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TrueCar’s Social Campaign Fosters More Than Just Puppy Love

When it comes to brand affinity, it takes a lot for consumers to throw companies a bone. Car buying-and-selling marketplace TrueCar helps foster this puppy love by lending a paw to its four-legged friends through its “True Love” campaign.

Posting pooches for a purpose

“True Love” launched April 13 and is an extension of the company’s “True Joy” campaign, which debuted earlier this year. While “True Joy” is a TV-led acquisition campaign, “True Love” is an engagement initiative, one which consumers share Instagram photos of their favorite wet-nosed passengers: their dogs.

“As we started to look at our love of cars, we started to realize that there’s only one other creature on the planet that loves cars as much as we do—and that’s dogs,” says Lucas Donat, TrueCar’s CMO.

The campaign, done with ad agency Tiny Rebellion, encourages consumers to take photos of their dogs in cars, then share them on Instagram with an @TrueCar mention coupled with hashtags #DogsInCars and #donate. For every post that TrueCar receives, it donates one dollar to the Best Friends Animal Society, up to $50,000 total. These contributions will sponsor what TrueCar calls “joyrides”— transportation for canines moving from shelters where they could be put down to new homes or “no-kill” environments.

TrueCar is hoping to raise the full $50,000 by the end of the campaign’s run on April 27, and Donat—who owns a Labrador-Terrier-Pit bull mix himself—expects to generate about 3,200 “joyrides” during its course.

In an effort to reach these goals, TrueCar is promoting the campaign through its “True Love” TV spot, as well as through social media and the campaign’s designated website. People visiting the site can view images of other pooch passengers and learn more about TrueCar’s services.


Still, Donat says that Instagram is the campaign’s main focus because posting pictures on Instagram is already a natural behavior for many members of its target audience—millennials. TrueCar doesn’t actively target this demographic, however, and Donat says that his team encourages all dog lovers to participate. If they’re in the market for a car, that’s even better.

“When you do something like this, you have to subordinate your acquisition focus and really focus first and foremost on the good that you want to do in the world,” he says.

Fetching good results

So far, the campaign has experienced doggone good results. As of April 22, TrueCar’s campaign had reached 7.9 million people on Instagram—generating 381,000 forms of engagement (including likes and comments). Furthermore, the brand saw a 14,655.3% increase in overall Facebook engagement, as well as a 1,475% increase in new Facebook fans compared to the previous week. Plus, its #DogsInCars native video post  on Facebook garnered 430,874 views. TrueCar’s TV spot also earned nearly 69,000 views on YouTube, and the campaign reached 3.38 million people on Twitter.

“This campaign has been such a resounding success because you just see that people love when you’re helping something,” Donat says. “The level of engagement, the level of sharing that’s going on, [and] the level of advocacy that’s happening [is] because we’re all in this community, sharing a love of dogs, and [helping] them through this campaign. [It’s] something that elevates and [demonstrates] our brand value at TrueCar—actually taking action in the world versus just talking about it.”

In fact, the success of the campaign has inspired Donat to do more purpose-led campaigns in the future. He says that doing so not only benefits others, but it also drives brand affinity among consumers, which in turn can generate ROI.

“That isn’t why you necessarily go to driving a purpose-led campaign of this kind,” he says. “But as marketers, the Holy Grail is having people love your brand. You can sell all day long, but it isn’t until you actually demonstrate that you care… that you make a real difference—and a real connection—with people. So cause-led or purpose-led marketing like this is an opportunity for marketers to really connect with [consumers] at a very human level.”

And if that doesn’t leave consumers begging for more, what will?

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