October 10

How #youdrive ratings and advertising

Blog, Marketing, News, Opinion


imageShortly after spotting David Cameron’s first tweet on Saturday, I was intrigued to see #YOUDRIVE trending as a promoted hashtag. A few clicks later, I was being encouraged to “take part in a social media first”.

The Mercedes campaign featured three adverts to introduce the new A-Class to young professionals. The premise was a cat and mouse chase – UK rapper Kano was trying to get to a secret gig that the authorities were keen to close down, and viewers could vote via Twitter to steer the action real-time.


Viewers were given two opportunities to select outcomes during two ad breaks in Saturday’s The X Factor. The finale was shown during the Sunday night show – it recapped the first two episodes before the final reveal.

imageIn contrast to the live online reaction to David Cameron joining Twitter, the initial response to #youdrive seemed incredibly positive, especially with Mercedes’ target audience.

What particularly caught my eye were the tweets preferring the adverts over the programme that they were being aired in: “Only want to watch #youdrive advert tonight. Xfactor’s boring #switch”… “Hurry up, I just wanna see the adverts #youdrive”…

A year or two back, I rarely watched any entertainment programmes live. I would record and fast forward through the adverts. Now, some programmes just aren’t the same if I miss the live hashtag insights and conversations.

As with email, then mobile phones, Twitter is increasingly just one more way for us to talk. The popularity of hashtags such as #bbcqt (BBC Question Time), #scd (Strictly Come Dancing) and #xfactor make it clear that social media has already changed our viewing habits. How much will social media and campaigns such as #youdrive change how advertising evolves?

About the author 

Linda Cheung

Advising innovative companies on marketing and growth strategies. Founder at CubeSocial, Advisor at Oxford Innovation, Board member at Enterprise M3, Mentor at SETsquared.

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  1. “Viewing habits” are becoming “participation habits”. Or rather, we arekeeping some viewing habits (passive) and translating others into participation (active). It’s not just social media – X factor and similar formats using phone input were the start. In advertising Walkers Crisps did it with “choose a new flavour” a few years ago. Of course the multiple endings are new(ish) – I still like Tippex’s Shoot the Bear the best

    1. Thanks Martin. Another example of old rules, new tools, with technology taking things up a notch? Compared to phone input, social media allows you to see how others are voting, insights as to why, how opinions are forming or changing… Multiple endings for prime time TV advertising will certainly take production costs up a notch. No disagreement here that the Tippex Shoot the Bear campaign is a good ‘un!

  2. I very rarely watch TV these days. the only time I do so on a Saturday & Sunday evening. I know, what an exciting life I lead! But when I do watch TV invariably I have my laptop open & am tweeting at the same time. I would absolutely agree that we are changing out viewing habits.

    I would also say that Mercedes has found a way to mix a traditional inbound marketing method (TV advertising) with a more recent outbound marketing method (social media).

    Well done to the marketing team at Mercedes – commendable.

    1. Thanks Janet. Perhaps we should increasingly refer to participation, rather than viewing, habits as Martin mentions below. Not surprised to see you rarely have time to watch TV nor that you multi-task when you do… or should I extrapolate the facts/stats to classify you as 16-24?! 😉

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