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Showing posts with label Acura. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Acura. Show all posts

Monday, January 14, 2013

Honda Advertises on the Associate Press Twitter Feed



There was an interesting revenue tactic last week by the Associated Press when technology company Samsung advertised on the AP's twitter feed during CES.  AdWeek immediately covered the story, since there is some discussion about AP blurring the line of between "editorial church and state."

Another week and another big industry event, this time the North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) in Detroit and sure enough the AP's Twitter account is again posting sponsored tweets this time for Honda and Acura. Both posts featured the upcoming concepts the brands were featuring to interest AP's 1.5 million twitter followers.

This is an interesting tactic since one can assume a lot of media from other publications follow AP on Twitter.  If a brand can get their news to journalists in a quick way through what could be seen as a target media buy to a difficult to reach audience - reporters, this may not be all that bad of a tactic. Unless it backfires as crossing some line as some commenters on Twitter have expressed.

What will be telling is how long this lasts.  It could be seen by Twitter as a challenge to their own advertising model.  If Twitter accounts start selling their tweets directly to brands, this could usurp some ad dollars from the company providing the community and with a looming Twitter IPO on the way this probably won't last long.

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If you want to hear some more on this topic, checkout this week's BeanCast Marketing podcast that I was a panel member on. We discuss this topic in depth as well as several other current marketing and social media topics.


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Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Super Bowl 46 Automotive Ads: 3rd Annual ‘She Said, He Said’ analysis with Melanie Batenchuk


This is the Third Annual She Said, He Said with my good friend and fellow automotive blogger Melanie Batenchuck who writes at BeCarChic.

Overview This year’s Super Bowl was somewhat of a game changer for the auto industry. Much like the mood at the North American International Auto Show, the message last night was “We’re back! Now please buy our cars.” Twelve carmakers spread the ad love with 22 commercials aired before and during the big game. Hyundai and Chevrolet had the bulk of ads with four and three spots respectively, but that doesn’t mean they were the most memorable. Hyundai sponsored the kick-off pregame, where it aired two ads – one on the Elantra and the other on Hyundai’s 45,000 employees in the U.S. Toyota sponsored half time.

Needless to say, cars could be found in nearly every commercial break. And it seemed as if every car company was trying to out-do Volkswagen’s 2011 ‘Darth Vader’ ad, including Volkswagen, but none really achieved it. Honda’s Ferris Bueller homage was probably the closest to recreating the VW nostalgia among audiences.

#SuperBowl social media was everywhere The incorporation of social media was even more prevalent in this year’s Super Bowl. Last year, we saw the introduction of promoted tweets and hash tags, and SB46 included a plethora of such targeted advertising. While Audi and Acura added hash tags to the end of their commercials (#SoLongVampires and #JerrysNSX), others stirred buzz through promoted tweets and has tags.

There was even a legal spat between Ford and Chevrolet over the Chevy’s apocalyptic “2012” ad that specifically mentions a Ford truck driver ‘didn’t make it’ through the end of the world. A lawyer from Ford sent a cease and desist letter to General Motors on Saturday, February 4.


YouTube ruins ads for anyone paying attention If you’re like me, then you’re excited about the teaser ads companies release prior to the Super Bowl so you can get a taste of what is to come. All I wanted was a taste, but the week leading up to the big game left me drinking from a fire hose. Once an auto brand jumped off the YouTube bridge, the others tumbled like dominoes right behind. The pregame release of commercials can be fun if they aren’t the same ads aired during the game or simply share the beginning of the story and you have to catch the rest on TV.

The only car spot that we didn’t get a sneak peek at was Chrysler’s ‘Halftime for America’ ad starring the ever-gritty Clint Eastwood.

Now on to the good stuff… Below is the full ‘He Said, She Said’ analysis with Melanie for each automotive ad during the Super Bowl in the order that they aired. Enjoy our commentary and let us know your thoughts in the comments below!

Hyundai – Victory Lap Car featured: Elantra | Watch the Video

HE SAID: Another quick, simple idea with Jeff Bridges calmly delivering the punch line, must be another Hyundai ad? Not much to say here except I wonder if Hyundai could make a bigger splash by concentrating their Super Bowl ads into a single ad.

SHE SAID: Hyundai kicked off Super Bowl XLVI with a feel-good, patriotic ad aired during the pregame event. The familiar voice of actor Jeff Bridges told us it was a Hyundai commercial before ‘Stars and Stripes’ cued the adorable Elantra, this year’s winner of the North American Car of the Year.

