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Home » Engagement, News, Social Media News

Social Media Spotlight: Fiat 500 say ‘ciao’ to daily deals

Submitted by on March 14, 2011 – 2:41 pm2 Comments

Here’s one for climate skeptics: iconic Italian car maker Fiat has teamed up with travel e-tailer LastMinute.com to bring deals to Londoners to mark the Fiat 500 TwinAir’s break with London’s notoriously pricey congestion charge. When it comes to building a long-term community around a brand, perhaps nothing works better than giving people something for nothing and the chance to show it off to their friends. Here’s the strategy.

The Social Strategy: Anyone with a car in London knows the deal. Vehicles bigger than a Mini, it seems, will cost the driver £10 a day for driving within London’s CO2 Congestion Charge Zone that covers much of the city. But one of the models that weighs in below the CC charge level is the new Fiat 500 with a TwinAir engine. Upon landing such a stealthy honor, Fiat is offering Londoners a variety of city deals that cost no more than a tenner. They include spa treatments, dining out at area restaurant meals, and a chance to win weekend prizes.

The campaign works like this. Users go to the Fiat 500 Loves Facebook page to gain access to the campaign deals, hosted by LastMinute.com. From there, users are encouraged to download the competition app and share the deals with friends for a chance to win a sweet weekend “getaway” for two. The app comes specially adapted to Facebook Places so participants can check-in at the deal hot-spots to show off on the fly to friends. Moreover, the campaign will offer more deals as more people Like the page and share their favorite things to do in London, giving the effort a bit more legs than just a Groupon knock-off.

The task, of course, involves building some initial drive to the Fiat 500 Loves page. After all, a deals site is only as good the number of participants. And, after three weeks, the Facebook page has steadily, steadily climbed to 1,060 fans, the fruit of  two London-based digital media agencies, Maxus and Grape Digital, at the helm.

Firstly, they’ve employed a cross-media strategy including newspaper ads in order to get Londoners talking. After that, building a ground-up community from nothing involves sustained social participation, so the page’s wall is full of posts broadcasting potential deals and encouraging fans to share favorite things (or observations) about London. It’s not Sun material, but it’s getting people talking.

Another important factor is that Fiat UK already has a Facebook page and a Twitter account with a combined following of about 5,300, so the interaction between the pages are an integral part of the campaign’s community building potential. You can see the bigger properties are already helping to spread the word.

Iain Fuller, Digital Strategist at Grape Digital, shared how the agency is balancing the new campaign page with the older, more established brand pages:

We thought it prevalent not to alienate any die hard car fans on the original pages. We are driving people from the Fiat UK Facebook and Twitter pages to this page, but toward the end of the campaign we will driving them back the other way. The campaign Facebook page will continue promotions of this type and will use this page as the catalyst to do so.

The Result: It may be too early to tell, but there are some promising signals here of a social media initiative with real legs wheels. Last year, the British Tourist Authority (VisitBritian.com) launched a similar sounding campaign called Love UK that offered special deals and contests powered by applications like Facebook Places. The campaign attracted 112,000 participating fans to the Facebook page. If we consider that success, plus the fact that this new Fiat campaign is riding on a popular environmental friendly ballot (and equally unpopular congestion charge), Fiat’s timely deals could start catching on like that of Groupon’s.

Looking more long-term, this Facebook effort could, in theory, be expanded to other cities, so building a more international community around the Fiat brand – or Fiat Loves sub-brand, we’re guessing – could mean literally picking up where London leaves off in another town.

Final Word: Despite the well-themed nature of the campaign and its capacity for “getting the locals talking,” the Fiat 500 Loves effort does give Fiat UK community something new to talk about.

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