How Subaru Is Using Live Events to Drive Digital Engagement

Tagkast, a new native advertising service, is helping the automaker tap into the power of photo sharing at marketing events.

By Mitra Sorrells March 13, 2014, 7:00 AM EDT

As skiers checked out Subaru vehicles and participated in other activities at the brand's WinterFest events, photographers from Tagkast snapped their photos and allowed them to tag the images to instantly share on social networks. Subaru promotions and sponsorship manager Tim Tagye said the photo opp has helped draw people to the WinterFest events.

Photo: Courtesy of Subaru

Subaru of America is using its new winter season lifestyle tour, known as Subaru WinterFest, to connect with consumers both in person and online. WinterFest replaces Master the Mountain, an experiential series that Subaru produced for 18 years, and adds a new element of social sharing. The automaker has hired Tagkast to provide photographers at the events to take pictures that guests can receive via email or instantly share on their Facebook or Twitter feeds. The photos have Subaru branding elements and embedded links.

“Skiing, snowboarding, and that mountain culture is an important passion and interest of our owners,” said Tim Tagye, Subaru promotions and sponsorship manager. “If you are on a ski slope, you may not have your phone readily available. You have gloves on, and it’s not easy to do. We’re trying to make it turnkey for the consumer to have the moment captured in time. And we thought it was important for us to not only interact with our consumers physically, but to also allow for our messaging for Subaru WinterFest to live beyond just that moment in time on site.”

The Tagkast posts include a caption about the event and a link to information about future Subaru activations. “There’s a lot of brands trying to realize the promise of social as tied to their events, using hashtags and other tactics,” said Sean Strother, Tagkast co-founder. “What they miss is that you need content that is shareable and that will be meaningful for the brand and the consumer as well. And photos are the biggest piece of content on social networks.”

The WinterFest events, created with Mountain Sports International, offer activities for guests such as ski clinics, a free ride skills course, equipment tune-ups, and product demonstrations from winter sports gear manufacturers. There are also Subaru vehicles on display and complimentary hot chocolate and coffee. Subaru invited current owners to the events by email, offering V.I.P. parking and free lift tickets when they arrived.

Subaru WinterFest kicked off in early January at Jack Frost Big Boulder in Pennsylvania and will wrap up April 6 at Mt. Bachelor Ski Resort in Oregon. Through early March, Tagkast reports the campaign has generated more than 214,000 impressions, more than 3,000 photo likes and comments, and nearly 200 new fans on Subaru’s Facebook page.

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