VIDEOS: Carmakers crank up ad campaigns beyond simple commercials with branded digital content

An Audi tie-in ad for the new  upcoming “Star Trek – Into Darkness” movie highlights the growing popularity of auto-centered branded entertainment intended to reach consumers where they hang out most: online.

The three-minute spot, which has already pulled in nearly two million views on YouTube since it was first posted on May 6, features actors  Zachary Quinto and Leonard Nimoy playing up their  Spock connections in a challenge. It contains exactly zero clips from the movie but has many Star Trek in-jokes and some obscure Nimoy references as well. Take a look: 

From docu-style content to scripted short features like the Star Trek Audi piece, the digital world is becoming an ever-growing platform for carmakers to pitch their products in a more engaging format.   

Cadillac has released a four-part video vignette, entitled “Style Driven,” offering an exclusive behind-the-scenes look at the life of fashion stylist Erin Walsh, as she curates outfits for guests attending the famous Costume Institute Benefit at The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City.

The video series, featured on Vogue.TV,  follows Walsh, who has consulted the likes of Kristen Wiig, Kerry Washington and Gwyneth Paltrow, as she makes her way through New York City in a Cadillac SRX picking dresses and jewelry for actress Gerta Gerwig for the Meta Gala.

The annual Costume Institute Benefit is a regular who’s who with celebrity attendees from film, music and fashion. In addition to the video series, Cadillac will provide VIP valet service to a select group of celebrities attending the event. Here’s one short episode: 

A short film called “Desire,” featured on Jaguar’s YouTube channel, stars Emmy Award winner Damian Lewis and actress Shannyn Sossamon, with the snarling Jaguar F-Type in a number of high-performance driving scenes. It was produced by mega-hit director Ridley Scott,  who is justly famous for Alien, Blade Runner, Gladiator and Thelma and Louise, among many others.

In the 13-minute film, which debuted at Sundance London, Lewis plays a car delivery man who gets caught up in a dangerous chase involving a woman in trouble, played by Sossamon. Indie pop songstress Lana Del Ray provides music for the soundtrack. Check it out:

Practically every carmaker on the planet now has a YouTube channel that features special branded entertainment videos and new ads, which often pull in more eyeballs than traditional TV spots.

A Fiat branded video featuring the singer Arianna and rapper Pit Bull, called “Sexy People” released April 26, has raked in more than 4 million views on YouTube. Sing along:

It’s a trend we’re likely to start seeing more of considering the growing numbers of consumers turning to tablets and mobile devices for entertainment and carmakers desire to reach that audience.

Still, the question is − does any of it move you enough to consider buying one of the carmaker’s vehicles, or do you consider it just good entertainment?


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