CASSIES Silver: Mitsubishi cures electric fears

i-MiEV’s digital push tackles purchase barrier.

SILVER: Events, Seasonal & Short-Term

Situation Analysis Even though Mitsubishi has been developing electric vehicle (EV) technology for nearly 40 years in Japan, the Chevrolet Volt and Nissan Leaf owned the EV conversation in North America. And the general tone of that conversation has been “save the world.” The Mitsubishi Innovative Electric Vehicle (i-MiEV), launched in April, would be the brand’s first foray into the EV segment in Canada, and it needed a unique identity. “New” wouldn’t work, because the Volt and the Leaf got to the party first, nor would higher ad spending, since the i-MiEV’s budget was a tenth of Chevy Volt’s. The answer had to lie elsewhere.

Strategy & Insight The target was expectedly “green” – urban adults who cared about the environment. But under the surface was something unexpected: tons of anxiety. People wondered how to charge the car. What’s its range? Does it drive like a golf cart? Can it electrocute you? (Seriously, some people worried about that.) This triggered the breakthrough idea: give these fears a name and alleviate them. Thus the Electriphobia Research Institute was born.

Execution New car launches, even in the digital age, make liberal use of TV, radio and print. Chevy put more than $10 million into TV and print to launch the Volt. Given its much lower budget, Mitsubishi had to rely on a digital approach to earn the attention it couldn’t buy. was the hub – an edutainment microsite designed to address the real fears people had about electric cars (and silly ones as well). The effort was tongue-in-cheek and included video on YouTube and Facebook, along with ads in urban dailies, PR and a launch event at the Green Living Show in Toronto.

Results The objective over the first three months was to match Leaf sales, which the i-MiEV did by 15%. The campaign was picked up by Mitsubishi U.S. and other global affiliates, and Electriphobia, a made-up word, now returns 30,000 results on Google.

Cause & Effect There was massive increase in online activity. drove 6,400 people to the Mitsubishi corporate website and sent another 1,231 to find a dealer or to book an i-MiEV test drive. This compared to virtually no social media discussion about the i-MiEV prior to launch.


Client: Mitsubishi Motor Sales of Canada
Director, National Marketing: Peter Renz
Manager, Advertising: Shauna Barker
Manager, Public  Relations: John Arnone
Manager, Marketing: Ryan Geary
Agency: John St.
Group Account Director: Ian Brooks
Account Supervisor: Sarah Frackowiack
Account Coordinators: Alison Williams, Samantha Tom
Co-CDs: Angus Tucker, Stephen Jurisic
Copywriters: Keri Zierler, Kurt Mills
ADs: Hannah Smit, Kyle Lamb
Digital Producers: Lorrie Zwer
Print Producers: Alisa Pellizari, Dana Drummond
Senior Brand Planner: Jason Last
Digital Planner: Leshanne Pretty
From HeadSpace Marketing:
Director of Project Management: Manon Varin
Project Manager: Caroline Legault-Forest
Copywriter: Charles Bournival
From OMD:
Strategy Supervisor: Jose Moreira
Assistant Strategist: Jonathan Davies
Associate Director, Digital Technologies: Sean Perkins
Assistant Digital Strategist: Alex Papas
Broadcast Supervisor: Lesley Pelton
Broadcast Buyer: Mark Hyndman