No automotive segment is more prone to the “sea of sameness” curse than Sport Utility Vehicles (SUVs). American roads are overrun with a swarm of indiscernible SUVs of similar shapes, sizes, and styles — and American consumers are inundated with SUV marketing that’s all too often homogenous and interchangeable.
Our challenge was to make waves in the SUV sea of sameness. To make a splash on social feeds. And to highlight the modern, stylish family of Chevy SUVs while persevering each vehicle’s distinct persona. Our budget and timing didn’t allow for a traditional location shoot, so we needed to find a creative way to make our SUVs stand out from the pack — and stand together as a diverse lineup.
So, we looked to the worlds of illustration and music — specifically, the ethereal, chilled-out world of lofi art and hip-hop. This trending style is known for its distinct, painterly illustrations and low-key, relaxing tracks. It’s an emerging style that’s instantly recognizable and, luckily for us, not yet adopted by the automotive industry.
Our idea: Tap into the lofi trend to create a novel visual style and sound for the Chevy family of SUVs and each vehicle’s unmistakable personality.
Before we did anything, we immersed ourselves in the world of lofi. We combed through dozens of illustrators and musicians, studying their styles and identifying key characteristics that define this genre. Our goal was to be as authentic as possible — from the production of our music track to level of detail in our illustrations to the animated style of each SUV. And, of course, everything still needed to match the modern, optimistic Chevy brand look and feel.
Once we defined our musical and artistic palette, we outlined a treatment for our animators to use as a guide. We envisioned a reel where each SUV would inhabit a unique environment befitting its persona, comprised of scenes woven together into a cohesive piece where each setting flowed logically into the next. Our animation would be understated, other-worldly and packed with subtle details.
Our creative and production teams worked together to identify the ideal local animation vendor to breathe life into our lofi vision. Enter: Lunar North, a Detroit-area animation studio.
We presented the talented team at Lunar North with our reference materials, written treatment, and music track, and got to work. First, we created each SUV’s custom environment, populating it with low-key touches — from shooting stars and fireflies to falling rain and shimmering lights (even a hint to YouTube’s famous LoFi Girl, hidden in a window). We also used CAD data to ensure that each SUV was completely product-accurate, but conversely, we incorporated techniques to ensure each vehicle looked like a digitally animated part of our world.
Additionally, we optimized content to each social platform, with custom aspect ratios and post copy. We even gave our TikTok version a music track native to the platform’s commercial library, ensuring that our piece felt as authentic to TikTok as possible.
We also curated our own Chevy lofi playlist on Spotify, consisting of 25 tracks from an array of notable lofi artists. Each post drove to this playlist, creating an integrated approach that fully immersed viewers.
Ultimately, with our partners at Lunar North, we created Chevy SUV content that looked unlike anything else in the automotive space. We managed to highlight each SUV’s persona while still tying them together as a unit. And our leveraging of the lofi trend not only painted our SUVs in an entirely new light (literally) — it also allowed us to appeal to an entirely new audience.
Our lofi vibes were chill — but the response was anything but.
Our post was picked up by Chevy dealers, and out of 2,478 eligible dealers, 860 engaged with the content, resulting in an engagement rate of 34.7%. This generated 78,243 impressions, 53 click-throughs and 521 engagements — making it one of the most successful Chevy dealer social posts ever.
On our organic feeds, we racked up 146,919 views and 6,572 engagements, with above-average views and comment interaction on Instagram (99,474 views and 76 comments).
Ultimately, we achieved what we set out to create — a standout piece of SUV content that couldn’t be ignored. And we’re already talking about ways to go bigger with lofi-inspired pieces in 2023.
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