#BestDayEver campaign generates buzz for Chevrolet

Melissa Burden
The Detroit News

New York — Chevrolet was looking to make April Fools Day the best day ever — and generate some interest in the bowtie brand to boot.

General Motors Co.’s largest brand hosted an online campaign called #BestDayEver Wednesday, where it doled out surprises to more than 12,000 people across the United States.

The surprises ranged from small to large, from free coffee to GM’s reveal of the new Chevrolet Malibu at the New York International Auto Show. Pop singer Kelly Clarkson, a new mom, performed a surprise concert with iHeartRadio for pregnant women and new moms in Los Angeles, while NASCAR driver Danica Patrick gave out gas cards in North Carolina.

Actor Alec Baldwin dressed up as Abraham Lincoln and surprised history students at Occidental College and IndyCar driver Helio Castroneves visited with patrons at Vinsetta Garage in Berkley, with lunch paid for by Chevrolet. Kid Rock gave a surprise concert to soldiers in Florida.

Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Florida brought 100 kids to play at an arcade and surprised them with a trip to Walt Disney World with their mentors.

“It’s creating a lot of awareness. The first surprise was a great new car,” GM North America President Alan Batey said in an interview at the show. “And we’ve always been a brand that’s been strong in the community. This is just another example of how we operate.”

Chevy said Thursday that the campaign generated 3 million viewers during an eight-hour livestream on Chevrolet’s YouTube channel, and 1.5 million social media impressions. The brand said 98 percent of those impressions were positive and at peak times, Chevy received 600 comments a minute.

The brand used partnerships with people, athletes and others to pull off the surprises.

“Chevrolet took a vanguard position in creating a real-time marketing program that reached diverse audiences and brought about a new level of conversation about the brand,” Paul Edwards, U.S. vice president of Chevrolet marketing, said in a statement. “The brand engaged millions of people today and if we got just a fraction of those folks to take another look at our cars, trucks and crossovers, we accomplished our goals.”

While the #BestDayEver was a one-day event, Chevy is launching a new ad campaign featuring real people. Chevrolet gathered 400 non-Chevy owners for focus groups in Los Angeles and filmed their thoughts and reactions about Chevy, some of which are used in the new ads.

“Our biggest challenge and opportunity is changing perceptions,” Batey said.

The new ad campaign, which began Wednesday, will run for a few months and will focus on technology in Chevrolet vehicles and changing thoughts about the brand and its vehicles, Batey said.

Chevrolet is rolling out five redesigned cars this year, including the 2016 Malibu and 2016 Spark it revealed this week at the New York auto show.

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