Is diesel really dead?


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Case Film
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„The death of diesel”,”Are diesel vehicles on their deathbeds or still kicking?”,”You thought Dieselgate was over? It’s not”, - the international press has been flooded with the diesel emissions scandal in recent years. The scandal has been decisive since its outbreak in terms of environmental protection, vehicle manufacturing and sales. In automotive-focused Hungary, the scandal poses huge risks in economic and industrial terms. Many would be affected by the scandal, but there is not enough credible information on the subject for diesel car owners and potential car buyers. Our client – the largest car importer in Hungary – asked us to come up with a creative PR communication idea about how we could stabilize the position of diesel in the domestic car market. We wanted to dispel misconceptions about old and modern diesel drives and make customers realise that an ECO attitude does not exclude buying a diesel car.


Our task was to reach every member of the entire car sales chain, so we decided to launch a multi-channel educational campaign based on the needs of our target groups. The core idea was to educate them by communicating the facts about diesel technology and new approaches about the diesel regulation. The communication tools and media platforms had been chosen by goals to be achieved and were built on each other. In order to grab our target groups’ attention, we created different educational ideas for different target groups. Our main goal was to educate our target audience, dispel their misconceptions about the diesel regulation and position our client as the first diesel expert in Hungary.


During our campaign, we focused our communication on two key messages: the reliability of modern diesel and the development of modern diesels that built on the technology's long-term plans. We also wanted to dispel the misconception that all diesel owners should be afraid of potential bans.

Our target group was the entire car sales chain with a particular focus on car salesmen, diesel car owners, potential car buyers and their immediate environment, especially women, who have a particularly strong influence on our potential car buyers. In order to make our campaign interesting and engaging for all concerned, we created different educational ideas for different target groups.

In addition to traditional press communication, we focused on educating salesmen, professionals and journalists, as well as reaching younger audiences on different social media platforms. We also compiled ideas for internal communication.


Firstly, we organized a special lab tour for journalists at the Hungarian Meteorological Service, where the air pollution measurement methods were demonstrated. In addition, we created a White Book issue about the current situation and the future of diesels with the help of certified professionals. The majority of our customers were reached by our Youtubers who explained the diesel technology by involving experts and testing cars. To ensure the widest possible access, we had media collaborations with environmental, lifestyle and car magazines. Internal communication solution was developed for sales support, by educating our client’s employees about diesel issues in a special video newsletter every two weeks. All of our campaign elements were shared on the campaign’s microsite. Throughout the campaign, it has been a top priority to align communication elements in a timely manner and with the theme of running ATL brand activities, thus maximizing efficiency and reach.


Looking at the numbers, our campaign was successful as the press releases generated nearly 7,6 million OTS in a country with a population about 10 million people. Our articles appeared mainly in general daily, regional, economic, lifestyle and car magazines/sites (“More and more people would buy diesel cars”, “There may be a turn for the diesels”, ”Hungarians are more positive about diesel”), so we a wide reach of audience was achieved.

Besides, the YouTube videos had more than 315,000 unique views and by advertising in 3 popular media platforms, we have reached additionally a total of 939 600 people. To monitor the success of our educational campaign, we conducted an online survey with six popular online magazines. The results: the perception of diesels has been greatly improved, according to 62% of the 18,000 respondents. Potential car buyers think that the emissions of modern diesel engines are better than in the last few years, so we managed to counteract the panic that seemed as a curse for diesel cars.

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