Rahul Sachitanand
Apr 17, 2020

Here's how three auto brands are staying relevant during the COVID-19 pandemic

Rolls-Royce, Volvo Cars and Honda Cars are using emotion and working directly with consumers and employees to stay connected.

Here's how three auto brands are staying relevant during the COVID-19 pandemic

With people around Asia mostly staying at home and shunning the streets and their vehicles, it is hard for automakers to keep their brands relevant in these socially distant times. To try to keep their brands top of mind with confined consumers, here's how three auto brands have looked to stay connected with their employees and customers during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Rolls-Royce

Rolls-Royce has launched a ‘Young Designer Competition’ to give aspiring designers up to the age of 16 a chance to design their dream wheels of the future. From paint to embroidery, Starlight Headliner to art and design installations, anything is possible. Aspiring designers entering the challenge can now draw on their own creativity and desires to imagine the design of their very own super-luxury car.

This competition is an extension of that which is run each year at the Rolls-Royce employees’ Family Day Celebration, held at the Home of Rolls-Royce in Goodwood, England. Rolls-Royce is opening up the competition as a welcome distraction from self-isolation and social-distancing measures being adopted by many countries around the globe.

The marque’s Design team will judge all entries and select an overall winner, who will receive a rendered illustration of their design and a chauffeur-driven journey in a Rolls-Royce Phantom for a day to school, with their best friend. Runners-up will receive a hand-signed certificate from Torsten Müller-Ötvös, the Chief Executive Officer of Rolls-Royce Motor Cars.

Volvo Cars 

It has been a decade since the 93-year old Volvo Cars was acquired by China's Geely. At a time when most of their people are home (or in the case of their China team, just returning to work), how does such a marquee brand celebrate this achievement? 

As it turns out, Volvo cars put together a piece of work using only its employees and customers--and no professional actors--to celebrate this landmark date--even if remotely during these challenging times. Inspired by the unity showed by the Chinese people, the brand has focused its message on weaving together “The Best For The Best” - the best automotive engineers crafting the best automotive product for the best customers.

A voice-over representing the collective conscience of the Volvo Cars APAC team looks back on the last decade under a new owner. In partnership with production house Sweetshop and director YC Tom Lee, Tomorrow created a character-driven film series consisting of six episodes and a manifesto film highlighting the personal stories of six actual Volvo Cars APAC employees from various departments, ranging from customer service to R&D, across different life stages.

Honda Cars India

The Japanese car brand enjoys a small, but loyal following among Indian car owners. With the country of 1.6 billion in the midst of a nationwide lockdown, it was important for Honda cars to keep the brand relevant among consumers--and potential buyers--currently stuck at home. 

To keep the brand salient, Honda Cars India and Dentsu One have pieced together a campaign where a bunch of Honda owners come together to sing a song lamenting how they are stuck at home when they would much rather be buzzing around in their Hondas. This campaign featured only male Honda owners doing the dishes and mourning being away from their cars on the open road or gridlocked in traffic.

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