Having formed a surprising union between hip-hop and NASCAR with TV ads starring rapper T.I. and Dale Earnhardt Jr., Chevrolet is now leveraging its culture-blurring branding effort online with a highly immersive community hub appropriately coined Chevy Nation. "What we wanted to do was really aggregate these cultures and allow them to thrive [online]," says Bill Ludwig, chief creative officer at Campbell-Ewald, the agency behind the online execution as well as the "Ain't We Got Love" and "Car Wash" Super Bowl spots. "Then, we would invite other people in and cross-pollinate these cultures-motor sports, music, hip-hop and tuners."
But while social-based sites are a prerequisite in online marketing efforts nowadays, Campbell-Ewald (with assistance from local Michigan design firm Speedshape) has upped the ante with an impressive array of high-end animation, CGI, video, and carloads of content to match—all nestled within a digitally rendered city. "[Speedshape] modeled it after a hip, but small college town center outside Detroit with a lot of brownstones and theaters," Ludwig reveals.
Flythroughs guide visitors through Chevy's town, veering them to handful of destinations including a "Racing Garage" that offers NASCAR image galleries and driver profiles, Chevy model showcases at the "Clubhouse", and even a "Groove" nightclub that offers CMA tour videos and a rundown of musicians who have professed their kinship with the Chevy brand. Each venue, lest ye forget, also houses links to exclusive MySpace pages. "Just one linked MySpace page got 2,500 friends already in the first 6 days since it loaded on," notes Ludwig. With sweepstakes, games, and more user-generated outlets unfolding throughout the year, Chevy Nation makes a worthy argument that perhaps cars can bring disparate worlds together.