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lo-res_aroe11354-sChevrolet first introduced its “Real People, Not Actors” advertising campaign several years ago. The spots feature a polite moderator, sheparding unsuspecting focus group through a showroom to experience a lineup of Chevy vehicles that are presented in exciting and unexpected ways. Panel members gasp in amazement as Chevy vehicles rise from underground platforms or appear from behind false walls. The long-running, successful campaign has created a promising cumulative impact: Viewers immediately identify each new spot in the campaign with the Chevy brand.

To capitalize on the success of this advertising campaign, Chevy also has entered into an amusing new partnership with the Warner Bros. animated feature, The Lego Batman Movie. Although the new advertisement still introduced the familiar moderator and focus group, instead of a conventional Chevy vehicle, animated Lego minfigures review Chevy’s all new Lego Batmobile. Lego Batman, as voiced by Will Arnett and still displaying the egotistical personality that made him a breakout star of the original The Lego Movie, joins a six-“person” focus group. The other five panel members muse about the type of person who would buy Chevy’s newest offering, leading Batman to grow quickly offended and insert amusing quips throughout the light-hearted spot.

The conclusion of the advertisement contains a call to action, directing viewers to Chevrolet’s website, where they can configure their own personalized Lego Batmobile, or else view Chevy’s award-winning lineup of new cars, trucks, SUVs, crossovers, and vans. Not content to limit the partnership to television or online channels, the company also extended its partnership with Warner Bros. and the Lego brand in the real world. At a recent North American International Auto Show in Detroit, the curtains fell away to reveal a life-sized Chevy Lego Batmobile, built out of 344,187 Lego bricks, which took 1,833 hours of labor to build.

The success of Chevy’s long-running campaign has allowed the company to take license with its message and translate a traditional advertising opportunity into an amusing spot that showcases the Chevy brand—without ever showing an actual car. And the company could not be happier with the opportunity to partner with the Warner Bros. and Lego brands. As Paul Edwards, Vice President of Chevrolet’s marketing, explains, “Many of the themes in ‘The Lego Batman Movie,’ like imagination, family, and community, align perfectly with the Chevy brand values and adds to the value of the partnership.”

Discussion Questions:

  1. The “Real People, Not Actors” advertising campaign is entering into its third year. What are some of the benefits and drawbacks that can occur when a large retailer commits to such a lengthy campaign?
  2. What types of consumer is Chevrolet seeking to reach in this new partnership with Warner Bros. and Lego?

Source: E.J. Schultz, “Holy Movie Integration! Lego Batman Stars in Chevy Ad,” Advertising Age, January 14, 2017