Acura Targets Millennials With Musical Tumblr Campaign

Acura has taken to Tumblr to promote its new 2016 ILX car to Millennials in an effort to engage with the desirable demographic where they spend much of their time – on social media.

For “8-Speed Playlist,” Acura collaborated with eight up-and-coming musicians, each of whom created a song to match one of the speeds of the transmission gears, a key feature of the ILX. The SoundCloud playlist increases in intensity and velocity as the driver moves through the gears and increases speed. The campaign will culminate later this week with a video remixing all eight tracks into footage of the car, which started arriving at dealerships in February.

“When you’re driving, you have an emotional connection to your car and music delivers another emotional connection, and putting them together is really powerful,” says Allie Meyer, assistant public relations manager for Acura. “It’s an interesting intersection that we’re playing with.”

Executed by Ignition, a dedicated agency comprised of talent from Razorfish and Publicis Groupe, the campaign is pushing ILX as an “entry-level luxury vehicle,” a term referring to a luxury lineup’s most affordable vehicles, such as Mercedes CLA and Audi A3. Cars like this are particularly popular with Millennials, with whom Acura hopes to connect where they live – on social media.

“If we just wanted exposure, there are other ways to do it,” Meyer says. “We wanted to be able to create an experience. A lot of people think to have an experience with a car, you have to test-drive it or visit the dealer’s showroom. This is a new way of engaging with a car for someone who’s maybe in the first steps of buying one.”

Esteban Contreras, director of strategy at social media management platform Sprinklr, believes that of all the social media platforms out there, SoundCloud and Tumblr, where “The Dress” originated, are particular marketplaces for expression and discoverability.

Contreras says Acura strikes the right balance between the two, without coming across as trying too hard.

“Acura’s Facebook posts about the campaign have comments like, ‘Sick car, sick beats,” he adds. “That’s exactly the kind of sentiment you want on a campaign like this.”

Over the past week, 8-Speed Playlist has garnered more than 7 million impressions on Tumblr, with 200,000 reblogs. And by partnering with musicians, Acura ensured that the campaign will have legs on social media, beyond its own channels. Bear In Heaven, the Brooklyn rock band behind the second gear’s song, has more than 600,000 followers on SoundCloud and another 10,000 on Twitter.

According to Contreras, the songs – all of which are originals created for the playlist – work equally well individually and as a compilation.

“It’s the kind of music that has made SoundCloud the music powerhouse it is and it’s also the kind of music you’d expect to listen to driving down a highway in an ILX,” he says. “Content curation and demonstrating a sense of taste is becoming increasingly important for premium brands – the Acura campaign does a good job of that. It will be interesting to see where they take it from here.”

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