Chevy's focus groups just took on a new task: Giving a psychological assessment of Batman, Lego-style.
In a funny and refreshing new take on the automaker's "Real People, Not Actors" campaign, a focus group of animated Lego minifigures are asked what kind of person would drive Chevy's all-new Lego Batmobile. "Judging by these rocket launchers, this person is kind of defensive," quips one woman, prompting an angry retort from Lego Batman, who hovers over the entire proceeding.
Chevrolet is not actually selling Batmobiles. Rather the ad is the result of a partnership with Warner Bros.' "The Lego Batman Movie," which opens on Feb. 10. The spot, by Chevy lead agency Commonwealth/McCann, directs viewers to Chevy's website where people can virtually configure their own Lego Batmobile. Chevrolet also unveiled a life-size Lego Batmobile on Saturday at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit that was made from 344,187 Lego bricks and took 1,833 hours to build.
"To work on the Lego Batmobile with Warner Bros. is an absolute thrill for us at Chevy," Paul Edwards, U.S. VP of Chevrolet marketing said in a statement. "Many of the themes in 'The Lego Batman Movie,' like imagination, family and community, align perfectly with our Chevy brand values and add to the value of the partnership."
A Chevrolet spokeswoman did not disclose if the brand has any integrations inside the film. But she said the Lego Batmobile unveiled at the auto show was was inspired by the "speedwagon" Batman uses in the movie.
Chevy launched its real life "Real People, Not Actors" campaign in April of 2015.In the ads, the moderator, played by Potsch Boyd, seeks to elicit reactions from people about Chevy vehicles by spicing up focus group sessions. For instance, in one ad the brand arranged for people to get stuck in an elevator to prove the point about how terrible it is getting stuck -- while touting the mileage range of its its electric Chevy Volt vehicle as a way to not get stuck.
The ads represent the first time in a while that Chevy has used the same campaign to tout its cars, trucks and crossovers, Steve Majoros, Chevrolet's marketing director for cars and crossovers, said in a recent interview at the Detroit auto show. The ads are producing a "cumulative impact," he said. When viewers see an ad, "they immediately know its from Chevrolet, they immediately have a sense of what we are about. The trick for us is to make sure that the individual model or product or message comes out in that execution."
In the case of the Batman spot, the goal -- in addition to getting a few laughs -- is to use the Dark Night to drive people to the brand's website, where Chevy keeps a comprehensive list of its latest models and offers.
This story originally appeared on Adage.com.