In 2017, General Motors made the groundbreaking decision to shift its core product focus from internal combustion engine vehicles to electric vehicles (EVs). EVs are critical to making GM’s vision of a world with Zero Crashes, Zero Emissions and Zero Congestion a reality. But the effort needed a bold stroke to show the world the company is all in.
So how does General Motors prove they’re serious and, in the process, grab everyone’s attention? By transforming the legendary, gas-guzzling GMC HUMMER into the GMC HUMMER EV, a commanding truck with unheard-of performance and capability.
The challenge was to craft a story memorable enough to penetrate beyond just car enthusiasts and “car guys.” What’s more, it needed to push limits and be provocative enough to burnish GMC’s image as a technology leader.
The epic new GMC HUMMER EV’s story needed to be as big and powerful as the vehicle itself. Unfortunately, in March of 2022, many COVID restrictions were still in place, creating barriers for many key media members to attend a live unveiling. Shifting perceptions of a vehicle this iconic was going to be tough as is, so we needed to get extra creative.
First, we hired a documentary film crew who spent over a year filming every detail and phase of the HUMMER EV’s design, engineering, testing, and manufacturing. The film documented the dedication, innovation, grit, and experience of all the GM teams involved.
An “At-Home Watch Kit” mailer was sent to media members ahead of the documentary’s debut, which was scheduled to go live a week before the media drive in Phoenix, Arizona. The kit, packaged in a handcrafted box, included a personalized letter, detailed visuals of the HUMMER EV’s exterior and interior, a HUMMER EV-branded stadium blanket and a variety of Michigan-themed snacks, perfect for enjoying while watching the documentary.
The full-length feature, titled “REVolutionary” debuted on the History Channel on March 27.
When it was time to take it to the streets, we knew the event couldn’t disappoint. One of the HUMMER EV’s most exciting features is four-wheel steering, which allows it to “crab walk.” Another is what we call “Watts To Freedom” — a way to activate, via a push-button, up to 1,000 horsepower from its electric motors. We colloquially coined this feature “WTF” and used this acronym across social media and OOH. “WTF is going on in Phoenix—the SuperTruck is coming to town” we teased in preparation for a multi-wave, multi-event, three-week long media drive scheduled for March 20.
The night before the media drive, we staged a surprise, guerilla-style HUMMER EV parade through the streets of Phoenix. The parade was viewed by thousands, many of whom shared images of the vehicles crab walking through the streets in unison. It garnered so much in-person and social media buzz that GM leadership immediately decided to repeat the event in other cities around country, including Washington D.C.
Turns out audiences were as enthralled with the GMC HUMMER EV as we were.
85% of the invited media and influencers wrote a story or posted on social media.
The WTF social media campaign garnered 1.48M impressions and reached 468K people.
On YouTube there were 1.8M views across 49 videos, accounting for 33% of the total EER.
1,016 total broadcast clips were collected with a combined Potential Viewership & Station Reach of 23.1M.
Most importantly, the new GMC HUMMER EV managed to successfully reframe its image, proving that this iconic supertruck could push limits with never-before-seen capabilities — and be eco-friendly at the same time.
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