Chrysler Group is now engaging in experiential marketing with its "Ride & Drive" program. Under the program, the company showcases its vehicles and allows the public to experience them at public places other than a dealership’s showroom, including malls, schools and concerts. The carmaker is using the program to attract potential customers to browse its social-media applications for more information, which hopefully leads to visit to a dealership for a possible purchase.
According to George Neill, head of marketing strategy and operations for Chrysler Group, the company considers the program as a “physical-to-virtual experience." Casey Hurbis, head of Fiat communications, said that the Ride & Drive program strategy is to connect with customers in person and these people would then take that online.
Hurbis said that the Ride & Drive is linked with the company’s other marketing activities like social networking. Hurbis said that previously, the car is shown in a mall where they would then distribute brochures. But that will change when they persuade customers to look at the digital and social play.
Chrysler is already using the Ride & Drive program for all brands across the United States. But what is making the company’s Ride & Drive program unique is that it does not only go to auto shows. The Fiat Ride & Drive was at the Detroit Jazz Festival, and Ram trucks were showcased at the Academy of Country Music Awards in Las Vegas. Another brand, Dodge, has been to school events across the US, giving a $20 donation per test drive for a school's booster club.
Chrysler has implemented the same with its "Drive 4 the Kids" program at elementary schools. Jeep, meanwhile, has been holding a Ride & Drive event in Washington as part of its official sponsorship of the USA Men's Basketball team that will compete in the upcoming 2012 London Olympics.