The Captur is a YouTube star.
BRUCE GAIN

Renault takes to YouTube to promote the Captur

Bruce Gain is an Automotive News Europe correspondent in France.
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Renault has won lots of attention but also negative reactions from a YouTube video promoting its new Captur SUV.

The video shows a gang of masked bank robbers forcing two innocent bystanders to help them escape in a Captur. It has generated over 5 million views since its release last month.

Using social media forums like YouTube can be a double-edged sword since no video will please everybody.

Some of the users' comments about the video are cautiously positive, such as "original and offbeat, but it remains to be seen whether the cars live up to Renault's claims."

Other comments are mercilessly negative, ranging from "worthless" to "boycott this brand." The French-language YouTube post of the video generated 494 Dislikes versus 579 Likes.

The video is part of Renault's media campaign intended to shakeup how the brand is perceived in Europe.

"Our goal was to expand our reach to a public that has not been very enthusiastic about the brand," Isabelle Fossecave, Renault's head of promotion and advertising for France, told me.

"We did this by creating a totally new kind of storyline to convince our target audience to view Renault differently and to eventually test drive one of our cars," Fossecave said.

The video is also an example of how carmakers are increasingly using YouTube as a key social networking channel to communicate with potential customers in ways that they cannot through traditional media.

Using YouTube allows automakers to create longer and more complex storylines that are free of many of the constraints and costs associated with TV ad content.

The Renault video shows the gang forcing an innocent man and woman to use the Captur to drive to a given destination while using the navigation application of Renault's R-Link infotainment system.

The video is thematically similar to the Hollywood blockbuster movie "Point Break" in which a gang of surfers, wearing suits and donning masks of former U.S. presidents, rob banks to maintain their lifestyle.

The content and storyline targeted a YouTube audience. However, variations of the video, produced by Publicis France, also appeared in TV, radio, and print ads.

You can reach Bruce Gain at bgain@crain.com.

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