How do you reintroduce an iconic car brand that disappeared from the market 15 years ago and has remained hidden beneath a layer of dust? How do you ensure that any negativity about the Chinese car industry does not drive the messaging, as you reintroduce the brand? How do you change the fixed mindsets of European motoring journalists? The challenge for Omnicom PR Group in the Netherlands was to avoid these roadblocks and enable the new MG ZS EV from MG Motor Europe and SAIC Motor Corporation Limited to disrupt and recharge Europe’s motoring market.
DRIVING CHANGE FROM THE OLD WORLD TO THE NEW
Combining MG’s iconic heritage with the vision of a bright, clean future, our strategy was to share MG’s new generation vehicles with a new generation of savvy motorists across Europe. The introduction of the flagship all-electric MG ZS EV was the ultimate proof that MG was back – and was responding to society’s
drive towards a more sustainable world.
We wanted to reinforce this transition in a powerful statement that could serve as a mantra for all our communications – RECHARGE YOURSELF – bolstered by the visualization of the electrical + and – poles.
‘Recharge yourself’ inspires motorists to embrace new ideas about a better world, and encourages jour nalists to refresh their viewpoint and look at the old MG brand through new eyes. The imagery of the + and – poles enabled us to make this transformation clear in all our messaging – a leap forward from the negative (past) to the positive (future) – effectively building on this new brand story through our campaign content.
OUT OF THE ORDINARY: THE PRESS LAUNCH
Reinforcing this move from the old to the new, we also forged a new path with our PR. Instead of a standard test drive on the Côte d’Azur, we wanted to recharge jaded car journalists, by providing an experience that highlighted our core messaging.
To do so we proudly presented the sustainable MG ZS EV against the backdrop of the old, fossil world – an old coal mine, C-mine in Genk, Belgium. This beautifully
restored coal mine has – just like the MG ZS EV itself risen from the ashes like a phoenix, and become a shining beacon for sustainability.
For cynical motor journalists, the unconventional location and approach proved a hit, and the most prestigious car magazines from France, Germany, Sweden, the Netherlands, Belgium, Norway and Denmark were all represented.
TAKING A SENTIMENTAL JOURNEY
The new MG is waving goodbye to the old, fossil world, and while we wanted to share and explore its sustainable future with journalists, we also wanted to celebrate its iconic heritage. So, what could be better than to make the transfer from Brussels airport to C-mine – where the new MG ZS EV was waiting – in a classic MG Roadster. For journalists, this was a dream opportunity to get behind the wheel of a vintage vehicle and revel in nostalgia, and was warmly received.
It also effectively highlighted the importance of the iconic values of the British brand for its new Chinese owners, SAIC Motor, and their wish to celebrate that
heritage while moving towards a more sustainable future.
Old and new, heritage and disruption, formed the foundation of the presentation at the C-mine complex. The history of the illustrious brand was at the heart of our messaging, and from there we built a bridge to the sustainable plans that SAIC has for the future of the European car market.
We ensured that our messaging was always front-of-mind through our consistent imagery, creating special duo parking spaces (+ and -) for jour nalists who could
park their roadster (the minus pole) on arrival, next to the sustainable ZS EV (the plus pole).
The welcoming plus and minus poles also decorated the carpet at the entrance, effectively communicating the transition messaging, with short films during the presentation enlivening the theme.
RETHINK. RESET. RECHARGE.
The launch event, and subsequent PR activities by Omnicom PR offices throughout Europe, have produced a huge amount of ‘free’ publicity, with 725 articles about the MG ZS EV published in print and online within four months. Millions of people across Europe have now discovered that the MG is back – and smarter than ever, with print articles alone representing an advertising value of more than $6 million.
Just as important has been the positive tone of the articles. Journalists have overwhelmingly noted that the MG brand is in safe and reliable hands with its new owners SAIC – and is driving into a more sustainable future with the new MG ZS EV. Ultimately, we’ve achieved lots of pluses and no minuses for the relaunch of a legendary brand!