HOW CARS PREDICTED DUTCH GENERAL ELECTIONS September 2012, the media is heating up for the final stage of the Dutch elections. Public conversations and media are centered around political parties, their key players and polls. The amount of undecided voters never has been so high so close to election day and a great part of Dutch citizens are looking for clues how to vote. We decided to give them a clue very close to election date with a lighthearted angle from an unexpected source. Could we enter this very cluttered conversation and make a commercial message relevant? The answer is yes! Here is how we made cars part of everyday conversations and were able to ride the Dutch elections. SITUATION Marktplaats (part of eBay classifieds) is the biggest trade platform in the Netherlands for nearly every product. With 6,5 million unique monthly visitors everybody knows Marktplaats. Based on visitors and volume of cars, the used car section is the biggest car platform in the Netherlands but is not always recognized as such by the market (potential buyers and sellers) and (trade) press. The key message that Marktplaats has a car for everybody in every occasion needs to get more attention with the different audiences. So far it has been difficult for Marktplaats to get this message across mainly because Marktplaats is not recognized as a car platform. Specially the trade press has been difficult so far. STRATEGY In order to create the stereotypes, we set‐up and executed quantitative consumer research (N=1000) where we asked consumers to connect the different party leaders to cars. An important part of our strategy was the decision to limit the amount of cars in the research and use these specific cars and brands that are already seen as a stereotype. A fundamental choice to make sure outcomes are meeting expectations. To translate the raw data and visualize the stereotypes with a maximum effect, we created a strong visual cue through an infographic as a campaign carrier. The infographic is used to carry the key message and to procreate an extra proof point to support that message. By adding monthly search volumes of the different (stereotyped) cars, we were able to tell a corporate story and predict the Dutch elections. The infographic is not only used to aim directly at consumers via social media but is also used to enforce traditional media outreach and could be added to on‐ and offline publications as well. The infographic therefore was the perfect bridge between traditional outreach and consumer activation. Online conversations driving publications and publications driving social conversations. To launch the research and infographic we aimed at traditional press and a careful selected group of influential Twitter users. EXECUTION Although we knew that all key elements were in place to make this campaign a success, (a campaign built on a strong insight, consumer research that created the desired stereotypes and a strong creative execution) , it was still a huge challenge to become part of the daily conversations on a day like this: the day before the actual election.
On this one day, we took our one shot and pitched the research to several news media and launched the infographic via several social platforms. Soon the first print titles and blogs picked up the research, but we knew we hit the jackpot when both the most influential Dutch pollster and the Minister of Education started tweeting about the research. This was the boost we needed. We used the right combination of a nice news angle and a commercial (key)message and made it relevant to a major conversation. By using car volumes and stereotypes we triggered common conversations where people referred to Marktplaats and available cars in order to discuss voting behavior. The key message (a car for everybody in every occasion) has never been so relevant, visible and much anticipated as during Dutch elections last September. After we had set‐up the research with the outcome of the desired stereotypes we created illustrations of all leaders:
COMBINING ALL ELEMENS INTO ONE INFOGRAPHIC Adding monthly search volumes for stereotypes cars to make a relevant link to car volumes on Marktplaats Additional elements for the infographic have been created to enforrce the stereotyping with a tong in cheek. Horse and carriage was used to illustrate conservative attributes to a political party and a mouse was designed to illustrate inconspicuous attributes (being a grey mouse is a Dutch expression for being inconspicuous). Based on monthly search volumes Marktplaats predicted. PVDA would win the campaign (which they actually did) Key message inclusion
COVERAGE On and offline coverage examples Car titles (trade press) Leading and influential blogs Marketing blogs National dailies (print)
Quotes and samples from people reacting to the campaign Complimenting Marktplaats: Public endorsements from key players: Dutch most known pollster and public figure Maurice de Hond Minister of Education Ronald Plasterk