- Cars.com plans to take over social media conversations about the Super Bowl with a "war room" that will help Twitter, Facebook and Instagram users find their perfect car, according to materials shared with Mobile Marketer.
- "The Big Match" campaign will post clever responses and real-time creative whenever a TV commercial features a vehicle — even spots from advertisers that aren't carmakers — during the big game on Feb. 3. Twitter, Cars.com and its agency of record R/GA will manage the war room with 40 employees to create the posts and interact with users.
- The campaign will kick off as the Super Bowl airs on Sunday, and consumers can follow the @carsdotcom accounts on social media during the game to tune into the conversation. Cars.com also will rank which commercials drive the most traffic to the Cars.com website, and will release the results on Monday.
Cars.com's ambush campaign during the Super Bowl targets young adults who are more likely to use social media apps as they watch the big game. Only 14% of football fans will use social media during the big game, compared to 39% of general consumers, according to a survey by mobile video ad network AdColony. Most (83%) Super Bowl viewers are likely to be between the ages of 35 and 74, a group which makes up less than half (48%) of the broader U.S. population and excludes most millennials and Generation Z.
The social media campaign is the company's latest effort to match cars with potential car buyers. Cars.com in 2018 rolled out functions that use machine learning and artificial intelligence as part of its tech-focused approach to pair shoppers with vehicles that match their preferences, and saw a 40% chat-to-lead conversion rate on Facebook.
Historically, the automotive industry is heavily represented on Super Bowl Sunday. While Volvo plans a mobile-based "anti-commercial" campaign for game day, seven carmakers plan to air commercials during the Super Bowl, according to an ad tracker by Mobile Marketer's sister publication Marketing Dive, although it remains to be seen whether Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) will commit to the big game. The carmaker in the past has aired celebrity-filled Super Bowl spots generate buzz for its brands. Cars.com is using a different workaround strategy to drive brand awareness during the game, likely a strategic move, as 30-second commercials during the game run advertisers north of $5 million.