ŠKODA invited influencers from all over Europe to a presentation of the rejuvenated FABIA in Prague. The traditional carmaker is keen to reach out to social-media-savvy younger customers by incorporating new approaches.
A likeable thirty-year-old Daniel Young is from Aberdeen, Scotland. During the day, he works as a videographer for a media agency, but at night he edits and posts videos from the everyday life of his four-member family. His YouTube channel has over 36,000 subscribers. Some of his vlogs, with an average running time of around 15 minutes, have garnered more than 200,000 views. David is faced with a problem: his family car is getting on a bit. It keeps breaking down and it’s unreliable. So, when the UK ŠKODA AUTO importer offered to let him test a new car that might be suitable for him, his wife Bethany and their kids, River and Cove, he grabbed the opportunity.
Now he’s standing here at ŠKODA AUTO DigiLab in Prague, smartphone in hand, and he couldn’t be happier. “It’s great being a blogger,” he says. “I can give almost anything a go. The world is an open car door!” Celebrities have gathered in the Czech capital to welcome the revamped ŠKODA FABIA. So far, presentations of the car have focused primarily on technical information and driving characteristics. Now it’s time for live performances by artists, workshops on connectivity, and flights circling the production plant in Mladá Boleslav. Before, only automotive journalists would be invited to these events; on this particular day, though, most reporters have come from the blogger-sphere.
Andrea Bezděková, a 24-year-old dancer, tennis player, Czech Miss 2016 and a lifestyle blogger who has nearly 84,000 Instagram followers, is here. Then there’s 30-year-old English girl Olivia Cox, a television presenter, Huffington Post columnist, and sports and fitness blogger, with more than 33,000 subscribers on her Instagram account, and Zoe Bassett, the 33-year-old native of Lyons, whose travel and fashion blog has 123,000 subscribers. Another Czech representative is Nikol Štíbrová, a 31-year-old Czech actress and lifestyle blogger with 293,000 Instagram account followers. Quirky photos and fun-filled videos are the vehicle for their art, Instagram and YouTube are their main media, and the ŠKODA FABIA is a refreshing car that will enhance the lifestyle of their young followers. Of course, automotive bloggers have also been invited, including the German Matthias Luft, who posts videos of car tests and information about technical specs on his Motoreport YouTube channel. His channel, where videos clock up more than 300,000 views, covers subjects such as his testing of the Active Lighting System in the new Volkswagen Passat. However, the vast majority of reporters have a broader mandate.
The day’s agenda is as follows. At ŠKODA AUTO DigiLab, the lab of the future, visitors will first learn some interesting facts about future connectivity and mobility. They will hear about ŠKODA’s work with innovative startups such as HoppyGo, a platform for peer-to-peer carsharing. Then there is the company’s collaboration with the Tel Aviv startup Anagog, the predecessor of the traffic optimisation system drawing on data analysis. After that, each influencer drives their own ŠKODA FABIA 50 km to the plant in Mladá Boleslav, where the programme includes a visit to the ŠKODA Museum and a flight around the complex in a historic propeller plane from 1955. The ŠKODA FABIA remains present at all times. The influencers are given free rein when deciding how much to focus on this product’s innovative features.
The audience is kept buoyed up by a packed programme and low-key product launch. Czech Instagram queens Nikol Štíbrová and Andrea Bezděková enjoy posing in front of ŠKODA’s vintage models, such as the 1939 ŠKODA SUPERB 3000 and the 1961 FELICIA convertible.
Jil Lüscher, who runs her stylish.ch blog – designed for women who love style – from Zürich, is thrilled with the ŠKODA FABIA’s new design, the spacious cockpit, the Suedia-covered seats, and, as she says, the great driving experience. Olivia Cox likes the two rear USB connectors and the large infotainment display. Automotive blogger Matthias Luft is already looking forward to the next day, when he’ll be able to give the car a solid workout on a half-day trip around the Czech Republic. By the time she starts her test drive the next morning, Nikol Štíbrová has already amassed likes for her photo with the new ŠKODA FABIA. After two days, the photo had more than 20,000 likes.
And what about Daniel, the Scottish blogger having issues with his family car? At their dinner together, he is pleased about all the positive feedback, though he says that, obviously, he’ll have to consult his family on what to do. His first impression of the new ŠKODA FABIA is excellent. “It’s a nifty car, nice to look at and clearly very modern.” His conclusion, delivered with a broad smile and a light Scottish accent, is: “I think I like this car. I really do.”