Hyundai – All for One | Watch the Video

HE SAID: Hyundai went for short comedic spots, but for this one they shared how their corporate culture is one of supportive action complete with Rocky theme music. If I recall correctly, this ad ran between the coin toss and kickoff. The positive energy was fun but like many Super Bowl spots last night it didn’t generate much interest after its 60 seconds were up.

With only 70,000 views on YouTube, no one searched for and based on the comments a significant amount of Union Automotive workers didn’t feel inspired after non-union Hyundai factories were featured.

SHE SAID: The Korean-based automaker took this opportunity (and the ‘Rocky’ theme) to showcase its 45,000 employees in the U.S. and how the team at their Montgomery, Ala. Plant helps to make Hyundai the brand that it is today. Although the singing was a bit cheesy, I liked that this ad helped to dispel the myth that American cars are built only in Michigan.

Kia – Dream Car for Life Car featured: Optima | Watch the Video

HE SAID: Adriana Lima, Chuck Liddell, Motley Crue, and a stadium full of bikini clad fans… seriously what more do you want from a small automotive brand? It’s a fun ad with a lot of big production ingredients designed to hit all of the target demographic passions of its aspirational buyer.

SHE SAID: Kia plays up both men and women’s senses by giving us a look into their dreams with this outrageous ad featuring fairy dust, Motley Crue, a race track, a white stallion, and Adriana Lima (who made a second SB46 appearance for Teleflora). This one wins my award for ‘most fun’ out of the car ads. It pleased both male and female audiences and had a lot of great energy behind it.

Hyundai – Cheetah Car featured: Veloster Turbo | Watch the Video

HE SAID: Meh. They promoted this ad quite a bit using Facebook ads the entire week before the game. It too is highly forgettable and the concept while cute for a second lacks the fun of the other Hyundai spots like “Think Fast.”

SHE SAID: By now, I was ready to see an ad from someone other than Hyundai…and this wasn’t even their last installment. While the commercial was entertaining, I felt that stacking all of their ads so close together made it difficult for everyday consumers who were watching to differentiate between the company’s products.

Hyundai – Think Fast Car featured – Genesis Coupe | Watch the Video

HE SAID: Charming. When you can make a temporary heart failure charming, you know your ad has a great premise. This simple ad without a big name celebrity, Hollywood movie set, or show dog finds a fun way to message performance. It’s unexpected and gets a quick smile from the Super Bowl audience.

The ad is complimented by several online videos featuring the High-Powered Business Tips from the boss in the Genesis Coupe ad. Of course you’ll have to figure that out online and not from the TV spot.

SHE SAID: I had a small chuckle at this ad, mostly because it reminded me of a scene from my favorite movie “What about Bob?,” where Bob (played by Bill Murray) won’t wake up out of bed Other than that, it simply shows that the Genesis Coupe comes with good braking agility.

Cars.com – Confident You Watch the Video

HE SAID: If weird is your thing, Cars.com has an ad for you. Complete with Siamese bobbing goiter head.

SHE SAID: I really didn’t enjoy the Cars.com ad. Confidence doesn’t have to be so creepy. And it doesn’t have to sing either.


Chevrolet – Happy Grad Car featured: Camaro convertible | Watch the Video

HE SAID: And now for some MoFilms user-generated semi-professional videographer ad goodness that’s not from Doritos. The Happy Grad ad is great. A new sports car is something any grad would go nuts for if mom and dad presented such a surprise while still in a cap-and-gown. The reality of the graduate’s non-present is one we can all relate too.

SHE SAID: I didn’t really get this ad either. The parents really didn’t try to show their son the fridge. And who gives their kid a mini fridge for graduation? Much less one out on the front lawn….

Toyota – Connections Car featured: Various Camry models | Watch the Video

HE SAID: This is a continuation of Toyota’s personal stories campaign that’s been asking owners on social media to share their stories. It’s not a bad ad; though, like the Lexus ad it blends into the crowd. What’s missing here is personalizing the stories even more by showcasing the exact language from their owners and sharing posts the brand has received on the web.

“Connections” is similar to a lot of past ads by just about any car company. We all have a story to share from our car. Every car I’ve ever owned has some story. So having a personal story really isn’t that interesting so I’m doubtful this campaign creates any compelling positioning any against competitors. Sharing a story in and of itself is dull even if you do add a cute dog hanging its head out a window.

SHE SAID: Toyota tried to tug at your heart strings here , but I think this commercial would have been more effective as a regularly run ad. The Super Bowl is so cluttered with attention grabbing spots that trying to get people sentimental about their Camry’s a few adult beverages in, may not be the best approach (unless, of course, you’re Chrysler).

