the smartest test drive from the Smart car

In Russia, a growing core of middle-class automobile buyers prefer bigger cars, which serve as an indication of status, to smaller cars like the Smart car. Smart wanted to show reluctant consumers that the Smart, though small, is a viable car – especially for driving around a city like Moscow.

Because of Moscow’s hectic traffic, drivers often park wherever there is space available. As a result, many people return from running errands to find that their car has been towed without notice. When that happens, drivers are forced to pay big bucks for a taxi to the pound, where they must again pay to get their car back.

Smart offered the Unexpected Test Drive as a way to help stranded drivers in their time of need, while simultaneously exposing them to the advantages of Smart cars. The brand unleashed 40 Smart cars on the city, offering drivers who had their automobiles towed a free ride in a Smart car to go pick their vehicle up.

Results: Over the course of three days, at eight malls around Moscow, Smart gave 623 stranded drivers a test drive of the Smart car. Outside of Unexpected Test Drives, Smart dealerships in Moscow saw a tenfold increase in test drives. In the two weeks following the campaign, Smart sales increased 300%.

Why I’m curious:

To change consumer’s perception. Smart found a disruptive yet brilliant way to step in and provide alternative to solve consumer’s pain point. While it’s tough to gauge the durability of a car in a single test drive, the advantages to driving a Smart car, particularly for people who have just been penalized for being unable to find a legal parking spot, are immediately evident.


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