Volkswagen taps Google+, YouTube talent to highlight in campaign promoting new SmileDrive app

Tuesday, August 6, 2013 | 10:56 AM

People are always looking for new ways to share everyday experiences with friends and family--and now, even your routine, morning commute can be share-worthy. Today, Volkswagen released SmileDrive, the first social app and web platform designed to help people go for happier drives, exclusively in the Google Play store. And to illustrate how SmileDrive can make driving more fun and shareable, Volkswagen is partnering with tastemakers across Google+ and YouTube to capture and share their road trip stories.* These influencers are going on thematic road trips related to their lifestyle and passions, like photography, food, and fashion.

First up is Christina Lauren, a lifestyle blogger who used SmileDrive to record and share her birthday weekend road trip along the California coast. Along the way, Christina’s passengers and friends--both in the car and following via the web--shared photos and comments to Google+, received a “Punch” when encountering another Volkswagen SmileDrive user, and earned the “long haul” virtual bumper sticker for traveling 100 miles. And while Christina’s story came to life across Google+, it’s soon to be featured in a media campaign that includes Lightbox Ads and mobile rich media ads on Google’s display network.

Desktop Lightbox Ads

Mobile Rich Media Ads

Christina’s story is just the first of many, with Google+ members like photographer Brian Matiash, foodie Hilah Johnson, and oenophile Jerry James Stone, creating similar travelogs for Volkswagen’s campaign. And, by using Google’s new affinity segments targeting, which helps marketers move beyond demographics to reach people who care about their brand based on lifestyles and interests, Volkswagen can ensure each story reaches the right audience, building lasting relationships with consumers and an active community of SmileDrive users.

SmileDrive is part of Google’s ongoing Art, Copy & Code project, which focuses on re-imagining brand experiences for the connected world. Download the app here, and check out the behind-the-scenes at our Art, Copy & Code site.

Posted by Aman Govil, Team Lead, Art, Copy & Code project

*These influencer trips are being sponsored by Volkswagen and Google. Influencers are receiving a free Android phone and a loaner Volkswagen vehicle for the road trip.