Chevy Sonic’s Web Presence Pushes Content as Much as Cars

Posted on by Brian Quinton

Chevy rolled out the entire content package last month around its Super Bowl ad featuring a sky-diving, bungee-jumping, kickflipping Sonic, with a web site,, full of clips relating to the stunt driving and music that went into that 60-second spot (which actually previewed online days before the game itself.) The site, like the ad, is meant to testify to the spirit of adventure and daring behind the new Sonic, and it’s a three-ring circus of interactive content.

Separate behind-the-scenes videos show how Chevy and stunt driver Rob Dyrdek put the car through its paces, and of course you can watch the TV spot again—Sonic’s first television ad. All these videos are also available on YouTube and have gotten healthy views in the month since the big game.

But even more interesting are the less commercial content elements—most notably music, appropriately for a car named Sonic. For example, the band OK Go worked with Chevy to create a music video for their song “Needing/Getting” in which the band members drive around an track actually playing the song with a specially-equipped Sonic, using attachments to bang against oil drums, bottles and fences as it drove by while the band members sing along inside.

The video, which has no Sonic branding other than product shots of the car before and after running the track, can be watched either on the site or on YouTube, where it has gotten more than 16 million views at press time. The site also offers a backstage look at creating the video and a map of the track driven, showing the location of all the makeshift “instruments”.

In addition, the Sonic web site offers a limited number of free music downloads of both the OK Go song and the music actually used in the Sonic TV spot: “We Are Young”, by Fun. That tune jumped 38 ranks on the Billboard Hot 100 chart to number 3 in the weeks after the Super Bowl.

All of this content marketing should also be creating buzz for the “Game of Firsts” contest Chevy has been running on since last October, offering badges and reward points for completing missions around such firsts as working out in grocery stores or donating blood dressed as a vampire. Participants download a mobile app that lets them upload the photo proof of their stunts and post them to win votes, with two Sonics awarded monthly to the vote leaders from October 2011 through March 2012.   

Does any of this sky-diving and tin-can musicianship offer the practical specs, the mileage and performance metrics usually thought to move cars? No, unless your daily commute is from 15,000 straight up. Does it move cars? Remains to be seen, although GM claims that the Chevrolet Super Bowl ads came in first in “purchase language” as measured by Ad Tracker, indicating a high intent to purchase.

One participant can claim unquestioned victory. Fun’s version of “We Are Young” jumped 38 ranks on the Billboard Hot 100 chart to number 3 in the weeks after its appearance in the Super Bowl Sonic ad.


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