motors.co.uk 'Cardio Tai Chi Tour' - events and PR

What Acceleris was asked to do

Motors.co.uk has been an Acceleris client since launching in 2007 and has since grown to become the UK’s second largest used car website. The business is owned by A & N Media, the consumer division of the Daily Mail and General Trust plc and motors.co.uk is the branded motoring supplement for over 100 local newspapers.

Through previous PR initiatives including tie-ups with the Office of Fair Trading and motoring authority Quentin Willson, the site has developed a positive reputation as a trusted and safe place to buy and sell cars online.

In May 2010 the website underwent a complete redesign which was accompanied by the launch of a new advertising and branding campaign by the creators of the Comparethemeerkat. This introduced the website’s new brand character, ‘MotorSensei’, a wise man who provides car buyers with a trusted source of advice and information.

Acceleris was briefed with supporting the launch of the ‘MotorSensei’ branding by targeting three distinct audiences:

1. Consumer – Customers and potential customers of the site
2. Trade – Car dealers who advertise on the site and potential advertisers
3. Internal – As the motoring partner for the Northcliffe newspaper titles the new branding needed to be rolled out to the network of motors.co.uk representatives and sales staff at each newspaper title

The PR campaign had to effectively reach these three groups and communicate the change in branding whilst ensuring that the website’s original key messages were maintained.

Additionally as an online business, motors.co.uk wanted to increase the website’s presence online and begin to engage more effectively with online media titles, bloggers and users of social media.

What we did

Acceleris developed a creative PR campaign that would generate strong media interest whilst communicating the change in branding and the key messages of the campaign.

To bring the MotorSensei to a wider audience, the CARdio Tai Chi Tour was developed which would involve a series of events featuring Tai Chi displays being performed by a promotional team of staff named the ‘Sensei’s Students’.

Tai Chi was chosen because of its natural fit with the new branding and because Tai Chi displays would create an eye-catching and memorable stunt to enable the new brand to be communicated effectively.

The events sites were chosen to coincide with key Northcliffe newspapers titles and each event was promoted beforehand in paper and online with display advertising and editorial. A database of martial arts and health clubs was contacted to publicise the events.

To target the online audience, Tai Chi expert Dean Hodgkin was employed to present a video guide of Tai Chi exercises that could be performed in the car to relax motorists and improve concentration behind the wheel. The video guide was posted on the motors.co.uk website, Facebook, YouTube and other smaller video sharing sites such as Metacafe. The guide was also promoted in a launch press release, through a targeted e-shot to the motors.co.uk’s customer database and on social media sites.

To create press interest in the campaign, Acceleris branded a number of mini bonsai trees with creative adverts featuring the MotorSensei which were posted to key motoring journalists and bloggers. This was then followed up with a strong news story identifying the lack of confidence amongst car buyers and the need for additional consumer information. The press story promoted the CARdio Tai Chi Tour as well as the benefits to motorists of the in-car video guide.

The news story was distributed to national motoring, media & marketing, online consumer and motoring trade press as well as regional broadcast and newspaper titles. The story was also distributed via three online newswires and the Press Association.

The Results

The campaign resulted in extensive media coverage across key motoring, media & marketing titles as well as generating significant coverage in regional press and broadcast media.

In total, 69 per cent of media coverage was generated online effectively reaching motors.co.uk’s key audience and exceeding targets for online coverage.

Overall, the campaign achieved a readership of over 2.8m people and reached a potential 24m unique users online. The online video was viewed more than 2,000 times in the first four weeks of the campaign alone and as a result of the campaign, the MotorSensei Facebook group received a 300% increase in people ‘liking’ the Sensei.

The MotorSensei Twitter feed also received a more than 400% increase in ‘followers’ during the campaign.

Four day-long Tai Chi classes were held in Bristol, Chelmsford, Nottingham & Hull with over 5,000 people attending the events in total.

Motors.co.uk branding was visible throughout each event and Tai Chi classes were also held in Northcliffe newspaper offices with 25 people per class (on average) taking part.

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