As many of you know I am a big fan of social media. Search for me on Google and I hardly show up in the results, you won't find me at a bridal show, nor in paid ads inside a magazine. Instead all my business comes from word of mouth referrals and exposure via social media. When I heard about Mercedes-Benz launching a new campaign focused around social media, particularly Instagram, I decided to look into it. What I found is a perfect example of how companies can use social media contests to market themselves.
In an effort to build up excitement about their new entry luxury CLA targeted at Gen Y, Mercedes-Benz chose 5 of Instagram's top photographers based on their photos, number of fans and fan engagement. They are letting each photographer borrow the car for a one week period and have them post photos of their experience during that week. The photographer that gets the most amount of "Likes" on their images during that week wins a 3-year lease on the car. As they put it in their video, "It's not how fast or far you go, it's who follows you."
In an effort to give everyone else a chance to win the car as well, Mercedes-Benz is asking people to submit their own Instagram feed to their website www.CLATakeTheWheel.com. At the end of the contest they will choose one more Instagram user who best reflects their brand and give that person a lease on the car as well.
Mercedes-Benz will also be using their Facebook page with over 1.7 million users and cross-pollinate the campaign by posting regular photos from the Instagram contest to their Facebook page. Bernhard Glaser, VP of Marketing for Mercedes-Benz, has said that the contestants are not required to mention or even include any photos of the car in their posts but a quick glance at the Instagram feed page of Tim Landis and you'll see images of the car popping up. Can't blame the guy though. How could he not post images of such a beautiful car as he takes it on a journey.
Mercedes-Benz nailed it on this one. In short they hired for free photographers who have a tremendous following of users on Instagram, gave them a car for a week and asked them to share their experience. Throughout the next 5 weeks they will be sharing these great images through their Instagram feed and across Facebook stirring up a social media Sharknado. In the end, they give away a 3-year lease on the vehicle (the winner doesn't even get to keep the car.) The real winner in this one is Mercedes-Benz and much respect to them for coming up with such a great marketing campaign. "It's all about credibility, not pushing out marketing messages on Instagram or YouTube," Glaser says. "...the consumer we are reaching, is 32 years old -- who sees the car and brand his own way, and that's our approach for CLA. We're not trying to push marketing messages out; we are using social media holistically and telling a story."