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How to Promote Auto in the Russian Market



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In our article Review of Russian Car Market: 2018 Results and 2019 Forecasts, we have already studied the structure of the Russian car market and what cars Russians prefer to buy. The Russian car market is one of the largest and most attractive ones in the world arena. There is no doubt that Russians are happy to buy new cars; therefore, a marketer’s task is to understand what triggers work for newbies and mature drivers, what ads will be more effective and how to use human emotions to increase brand awareness, brand confidence and, along with that, boost car sales.

Typical Russian Driver

According to the study of the popular Russian service Avito.Auto, wherein more than 5 thousand respondents across Russia took part, an average Russian driver is an employed family man aged 35 with a driving experience of more than 10 years. He drives a 10-year old sedan (mostly Lada) and sits in traffic jams every day. He changes his car every five years on average and dreams about changing for an off-roader one day.

Men change cars more often—21% people of the sterner sex and only 12% women do it every 1-2 years. One quarter of Russians change their cars once in 4-5 years; 23%, not more than once in 3 years.

Is there any dependency between a car owner’s age and a car brand? Experts from AUTOSTAT analytic agency became bewildered with this question, too. As a result of a study wherein nearly 163 thousand respondents took part, it was found out that the average age of car owners in Russia is 36 years, while Mercedes, KIA, and Ford are mentioned more often among brands that are in use of drivers of this age group.

BMW and Infiniti drivers turned out to be ‘the youngest’: the average age of owners of these brands is 33 years. The ‘most mature’ ones are SsangYong and Great Wall owners: their average age is 41 years.

Source:, 2018

How to Promote Auto in Russia? Brands’ Experience

When promoting a new car manufacturer or brand, it is important to combine standard advertising tools (traditional offline and online advertising) with out-of-the-box solutions: creative, special projects, viral and experience marketing etc. We prepared for you a selection of interesting cases of advertising campaigns from the biggest car manufacturers, which were implemented in the Russian market.

Dongfeng Night

When launching a new car brand in the market, it is important to establish initial contacts with local dealers and ensure the maximum reach to grow brand awareness—this is the task that the management of Dongfeng Motor Corporation set to our agency.

RMAA Group agency has been cooperating with Dongfeng Motor Corporation since 2014 and organizing events of various scales to promote the brand in the Russian market.

In 2018, to introduce dealers and audience to two new models Dongfeng AX4 and Glory 580, a magnificent presentation show was organized with participation of more than 85 high-ranking members of the Chinese and Russian governments and business leaders, nearly 30 well-known mass media and 25 top bloggers.

Dozens of publications in mass media, interviews for TV channels, negotiations with clients—within four years, we have helped Dongfeng get a foothold in the Russian market, enter into fundamental contracts, and raise brand awareness.

KIA Motors and football

What do Russian men like? Beautiful cars and beautiful football—this is the connection where KIA Motors Russia construes its promotional marketing.

The KIA contest in social media #Автоголчеллендж (Rus. #OwnGoalChallenge ) accounted for more than 300 posts on VK and Instagram—and this all is about user content (mostly video). In the videos, users are trying to kick a goal into a car trunk (obviously, KIA) in different ways. The prize was tickets to the final of UEFA Europa League.

Social projects of the company are related to football, too—in the context of children’s competitions in spring 2019, KIA brought joy to children from children’s homes of Tomsk Oblast, the Republic of Karelia, and Ryazan, having presented them full football equipment: wear, boots, balls.

Last but not least, there is ‘Young Referee’ competition. The children’s competition ‘Young Referee’ is a traditional companion of all largest FIFA world football games that take place under the sponsorship of KIA Motors. The competition was held globally in 2008 for the first time, and in 2012 Russia joined the project. ‘Young Referee’ of 2017 under the auspices of KIA gained a lot of interest from football fans. 657 participants presented their works. 11 Young Referees were selected who opened 2017 FIFA Confederations Cup matches.

In Russian, the term ‘own goal’ sounds like ‘auto goal’, letting KIA Motors use wordplay here. – Ed. note.

Amarok Hero

Next case is an excellent example of how to promote a particular car brand in the Russian market. In 2017, Volkswagen proposed Russian men to participate in the first all-Russian masculinity contest Amarok Hero. The goal of the project is to increase the awareness of Volkswagen Amarok and reserve the status of ‘the best male car’ for it.

The contests were held in 10 cities of Russia and included off-road tests on the track and mobile machines.

As a result, the reach was 1.8 million users, hitting 100% target audience, with PR Value of 5.5 million, while the brand awareness grew by 130%. Only on Instagram, one can find 966 posts by hash tag #геройamarok (Rus. #amarokhero), most part of which is generated by users.

In 2018, Volkswagen optimized the project and selected 100 participants of the final stage online, and then a final contest was held not far from Moscow.

Mercedes-AMG GT R and mobile mini game

One more example of car brand promotion now comes from the German manufacturer Mercedes-Benz that was promoting a new car Mercedes-AMG GT R in 2017 in Russia. The campaign with a catchphrase Some do sport cars. We let a beast out was oriented to people more than 25 years old.

The goal of the campaign is to increase brand awareness. The objectives are to increase brand awareness, ensure the maximum reach, and collect an email database to conduct a contest.

There was only digital promotion, consisting of two parts. The premium part was presented by a mini game that was placed in Gameloft mobile games and on the Mercedes landing page. Additional reach was ensured by media placement—the video was played in Gameloft games and on YouTube.

In the racing mini game, a race track was recreated in details where players drove, needless to say, Mercedes-AMG GT R. Players needed to get the maximum amount of Mercedes logos on the track, and the best of them participated in a giveaway of ticket to the final DTM race in Moscow.

As a result of the campaign, more than 500 thousand users were reached, there were more than 13 thousand clicks on the brand’s website, and nearly 3 thousand emails were obtained.


When you promote car brands and new models, do not be afraid of pushing boundaries and using non-standard advertising tools and solutions, experiment with promotion channels and formats. The main thing is, remember that communication must be built in terms of the general brand positioning concept because in auto industry, this is the brand that plays a decisive role in many ways when a buyer chooses one or another car.

Did you decide to promote a car brand or model in the Russian market? Contact RMAA experts and we will help you reach out to Russian car enthusiasts.

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About the Author

Head of Digital, editor-in-chief of the RMAA Agency Blog

Author Yulia Vasilyeva

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