If you buy a new car in Canada, there is a good chance that you’ll be subject to a fairly long wait period. And by fairly long, we mean five months - the average time it takes to receive a factory-ordered vehicle, according to Kijiji. Given that the brand also found that only 16% of Canadians are willing to wait this long, it seemed the perfect time to highlight a quicker, easier solution.
Enter BBDO Canada. Working in tandem, the two teams sought to highlight the fact that Kijiji Autos has no wait period and over 200,000 in-stock vehicles by creating a podcast that lasts for, you guessed it, five months. Powered by artificial intelligence chatbot ChatGPT, the podcast covers a variety of automotive-themed topics from electric vehicles to the history of car manufacturing, and uses text to speech AI to generate audio in both English and French… while legitimately running 24/7 until September.
LBB’s Josh Neufeldt sat down with the team from BBDO and Kijiji Canada CMO Adam Jardine, to learn just how this very, very, very long podcast was achieved.
LBB> What was the brief, and what made a podcast the perfect creative approach?
Adam> Spring is a critical moment for our auto business, as it marks the peak period for car shoppers. So, with customers beginning their car shopping journey, we saw a unique opportunity to highlight the reality that a factory-ordered vehicle is still taking up to five months to deliver - driving home the value of our platform. After all, with access to over 200,000 vehicles available right now on Kijiji, there is no need to wait.
We have moved away from traditional, larger eight-to-twelve week campaigns, to smaller, social-first campaigns that can be quickly scaled up if we’re seeing positive customer sentiment and movement on our metrics. BBDO has been a great partner as we’ve evolved into this new way of working, and they have adapted their own internal processes to keep pace with us, so we knew they could support us in getting the job done.
BBDO> Spring is the busiest time for car buying in Canada. The weather is getting nicer and people start to think about their summer with a new vehicle. We wanted to illustrate to potential buyers that if they are thinking about buying a new factory-order car now, they would have to wait. So, we started thinking about all of the things that people do when they’re waiting, and listening to podcasts is what a lot of people do to pass time.
LBB> Where did this delay insight come from? And, as a whole, what was the research process like behind this campaign?
BBDO> Supply chain delays and chip shortages have been in the news quite a bit throughout the pandemic, but a lot of people started to think we were past it, only to be put on long waitlists for vehicles. Our research found wait times as long as two years for some models!
Adam> Our insight into this audience was simple: Canadians shop for cars in the spring, because they want their vehicle to be enjoyed for the spring – not later. Reflecting on this, we were able to recognise what differentiates our auto offerings: we have tons of inventory that’s available right now. We assessed our data to understand how our inventory level compared to the rest of the industry during this critical time. So, when we also considered the shopping habits and trends that we see in the industry as a whole, we found that we have a lot of value to add for customers.
LBB> This creative comes off the back of Kijiji revamping its strategy. Please tell us more about this. What are you trying to achieve, and how does this campaign fit into your goals for 2023?
Adam> Kijiji doesn’t have an awareness problem. We’re a household name across Canada, but the perception of our brand has weakened over time. We are seen by some as outdated and clunky to use. Our goal with this new strategy is to bring Kijiji to life in new and unexpected ways that grab people’s attention, make them smile, and highlight the incredible value that our product offers, along with the significant improvements we’ve made since many last used us. This campaign aligns perfectly to these goals, and what better way to get folks' attention than to create the world's longest podcast that happens to match the wait time for a new car? The simplicity of the idea and the social-first nature of it was perfection, and we’ve already seen great feedback.
LBB> Building on this, how did you get from the point of theorising a five month-long podcast to realising it was actually feasible? What was the planning process like?
BBDO> Normal creative spots generally follow the same production path every time. This project was basically sewing the parachute on the way out of the plane. It was a really agile process. We knew what we wanted to make, but the HOW was very fluid. Problems would come up and we would all get in a room (or on teams) and solve them right away. The whole project was turned around in roughly four weeks, from concept to on air.
LBB> The podcast is powered by ChatGPT. How did working with the software go?
BBDO> From the start, we knew that we wanted to make a lot of content fast, so AI made the most sense - not just for generating the content, but for the voice as well. Even just recording everything would have taken longer than our timeline.
Beyond that, working with ChatGPT was an evolving process. You go in with the expectation of what working with AI is like, then get hit with the reality of how it actually works. It’s not as plug and play as we thought it was in the beginning. It's like any other creative tool; you have to experiment with it over and over to get the results you’re looking for.
Normally, working in two languages in Canada makes things more of a challenge. But, with this project, working in two languages was actually a blessing. By creating content in both French and English, we really extended what we were producing.
LBB> The accompanying spot is quite fun. Please tell us about how it came to life! What was the editing process like?
BBDO> We worked with Zombie Studio in Brazil to create something that would give context to the length of the podcast. The long meandering content of the podcast reminded us of a long winding road, so we took the traditional timeline tracker and turned it into a long drive through a blue world.
On top of the spot, we also created ads from Kijiji Autos in the ‘WaitListening’ podcast. With 60,000 plus Kijiji Autos ads throughout, we took many opportunities to encourage people to stop waiting and start looking for their next vehicle on Kijiji Autos.
LBB> The narration is also excellent. Who provides the voice, and what made them the perfect person for the job?
BBDO> They’re the voices of the Kijiji brand. They’re so great!
LBB> Do you have any memorable lessons learned from the making of this new campaign?
BBDO> There is no substitute for a supportive client. There were points in this project where we had a lot of unknowns, and in those cases you need a client that trusts you. We’re thankful that during those times, ‘we don’t know yet’ proved acceptable as an answer.
Adam> That constraints force creativity and innovation. We had limited time and a limited budget to bring this to life, in order to capture the spring car buying moment. This idea would have never seen the light of day if we had to curate or handwrite all the content. To make it work, we had to look outside the typical way of creating a podcast, and where we landed was leveraging AI.
LBB> What challenges have you faced during this project? How did you overcome them?
BBDO> A lot of our challenges came from the use of AI. When you’re using it at a larger scale, it’s a lot different than just goofing around with it for fun. There is a learning curve to it - how to write prompts to get what you want, and avoid things you don't want. There was a lot of trial and error to get the type of content we wanted, and the volume of content we wanted.
Adam> You can’t create a five-month-long AI generated podcast and not do the proper vetting to ensure nothing slipped in that shouldn’t, so it took some creative thinking and a decent amount of hours to figure out a review process that our team, and legal, were comfortable with. We got the right people with the right expertise and the right level of decision-making power in a room to work through this quickly, and we came out with an informed and agreed upon way forward.
LBB> What has the initial response been like? How have people reacted to the campaign?
BBDO> Great! It's really rewarding to see that such a unique idea is working, too. We've had millions of PR impressions, and the campaign elements are exceeding Kijiji's benchmarks. And, most importantly, the lift in traffic to Kijiji Autos has been immediate.
Adam> Within the first two weeks of the campaign being live, we saw a 1.9% lift in traffic to our platform. Our social click through has been more than 30% higher than our historical CTR, and the PR coverage has garnered over 7 million impressions to date, versus the campaign goal of 3.5-6 million.
LBB> Is the podcast actually exactly five months long?