, we were very happy with the results: over 4,685 unique visitors to the site in three months, and 1,411 competition entries. We know we reached exactly the people we wanted on Facebook (a massive advantage of this network is the detailed user profile), and possibly many more who didn’t “friend” the Hotties or join the group, but saw some of the material. The radio ad campaign was well received, and the 20 ladies who won the competition had a fabulous day pampering at the Hyatt (the other 20 are up this weekend for their night of glamorous clubbing in the next week).
By the end of February the Hotties had 1,042 Facebook friends – almost all uniques, there was very little overlap between friends groups. Since Facebook is a social site, not a place where you want to be harassed by clumsy marketers, the approach was subtlety – ensure that the Twingo brand and selected key messages were communicated in a friendly, non-intrusive way.
One guaranteed way to be sure you’re not irritating people: do they “unfriend” you? Over the three months of the campaign, Facebook friend numbers grew steadily. There were only two negative responses, who were immediately added to a “don’t contact” list.
In the activation activities, the Hotties visited some of Joburg’s hottest night spots, chatting to scores of women – again all clearly seen to be the desired demographic. On the weekends of the 21st and 27th February the 40 winners – 20 per weekend – had the time of their life being alternately pampered or jolled-out at Jozi nightspots.
The truth is that in social media marketing there is still everything to learn. We are all pioneers, we are all experts, we are all beginners – the technology platforms are new, the way people interact with them are new, the ways brands can interact with people are new.
There are things we would do differently in future – Facebook is a hugely popular platform with South Africans, but it is a tricky medium to use as a marketing channel. The key to success is creating the seed for a community to grow, finding a common interest that draws people in. How we use Facebook in future will change, and we will look increasingly at “open” communities that are exposed to the public Internet (as opposed to walled gardens like Facebook).
However, the lessons learned were invaluable for Renault South Africa, both as we move forward with the second phase of the Twingo campaign (which will be sexier, more glamorous and even more fun), and as we get ready to launch other new models.
In the new world of highly targeted social marketing, the Flirting with Life campaign was not only an invaluable experiment in how to use new technologies, but a case study in how to achieve laser-like focus with a finely segmented market.