The smart fortwo car (check out smartusa.com for a visual of the diminutive two-seater) is making its U.S. debut in U.S. car marketing style: by getting as many butts in seats as possible. But unlike the big auto campaigns smart is skipping the SUV-sized advertising blitz and is instead going grassroots.
The smart fortwo road show is making stops in 50 cities from May 19 to Nov. 4 hitting shopping malls festivals fairs and trendy creative-class entertainment districts. The tour is designed to build awareness in markets where dealerships are slated to open but the main objective is to get people in the cars to combat the inevitable concerns that come with the idea of a two-seater: size and safety.
“We felt it was important to get people into the car and take it to where they live ” Ken Kettenbeil director-communications for smart told Buzz. “People have to sit in it. We often get questions like ‘Hey I’m 6-foot-3 and I’ll never fit in that car.’ But they can.”
Consumers can jump into one of five smart fortwos for a test drive sit in a static display car or visit the 38-foot trailer to check out interactive displays and brand and safety videos on plasma screens. Visitors can also log on to a laptop and sign up for a monthly e-newsletter or make a $99 reservation for a car on the spot. (The smart fortwo is scheduled to be available in early 2008.) Current reservation holders get pinged when the tour is coming to their hometown.
To reiterate the safety message plasma screens in the trailer play crash test videos and outside the unit product specialists are on hand to walk attendees through a safety cell (steel cage) display.
To date the tour has logged 17 000 test drives and more than 20 000 people have placed $99 reservations. In addition to the tour smart is sending out a second street team in smart fortwos to hand out t-shirts and you guessed it to get people to sit in the car. Agency: AMCI Marina del Rey CA.