How do you introduce a new model by an iconic car brand to journalists and partners in 13 European markets, when the world has come to a standstill due to COVID-19? Unfortunately not by moving forward with the organization of a live launch event in Germany. So we, as The hub agency Omnicom PR Group in the Netherlands, had to quickly come up with a digital, and equally successful, high quality launch of the MG EHS Plug-in Hybrid. Automotive media first and foremost want to experience and test drive the actual car, so how are we going to engage them in the same way digitally? Challenge accepted!
How to see, smell and feel a car during the new normal
Most journalists are interested in physically seeing and test driving a new car. They want to experience and ‘feel’ the wheels. But due to the COVID-19 restrictions and “the new normal” we had to improvise quickly and create a completely new, yet equally exciting approach for everyone involved. We shifted gears towards a fully virtual launch, but our client MG Motor Europe was very clear: this virtual event would have to meet the same high-quality standards and results as any other event. The bar had been set high.
MG is For You
Based on research and strategic messaging sessions with MG Motor Europe we developed a storyline for brand and product messaging. This storyline was supported by the creative concept that our advertising partner DDB produced for the MG EHS Plug-in Hybrid. The slogan: ‘MG is For You’ if you want to embark on the electric lifestyle.
The new normal: delivering in style
With that slogan in mind, we also embarked on a digital and virtual strategy to, despite the COVID-19 limitations, make the car launch available for all European automotive journalists. Together with our automotive creative content partner, Mayster, we created a virtual event that engaged media and let them experience the new MG in a livestream in design, interior, features and vision. We even created a dedicated WhatsApp number so that live viewers could ask questions personally and receive the necessary 1-1 attention. In addition to organizing a digital launch event, we still wanted to facilitate actual test drives for journalists. So, if in the “new normal” journalists are not allowed to come to our car, then we will bring our car to the journalists. How? By delivering the new car to the press in local markets in style: in a huge and festive MG Christmas truck.
The surprise of social media
The truck toured throughout Europe and delivered the new car to journalists so they could physically experience the car in the Netherlands, Germany and Belgium. We integrated all channels by also including the eye-catching Christmas truck and new car in an emotionally appealing consumer video, resulting in high quality content for MG’s Social Media pages.
13 European markets
To ensure an integrated and consistent activation throughout the continent, we produced press releases, detailed Q&As, car specs, photos and videos and offered these materials to our PR managers and affiliates across the 13 European markets for local activation. The MG management team was media trained to ensure they delivered the MG message in the best possible way. And last but not least, their own LinkedIn presence was leveraged among the target audience with a focus on the benefits of the new car as well as MG’s thought leadership about the electric lifestyle.
Free publicity all over the continent
Viewers watched the online event from all over the continent. The event was a very high quality, 30 minute livestream on YouTube on 7 December 2020. This virtually revealed the MG EHS Plug-in Hybrid to the world, as well as presented MG’s strategic plans for the future in a presentation by CEO Matt Lei. It was seen by an amazing 1,328 viewers. Together with the live Q&A for 207 journalists from 11 nationalities, these media engagement figures far surpassed what we could have ever reached with a physical event of normally 40 European media. Now that we are talking about big numbers: this targeted media engagement resulted in an enormous amount of free publicity for MG in only 1 month time. To date, a total of 544 articles were published about the MG EHS Plug-in Hybrid.
And this number is still increasing as test drives are still taking place across Europe. So far, the integrated launch and live events has resulted in a staggering media reach of 467 million people across Europe.
Viewers of online event
Confirmed journalists attending live launch
Diversity in nationalities of attending journalists
Countries receiving press materials
Articles published about the EHS Plug-in Hybrid
Media reach to date
Make electric driving accessible in mainland Europe
These numbers highlight the ambition of MG to make electric driving accessible in mainland Europe. The courage of an iconic brand like MG to launch a new car, an experiential product, virtually and digitally really paid off. Just like during the previous relaunch of the iconic car brand that came back to the market after 15 years, MG has showed once again that accessible electric driving is futureproof and here to stay.