Everything changed with the COVID-19 pandemic, and this was no exception for Mazda. A brand with Japanese Heritage (Mazda helped rebuild the community in Hiroshima after the bomb hit the town in 1945) wanted to do something to support and applaud the frontline workers during this difficult time.
Mazda set aside $5M for offer free oil changes and enhanced cleaning services to healthcare workers regardless of the make of their car. Many people loved the enhanced cleaning of their car, as that was contaminated most going to and from their job. The campaign was designed not only to care for those caring for others, but to also focus on dealerships as places of support, not sales.
Our social and digital support focused on engagement and community management, making the experience as seamless as possible for healthcare workers – no red tape or long list of requirements.
COVID-19 created a new normal across the world and Mazda knew its messaging had to be altruistic, focused on the well-being of others. Specifically for social media, we focused on the heroes rather than the brand or the cars – it was about empathy anticipating others’ needs.
At its core, the concept was simple; ECC honored frontline workers during the pandemic with a ‘no strings attached’ oil change and enhanced cleaning, but the effort was heavy on execution to properly spread the word.
In under two weeks, Social created and published seven (7) organic posts across Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, along with a well-informed response strategy about the program. The posts drove to a simple landing page instructing healthcare workers on how to redeem the offer. To activate the conversation on social channels, we deployed heavy community management in support of the program, answering questions, sharing content and expressing gratitude to health care workers. Once we had reached fans in our community, we deployed a targeted paid social campaign to eligible healthcare workers, employed at one of ~30 different types of medical facilities.
During that time, we not only announced the program and launched it across social, but the campiagn was also driven by public relations. Our Public Relations Team conducted proactive outreach to national, regional, Hispanic and automotive endemic media. The team distributed the press release across PRNewswire and Inside Mazda to support SEO, and also developed and distributed press materials to dealers so they could help amplify the program. We honed-in on regional efforts to make sure there was a level of trust and comfort with the people relaying the news in this very politicized time. We also prioritized regions with higher concentrations of COVID cases and areas that had our “Retail Evolution” stores to ensure the experience for our healthcare workers was as optimal as possible.
The campaign also integrated an online experience on Mazda's website, integrated with CRM, and on-boarded dealers Nationwide. From a business standpoint, the Essential Car Care Program (ECC) was designed to position dealers as local heroes doing their part to help the community during the COVID-19 crisis, as well as build brand recognition and drive traffic and engagement at Mazda dealerships.
Overall, the ECC program was the most successful recent campaign with more than 1 billion estimated impressions. Fans praised the program on social media, through 23,073 engagements and reaching 344,739 users organically. There was a 7% increase over benchmarks for social sentimen. The creative resonated with Healthcare Worker Audiences, driving lifts in both Awareness (5.4%) and Consideration (1.8%) in a Facebook Brand Lift Study.
Additionally, the campaign generated significant coverage with 210 story placements as of May 12, 2020. There were a total of 50,550 oil changes for healthcare workers across 479 dealerships. 70% of oil changes were from car models other than Mazda. The ECC program helped increase dealership and digital traffic with 2,054 cars sold to healthcare workers since the program launched. Mazda’s website saw an increase of 61% in traffic after the launch of the program.
The campaign was so successful, it was extended an additional month.