Acura goes digital to try and replace auto show engagement

A microsite with videos and interactive games is a new way for the automaker to talk about its racing history and differentiate itself from other luxury brands.

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On Thursday, Acura launched a new microsite that tells an important part of the brand’s story through a series of interactive features, video clips and even a browser-based game.

With a focus on its heritage as a key player in the auto racing world, the new site was developed in response to the cancellation of the Canadian auto show circuit, and is intended to give people a chance to connect with the brand in lieu of those in-person experiences.

“This is really not a selling site,” explains Emile Korkor, the automaker’s assistant VP of sales and marketing. “The intention of this site is storytelling. It’s meant to be a fun site to engage both loyalists as well as brand intenders and allow them to explore and learn a little bit more what Acura is all about.”

While nothing can replace the more tactile experiences of an auto show, Korkor says the site is intended to reflect more of the brand’s history in racing, as well as help connect the importance of that heritage to its place in the luxury automotive category.

“Acura is a serious player in the luxury automotive world, but that’s not something we want to be defined as on its own,” he says. “This is an opportunity for us to tell a piece of the Acura story that I believe most consumers aren’t aware of, which is our heritage in the racing world and where the ‘performance’ in our ‘Precision Crafted Performance’ slogan comes from.”

Screenshot---Engine-Sound

The microsite includes a video reel of recent race wins and interviews with the drivers, as well as a timeline of the brand’s history on the track. Interactive elements round out the experience and include an audio player that lets you hear the engines of the Acura vehicle line, a wallpaper creator, a link to a retro-style racing game and a helmet designer that is tied to a giveaway promotion through an information capture form.

According to Korkor, Acura had moved away from promoting its racing roots for many years, focusing instead on the luxury proposition of its vehicle line. But as the market became more crowded with luxury vehicle manufacturers, customers started looking for what set Acura apart, he says, and so the brand is pivoting back to telling its track stories and pushing its slogan.

But the challenge for the brand is explaining why what it does on the track matters to the everyday consumer.

“It’s really hard to explain why it’s so important without giving a little history lesson to consumers,” says Korkor. “Racing is the major means to R&D our development. We learn a lot from our time on the track and have been doing that right from the beginning. … It is impossible to express true performance if we don’t push our limits on the track.”