Buying a car has been especially difficult since the pandemic with the increase in prices and the decrease in inventory. The pain has hit nearly everyone, but especially for those who desperately need a car. In fact, currently, there are:
1,000+ GoFundMe fundraisers for a car
4.7M+ TikTok views on videos about needing a car
The phrase “need a car” is searched more than “need a home” or “need a job” throughout 2022, according to Google Trends.
At TrueCar, we understand how important having a reliable car is. Our mission is to make car-buying easy, transparent, and convenient. For many, it means being able to pay rent and have food on the table. That’s why we launched the “I Need a TrueCar” Sweepstakes on Nov 18, 2022, to award 10 individuals $5000 each toward their next car purchase.
We used the sweepstakes to grow and reinforce the TrueCar brand, showcasing the impact we have on people’s lives by helping them with such a challenging purchase. The campaign focused on social media to generate virality and user-generated content. Our objective was to create brand awareness (launch TikTok), spark social conversation, and create value to position TrueCar as a helpful resource for car buying.
To participate, TikTok and Instagram users had to post a video telling us why they needed a car. The only requirements were to include the custom TrueCar song and use #ineedatruecar and #truecarsweepstakes in the caption.
We focused on three things: the right place (channels), the right time (capturing the holiday season), and the right message. As a result, TrueCar became part of the conversation, showing up authentically across the most popular social media platforms. Our strategy:
1. Psychology: Understand our key personas
The car is the largest lifetime purchase for many people. For any sweepstakes, the key is coming up with an award that would psychologically hook the audience (the prize, the chances of winning, the amount of effort) while still considering the overall campaign budget. We worked with our Research and Insights team to come up with the right giveaway: 10 individuals, $5000 each.
We scheduled this campaign to run through the holiday season, when giving and car-buying are most top-of-mind.
2. Authenticity: Partnered with Influencers who made sense.
We reached out to five brand ambassadors who know first-hand how impactful a car is in our lives to promote the campaign. This brought credibility, authenticity and encouraged participation.
3. Accessibility: Meeting people where they’re at
With a number of people expressing their struggles on social platforms like TikTok and Instagram, we decided to meet them where they’re at and host the campaigns on those channels. We purposefully kept it simple, allowing people to be creative in how they chose to share why they need a car — voiceover, text-on-screen, dance, etc.
4. Creativity: Cohesive full-funnel messaging across owned, earned and paid
We maximized the natural virality to drive even more awareness via earned and owned channels. We heightened community engagements and generated massive impressions and conversion. We saw nearly 10M earned impressions via press coverage.
This campaign was done completely in-house by a very lean team and a limited budget. We maximized all aspects of marketing leaning heavily into earned and owned media — focusing on WOM (the snowball effect), brand trust, and affinity. With a limited budget, we had to be very intentional and focus our efforts on what would drive the most impact. We leveraged TikTok resources and thoughtfully applied best practices to the campaign from start to finish, even down to the hashtags used. We built out a strategic content plan to encourage consumers to participate, used high-profile influencers to demonstrate legitimacy, and partnered with creators to inspire creativity. We partnered with a TikTok DJ to produce a custom “I Need a TrueCar” sound in less than 72 hours to create awareness and use it as the connecting element in the sweepstakes requirements. We were nimble, actively optimizing ad creative while creating compelling two-way dialogue through community management.
By the numbers:
23 million social impressions
6.8 million press coverage impressions
Nearly 300 video entries
25,000+ page visitors
3,500 new followers
As a result, TrueCar was able to gain massive awareness from a new group of customers, and meaningfully impact the lives of 10 people by awarding them $5,000 towards a car purchase. We were able to interview the winners (college grads, retirees, soon-to-be-moms) who are now able to put the money towards a down payment, increase their budget range and also repair their current cars.