If you’re an online troll who commandeers Twitter and Facebook as if it were a Napoleonic war, you might have just typed yourself out of some free gas, not to mention some friends.

Chevrolet is trying to enhance personal engagement with consumers by pumping some positivity into the socialsphere by partnering with IBM Watson and introducing “Fueling Capabilities,” a new digital campaign that evaluates users’ social media presence to gauge their positive impact on society.

The Chevrolet Global Positivity System is a mobile and desktop website that provides the most accurate snapshot conceivable of a user’s social sentiment by pairing personality to possibility.

How does it work? Twitter and/or Facebook users are asked to enter their account and within seconds the program returns a score that makes you either feel like Mother Teresa or a Kanye West lovechild. The tool was made by IBM Watson’s cognitive computing platform.

The campaign aims at driving awareness for Chevy across global markets under the tagline “Find New Roads.” To promote it, Chevy took over three gas stations in Buenos Aires, Cape Town and New Orleans where patrons were given free gas based on their positivity score. The free gas initiative is also planned for Canada, Dubai and South Korea.

Could Oprah, LeBron James and Pope Francis win free fuel? IBM Watson tested their service on some world leaders and celebrities by applying linguistic analytics and personality theory to infer attributes from unstructured text.


Chevy becomes the latest brand to hitch its consumer-marketing wagon to IBM Watson, joining the likes of Macy’s, Kia and a slew of others.

Stephen Gold, the chief marketing officer for IBM Watson Group and vice president for partner programs and venture capital at IBM, said that there isn’t a single industry that won’t be transformed by their cognitive computing technology.

“Marketers pay a steep price for not understanding their customers’ needs and reactions to their business decisions. Watson can help marketers better understand their customers on an individual level, creating a more personalized experience that can lead to deeper engagement and stronger brand affinity.” Gold told [a]listdaily. “Much of the data explosion that has occurred, especially in the social realm, has provided an incredible wealth of information for marketers to learn from and respond to. But to take advantage of this newfound resource, they need cognitive capabilities.”

Although a dearth of data analytics can work wonders, according to a 2016 PwC’s global data and analytics survey, 62 percent of executives still rely more on experience and advice than data to make decisions.

To better find out why Chevy drove deep into the roads of data, Brian Thomas, director of global creative content for Chevrolet global marketing, joined [a]listdaily to explain.

Why did Chevrolet zero in on cognitive computing to create a social sentiment tool?

What we set out to create went beyond social sentiment. We used both IBM’s Watson Personality Insights as well as the AlchemyLanguage APIs for tonality of social posts. It was our goal to create a tool that could provide a detailed personality snapshot for users that was based on multiple criteria, including a social media analysis to evaluate sentiment and a personality characteristic evaluation to help guide users toward activities for their next adventure. Ultimately, Chevrolet’s point of view in terms of applying technology is that it should make life simpler and better. Partnering with IBM in this way allowed us to create a simple, human experience that encourages real people to find a new road in life.


What is the partnership with IBM Watson designed to accomplish? How does it help you sell cars?

The ‘Fueling Possibilities’ campaign drives awareness for our brand and what we stand for. Chevrolet is at different stages of brand awareness around the globe. A global campaign such as ‘Fueling Possibilities’ helps us create consistency as to who we are as Chevrolet, bringing a unifying message around our global brand promise to ‘Find New Roads.’ Our audience wants a brand that means something to them. These types of campaigns help define Chevrolet globally. There are scores of auto brands producing cars around the world. We need to be clear as to why Chevrolet produces them. Chevrolet exists to help people make every mile count on their life journey.

Is there a specific marketing strategy behind promoting the Chevrolet Global Positivity System?

‘Fueling Possibilities’ is being supported through a global integrated campaign that consists of paid digital media, owned media and earned. Through paid media, we’re utilizing targeted Facebook custom videos based on edited content from the campaign. We also ran a promoted trend on Twitter across multiple global markets amongst other digital marketing tactics. We also had a really strong earned push that started with an employee advocacy strategy developed to get our own Chevrolet employees engaged and familiar with the app itself. Because we incorporated social sharing into the app, there was a viral tide that helped build awareness from the inside-out.

How will you be judging the success of the Chevrolet Global Positivity System? What kind of tools work best to assess the activation?

The campaign will span over a year-long period. We’ll utilize post-campaign analysis and measurement reports specific to standard digital metrics.


How would you describe Chevrolet’s social personality?

I would say that our social personality is commensurate to our brand values. We’re a genuine brand with a strong history. We’re confident, optimistic, young at heart and live for innovation.

What do you plan on doing with the dearth of data that you gather? Will Chevrolet develop tailored marketing campaigns and products with the data? 

We aren’t focusing on PII, but more so giving customers who may never have considered a Chevrolet the opportunity to understand more about who we are as a brand. In aggregate, the data we evaluate through ‘Fueling Possibilities’ will help us design better campaigns into the future. We truly believe we can build on this experience.

How is Chevrolet positioning the brand in developing and implementing global creative content along with digital and social media strategies?

We’ve created what we refer to as the global content studio which is made up from a cross-discipline team of blended talent on the client side as well as across multiple agencies, focused on one objective. The global content studio allows Chevrolet to speak with a consistent voice across markets within digital and social while providing us with the right people, processes and tools to support a world where being both agile and responsive is key.

What role do you want to play in the new era of computing moving forward?

We recognize that the world is not only digital, but mobile. How we convey our brand values to our customers has to be built around the tenants of digital marketing—we need to be agile and responsive while providing personalized experiences that lead our customers to feel that Chevrolet is a brand for them.

Follow Manouk Akopyan on Twitter @Manouk_Akopyan