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Capturing the minds and hearts of the nation


Football supporters during the World Cup under falling confetti

We're going to win the cup

  • Category: Automotive Digital Marketing

Ever bought or sold a car through Auto Trader? It’s the UK’s largest digital marketplace for motors. There was a general perception that they only sold used cars, but they also sold new ones and wanted Kin + Carta Connect to promote that fact. A brand social media marketing campaign was planned for summer 2018 but there was a small event called The World Cup taking place at the time. Who was going to listen to Auto Trader when football was coming home? How could we cut through the noise and, in fact, use the World Cup as an advantage?

In this social media example, we explain how we beat out expectations. We achieved a 21% share of voice on Twitter, even beating official World Cup sponsors such as Coca-Cola.

Mobile screenshot of AutoTrader Twitter account

Route one thinking

Sometimes the simplest ideas are the best ones and that was the case with #AutoTraderGoals. You could win a brand-new car for every goal England scored during the World Cup. Simple as.

To be in with a chance of winning, people posted #AutoTraderGoals on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram after each England goal was scored.

Auto Trader wanted to go big with this one and planned a cross-channel campaign including DOOH, Print, Radio, Online, Paid Social, Branded Content, PR and a partnership with UNILAD. To support we adopted a strategy called ’tease, fanfare and sustain’ to make the most of the budget and make as much noise as possible.

The campaign depended on England’s World Cup success. At the time, optimism was in short supply and it was impossible to know how long or how costly #AutoTraderGoals would be. The campaign needed an agile delivery model and responsive team to react in real time to what happened on the pitch. Little did we know that we’d still be working almost until the end of the tournament.

 Car buyer smartphone screen

Bulding momentum

We launched the campaign two weeks ahead of the tournament. This was a time to raise awareness of the competition amongst existing and new audiences. A new tone of voice was created specifically for the campaign, that mirrored the (mainly) friendly pub banter that would be taking place across the UK throughout the World Cup.

We also invested in a Like to Remind partnership with Blue Robot. This involved sending messages to people’s phones an hour before kick-off. We ended up sending 19,200 of them in the end. Even huge brands such as Nike couldn’t match this performance.


Going to war

For each England match a ‘war room’ was established. This was staffed by members of our team working an intense six-hour shift across every social channel. They were armed with a beer, content plans and assets for anything that might happen. It meant we were able to react at lightning speed to events on the pitch and reply to individual comments.

The banter was flying during the matches but we had gifs, posts and images for all the on-pitch drama, from near misses to injuries or penalties.


Say hello to Neil

England started to smash it. Auto Trader gave away six new cars during the England-Panama game and there was a lot of comment about Auto Trader’s Finance Director being miserable at signing off the campaign. Quite rightly so.

Within hours, the fictional character of Neil, the Finance Director, became an unlikely hero. We began work on scripts and filming then Auto Trader rapidly posted a professionally-shot spoof video featuring Neil, praying for Colombia’s success in the final qualifying match. The nation loved it.

Covered in glory

England defied expectations on the pitch and #AutoTraderGoals played a MOTM performance in beating all targets around competition entries and engagement rates.

#AutoTraderGoals dominated social media chatter when England played, trending in the top ten for the UK on Twitter after every goal. In most instances, it was the only brand trending at that time, at one point above #WorldCup.





Here’s a few more stats that have resulted in multiple awards for the campaign

21% SoV on Twitter in the UK
277k Uses of #AutoTraderGoals
41M Page impressions

#AutoTraderGoals surpassed all expectations. The engagement from brand new audiences has been phenomenal, both in terms of its volume and sentiment. What stands out for me is how agile the team were throughout, being able to react in real time to events outside of our control.

Lei Sorvisto, Audience & Brand Director at Auto Trader

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