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Driving an emotional connection in a commodity category

You continually hear that the younger generation doesn’t value driving and car ownership the way previous generations have. Like Millennials, Gen Z is less likely to view vehicle ownership as a necessity. With so many options to get around, owning a car doesn’t represent the freedom of older generations, or as a status symbol—but more of practical convenience. 

How does a company like Autotrader, an online marketplace for car shoppers and sellers, create a relationship with Gen Z’s—college students specifically, the most diverse generation to date? Cautious spenders. Practical consumers. Substantial spending power. 

We partnered with Autotrader to create the ‘Filter For Your Life’ experience, a multi touch-point program that introduced the Autotrader brand and product within relevant situations for college students.

Our goal was to drive an emotional connection and build recognition of Autotrader, while authentically driving site activity and consumer engagement on a test-pilot campus with a 2-week student influencer program and a 1-day pop-up event activation at Florida State University.

The ‘Filter For Your Life’ pop-up event put college students through the ride of an obstacle course to collect tickets (not speeding, but ‘life-tickets’) that opened additional fun and activities including: the You Auto Know Game—with fun trivia and facts and a find your vehicle soul mate experience with a Buzzfeed-style quiz.

A digital engagement plan, including a ‘Filter For Your Life’ microsite, student social media posts, peer-to peer messaging, and geo-fencing/IP display ads helped keep the brand top of mind by strategically enveloping students with key messaging.

A strategic partnership with Geico offered fun prizing, added games and a sweepstakes for prizes tied to life-experiences.


1 K
Direct Student Impressions
20 K
Attendees at 1-day pop-up
1 M
Social Media Impressions 
25 K
Students reached with digital campaign
75 K
Digital impressions
2.9 %
Click Through Rate (CTR)

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