When it comes to marketing strategy, the auto industry is synonymous with product placement. But it’s also been among the first to leverage online video. Here are some of our favorite examples of clever car-related online video campaigns. We’ll start with a recent project that Clear Online Video contributed to with Buick. Buick sponsored an online video holiday cooking series called Chef Gastronomy starring Chef Judson Todd Allen. The video demonstrates Chef Allen’s traditional recipes with a healthy twist for families. The Buick logo appears at the beginning of the video and they show Chef Allen driving to a store in a Buick Regal to pick up ingredients – but that’s really it. It may not seem like a lot off the bat, but it’s actually a great example of personality marketing. Buick is aligning itself with Chef Allen’s image – a young, hip and creative family man. Just the type of guy Buick wants to attract. Back in 2009, Ford approached Olga Kay, a well-known YouTube personality covering topics from video games to women’s beauty. They gave her a free car and gasoline for a year. Olga’s call to action was featuring her Ford car in a video once a month on one of her YouTube channels. Unlike product placement in TV or film – where the car would likely be shown just once – Ford was put in front of Olga’s 700,000+ subscribers on a regular basis for 12 months straight. Hyundai also targeted a younger demographic when they partnered with the Students of the World – a national network of university students and creative professionals that produce media to inspire social action. As part of the campaign, Hyundai sponsored 16th Street – a 3-part video series that celebrates the creative process by bringing together emerging filmmakers, a dancer and a musician to create a film in Oakland’s historic 16th Street Station. Hyundai is getting even more bang for the buck because the series is airing on YouTube and the Pivot TV channel, the same millennial-aimed network that airs Hit Record on TV. Finally, there’s BMW’s Preparing for the Future, a partnership with Team USA in preparation for the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics. We see a lot more of the BMW logo, but the practice bobsleds used by Team USA in this video were designed by BMW. Overall, the video is edgy, sleek and does a great job of showing the emotional build up to the Winter Olympics. The athletes talk about their intense training and high standards. BMW is drawing the parallel of how an Olympic athlete’s process is similar to their manufacturing model with precision, speed and control. Sound like a BMW to you? While all of the examples mentioned take different approaches and target various demographics, they all have one goal in common. They’re creating original and engaging video content that appeals to their intended audience. What was your favorite series? Tell us in the comments below!