The campaign for new car purchasing and smarter driving launched in early 2007. The campaign encourages the existing driving public to consider:
• purchasing a car with a more fuel efficient engine; and
• the way they treat their engine when they drive.
The advertising campaign centres on a car engine as the cause and solution of the CO2 produced by cars. The engine is intended to provide an appropriate unifying factor through which to talk about both car purchasing and driving behaviour, and provides an ideal way to help explain a complex issue simply.
The campaign is not anti-car and will aim to show that people don’t have to compromise on the type of car they choose in order to contribute to tackling climate change.
Overview of Strategic Development
First steps at the outset of the project were to conduct a market segmentation study in relation to attitudes and behaviour towards climate change and cars. Taken forward in partnership with our media planning company, we identified two key audiences that would be most receptive to messages that encouraged them to consider their car in relation to climate change:
• Cosmetic Compromisers: This group are concerned about the environment, but also love to drive and can afford a high-performance car. They are also most likely to buy a new car in the next 12 months.
• Practical Parents: This group has medium to large sized cars that are purchased due to circumstance. They need a practical car to transport the family.
Levels of engagement with the issue of climate change currently vary enormously. From awareness, to interest, to being informed, to being knowledgeable, to ultimately acting on an issue. One of the earliest project tasks therefore was to understand where, and with whom, the key barriers existed.
We commissioned a quantitative questionnaire to produce a Customer Decision Path. This helped us ‘track’ consumer awareness, concern and understanding of the climate change issue; their precise level of knowledge regarding the link with cars; and, their subsequent behaviour (i.e. whether they act on their understanding of the issue). The output was a clearer understanding of where, and with whom, the key barriers were. We subsequently used qualitative research to understand why these barriers exist, and collaborated with industry experts to brainstorm potential approaches.
The quantitative research clearly showed that the problem was not one of awareness – people know about climate change and its connection with cars, most even know that factors such as engine efficiency, fuel type, and mpg affect CO2 emissions. The problem was that – of the sizeable majority who understood these things – only a minority claimed that they were ‘very likely’ to buy an "environmentally-friendly" car.
We concluded from this research that we needed to turn positive attitudes and knowledge into action. We needed to explain to people what they should do. So, with car purchasing, the task was to move people across the gap – from knowing that different cars have different emissions that affect the environment, to acting positively on it.
As regards driving style, the task was to communicate a number of simple, constructive tips as well as driving home the link between car emissions and driving style.
We conducted a workshop session to generate a number of communication messages and platforms for both car purchasing and smarter driving. This involved enlisting the help of a number of industry experts and stakeholders. We undertook the following process:
• Identify why, and with whom, the problem/s exist – barriers.
• Identify psychological and behavioral triggers that could overcome these barriers.
• Identify compelling rational messages.
• Find relevant and motivating expressions of these key messages that could form the basis of concepts for research - ‘communication platforms’.
We used the “Engine” communication platform as the basis of our advertising creative brief.
Our proposition, from which we would generate creative work, was: "there is a key to climate change under the bonnet of your car". We provided support for this claim by saying that "your engine, and the way you treat it, has a direct effect on the fuel that’s burnt and the harmful CO2 emissions produced".
Our advertising will encourage car buyers to look for a more fuel-efficient engine; and will encourage drivers to think about the way they treat their engines, by observing some simple and practicable tips. The proposed advertising does this very simply and clearly.