How do you convince drivers to equip their cars with particulate filters?
In August 2007, Ford Service Organisation asked cpz Ogilvy PR to raise the drivers’ motivation to retrofit their cars with Ford's new particulate filter for diesel automotives. As result of the EU's decision to control the particulate matter emission, so called "environmental zones" have been established in German cities with high traffic volume in 2008. As these cities’ centres were planned to be closed for diesel cars without particulate filters, it was high time to sensitise Ford drivers and the general public to the subject of retrofitting.
cpz Ogilvy PR decided to go the guerrilla way. As people often do not feel affected until they witness a situation with their own eyes, we created live experiences to showcase the consequences of driving a car without a particulate filter. The PR campaign focused on five selected German congested cities (Berlin, Cologne, Munich, Stuttgart, Hanover) and initiated actions just within the respective future environmental zones.
As the leading idea of the campaign, we introduced the "Particle Hitchhikers". At the most crowded rush our spots in each of the five cities groups of hitchhikers were placed next to the lanes holding signs with inscriptions such as "Retrofitting or walking", "Entrance with particulate filters only" etc. In addition, one hitchhiker dressed up in a strange sooty particle costume raised the drivers' attention even more. As additional support, we arranged exclusive media co-operations with leading regional broadcast and print media. The media partners did not only announce the activity and explained its background but also raffled attractive prices such as a Ford Fiesta.
The campaign made the Ford particulate filter and the new environmental zones part of the public discussion. Within three months only, we generated a print coverage of more than 1.6 million and reached 1 million regional radio listeners. Besides, the online coverage added up to more than 35 million page impressions. The events and extraordinary actions have been reported about by key media and became talk of town!