Fiat – Seduction Car featured: 500 Abarth | Watch the Video

HE SAID: I refuse to review this ad as a Super Bowl ad, it was launched last year and is not original to the Super Bowl. Granted it was the first time many people paid attention to the ad, even if they passively saw it before…

SHE SAID: This video was saucy to say the least. What can I say, sexiness sells. Any commercial that can get my husband to tweet that he wants to look at a Fiat 500 is a success in my book. Sorry dear, it doesn’t come with the model.

Audi – Vampire Party Car featured: S6 headlights | Watch the Video

HE SAID: A few people have asked me what do I think of the Twilight Audi ad. I felt it was more True Blood with the older vampires and cooler Echo and the Bunnymen soundtrack. Plus as one 20 year old reminded me they think Volvo when thinking Twilight vampires, since Volvo dominated in movie placements.

The whole Twilight, True Blood, vampire trendy thing aside the ad is a great example of taking a rather mundane product feature like headlights and making it compelling in an interesting way. Is it Super Bowl entertaining? Sure. Not every ad on game day has to have a dog or model (or soccer star) in underwear.

SHE SAID: This one actually made me laugh out loud, mostly because I’m not into all that Vampire stuff. Lots of people liked the funny ad and the hash tag they assigned to it (#SoLongVampires). This commercial was for those of us who aren’t in love with blood-sucking teen wolves. Unfortunately, the ad fell short of promoting a car. Who spends $3.5 million to advertise headlights?

Suzuki – Sled Car featured: Kisashi | Watch the Video

HE SAID: My choice for cutest dog ad goes to Suzuki for the Kizashi “Sled” commercial. It’s adorable heck even the human driver is adorable and isn’t that what great pet advertising is all about? Plus what else are you going to say about an All-Wheel Drive system that hasn’t been said or done twenty thousand times already.

SHE SAID: My first reaction was, “Suzuki has enough money to buy a Super Bowl ad?” After the initial shock, I then found this to be a witty ad. Glad to see the Kisashi get some love. Hopefully it’ll translate into some U.S. sales for the company.

Chevrolet – Stunt Anthem Car featured: Sonic | Watch the Video

HE SAID: One creative idea that always gets tiring is the “let’s break a world record or be the first at X.” You know the brainstorming has hit a wall when your creative team starts Googling to see if anyone has skydived a car before.

That said, it’s a well done version of a rather boring concept. Of course the well chosen music track "We Are Young" by Fun, ft. Janelle Monae helps dramatically.

SHE SAID: Many of my friends really liked the adventurous spirit of the Sonic ‘stunt’ ad. I thought it was pretty rad and catered to the X-games demographic. I’m not running out to get a Sonic anytime soon (because I still think it’s a glorified Aveo), but others have recommended the sporty compact.

Bridgestone – Performance Football Watch the Video

HE SAID: More tire tread balls. I'll give them an A for consistency and a C for maintaining anyone's interest.

SHE SAID: Much like the Patriots’ final play, this ad from Bridgestone was a great idea but was poorly executed. (Sorry, Pats fans.)



Lexus – Beast Car featured: GS | Watch the Video

HE SAID: Nice grille. Now is a good time to go get another beer before the game comes back on.

Honestly, it’s a good update to a rather bland design and in person I love the new GS I saw at the Panasonic booth while at CES last month, but this ad is entirely forgettable and nothing is worse than a forgettable Super Bowl commercial you just paid $3.5 million for.

SHE SAID: I actually liked the teaser ad better because it created some suspense and excitement. I would have like to have seen an extended version that showed the some of the performance aspects of this Lexus classic.

Cadillac – Green Hell Car featured: ATS | Watch the Video 

HE SAID: Another 3-Series challenger. Welcome Cadillac, join the crowd and thanks for the cliche track porn driving around Nuremberg. Can we all agree as an industry that Nuremberg shall never be used in another ad campaign or PR stunt? It's as overplayed as Tim Tebow Internet memes.

SHE SAID: Sorry, but just because you hired German engineers and flung it around the ‘Ring doesn’t mean it’s a BMW beater.


Bridgestone – Performance Basketball Watch the Video 

HE SAID: Sleeping baby for the win! Not sure how a bouncing tire tread basketball on a wood court is similar to a pothole filled Michigan road on 19” performance rims, but I’ll admit I’m over thinking this one. Maybe it’s just because I don’t really care to make the connection between basketball and a tire’s quietness.

SHE SAID: Yawn. Nobody wants to hear about tire treads, we want to see it in action. Give us performance!

