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Chevrolet rides mobile surprise-fest to engagement heights on YouTube

General Motors? Chevrolet brand leveraged video and social media to attract 3 million viewers on its YouTube channel and 1.5 million impressions with an April Fools' Day multimedia surprise-fest that dramatized the power of mobile to drive brand engagement.

The #BestDayEver campaign intentionally surprised more than 12,000 people with events and occurrences such as an impromptu Kelly Clarkson concert for pregnant women and new moms, opening day tickets to Major League Baseball games across the country and gas cards from NASCAR driver Danica Patrick to boost brand awareness. Coming on the heels of Chevrolet?s introduction of the 2016 Malibu and Spark at the New York International Auto Show, the campaign pointed to how YouTube and social media are increasingly becoming the go-to avenues for brands to connect with consumers and drive engagement.

?It's everything right now,? said Mickey Meyer, cofounder of Jash, which teamed up with YouTube to produce the live stream. ?Paired with quality content, brands are becoming king again and driving the evolution of media more than anyone else. The smarter, riskier the brand, the higher the return for them,? he said.

Recruiting partners
Chevrolet recruited partners in sports, entertainment and philanthropy to surprise people across the country and from all walks of life with meaningful gestures large and small.

The surprises, which began with the introduction of the all-new 2016 Chevrolet Malibu, were streamed on Chevrolet?s YouTube channel.

Alec Baldwin in selfie with Occidental College students.

Actor Alec Baldwin surprised students in a history class at Occidental College by dressing up as Abraham Lincoln while filmmaker Spike Lee gave students at Harlem Children Zone an unexpected thrill by showing up for a discussion on achieving dreams and following passions. 

Pregnant women and new mothers attending a luncheon did a double-take when singer Kelly Clarkson ? a new mom herself ? serenaded them during dessert on iHeartRadio at The Grove Los Angeles.

Unassuming drivers in Concord, NC, stopping to refuel cars received an unexpected gift of free gas cards but got an even bigger charge when NASCAR Driver of the No. 10 GoDaddy Chevrolet SS, Danica Patrick, presented the cards and took photos with fans on behalf of Chevrolet and Coke Zero.

Still more surprises were in store as Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Florida and Chevrolet invited 100 children for a day of play at a local arcade, topping that by giving each child a pair of mouse ears and a trip to Walt Disney World.

Players with soccer?s Manchester United invited Make-A-Wish Foundation wish recipient Matthew McMahon to a match in Manchester on May 16 via video. 

The #BestDayEver generated a 98 percent positive sentiment rating as people viewed the live stream content on YouTube. At peak times, the broadcast received 600 comments per minute.

?Once we had the framework for our show, and saw the breadth of content that was being generated on the ground around the country and around the Web, it was about making people aware, both in advance and in real time, that the show was happening,? Mr. Meyer said. 

?We created strategic share relationships with influencers with different audiences and made sure to have those influencers create tune in content on as many platforms as possible in the short timeline. 

?Our existing relationships at JASH made this possible in short order.? 

Promoting messaging
The program?s success underscored how YouTube has become a viable platform to promote messaging, because its videos are shared frequently and users can go back and view them at their convenience, said Ken Wisnefski, founder-CEO of WebiMax.

Olivia Wilde in production-assistant?s training program in Brooklyn, NY. 

?When you think about how advanced the technology is getting within cars, it only makes sense that those you are hoping to reach are at the front of consuming content on a mobile platform,? Mr. Meyer said.

?If you can get to them, you're hitting the next generation of shoppers and building a tech aware consumer foundation in a smart way.?

Final Take
Michael Barris is staff reporter on Mobile Marketer, New York