Honda – Matthew’s Day Off Car featured: CR-V | Watch the Video

HE SAID: One of my favorites as long as you overlook the sad notion that every child of the 80s high school playing-hooky idol ends up in middle-age driving a Honda CR-V. Then again many do end up in a basic, but nice car like a CR-V. Nothing is wrong with that except most of us remember the car aspect of Ferris Bueller’s Day Off as the beginning of collective our lust for a 1961 Ferrari 250 GT California.

Of all the Ferris Bueller film moments in the ad, it’s not surprising we don’t see Broderick telling us, “if you have the means, I highly recommend picking one up” about the CR-V.

Oh well, it was great seeing a character we all loved return; though, Honda’s teaser made several think a new Ferris movie was coming, not another Super Bowl car ad. Guess we’ll all have to continue waiting for the full feature film of Ferris Bueller’s Day Off from Work coming to theaters in...?

SHE SAID: Ferris Bueller lives!...and he drives a CR-V. I liked how Honda brought back pleasant memories from a movie almost everyone over the age of 25 can remember (did I just age myself?). They did a great job recreating scenes of the original flick in such a short amount of time. Not sure anyone will be running out to by a CR-V, but there is a Facebook group pining for a sequel!

Acura – Transactions Car featured – NSX | Watch the Video 

HE SAID: This is the ad that crashed Acura’s website after it aired. I’m not surprised. Not because of the Jerry Seinfeld, Jay Leno celebrity effect. Nope. The reason everyone was rushing to Acura’s website was to see if they could afford the return of the much anticipated NSX!

What a beautiful car and a fun way to build excitement for the limited production release. Make a game of being first and isn’t being the guy on the block with the coolest car in the garage satisfy one of our most primitive desires? Plus this is one of the more believable celebrity fights to be first to own a car. This is the game of wealthy car enthusiast comedians than your typical Super Bowl viewer.

SHE SAID: The NSX lives!! And it’s really coming to production this time! I heart Jerry Seinfeld and Jay Leno. This would have been my favorite ad if it didn’t get released before the Super Bowl.

Volkswagen – The Dog Strikes Back Car featured: Beetle | Watch the Video

HE SAID: Star Wars has gone to the dogs. I ended up playing a drinking game with fellow #BrandBowl tweeters. Simple concept. Dog in ad = Drink. Thank you Volkswagen for the help.

SHE SAID: Well, well, well. VW actually released a teaser video and THEN a full Super Bowl ad that was loosely tied in with it. What a concept! This was a fun-loving bit that anyone could enjoy. Wait, is that the dog driving the Forester in that Subaru commercial?

Toyota – Reinvented Car featured: Camry | Watch the Video 

HE SAID: Some of the concepts here were cute and others confusing. Unfortunately the Camry didn’t look reinvented. It takes a pretty keen eye to see what Toyota has changed on the car this year. And with a typical evolutionary, not revolutionary change the concept of this ad falls short. 

Also what's with the time traveling baby that doesn’t poop and when it rains you lose weight? Neither seems desirable, except the no pooping part.

SHE SAID: I would definitely want to reinvent the DMV experience. The only thing missing in this ad and the other spot by Toyota was how they reinvented the Camry.

Chrysler – It’s Halftime in America Car featured: Various models | Watch the Video

HE SAID: I call this the Anti-Mitt Romney NY Times Op Ed Article Commercial. Sure it lacks the ring or sentimentality of It’s Halftime in America.

For a second year, Chrysler goes for the emotional up by our bootstraps brand messaging, but this time uses Dirty Hairy and fosters the strength of all of America, not just Detroit. It’s gritty, dark and strong just like last year’s ad but with a broader appeal.

Like the VW Star Wars ads, the Chrysler spot basically borrowed from last year’s success without an original idea. Instead it was more about building on prior success using a similar concept.

It’s not that I don’t like the Chrysler spot. It’s good. It’s just that I sort of saw it last year with Eminem and no offense to Clint Eastwood, but last year’s version was better. Besides I felt it was also so negative. Almost a view of America that is about 3 years old especially after seeing the improvements in the Unemployment rate and reduced fear about a massive recession; though, I’m by no means suggesting this economy is all fixed.

SHE SAID: This ad left me chanting, “Clint Eastwood for President!” For the second year in a row, Chrysler has seriously tugged on the heartstrings of Detroiters and Americans. There’s no one better to send the message of America’s true grit than Clint Eastwood. Although many people found this to be too politicized, I think it’s well timed. I liked how the ad didn’t showcase one car but rather bits of various Chrysler brand vehicles. Oh, and my favorite part of the ad? I didn’t see it before it aired!

Chevrolet – 2012 Car featured: Silverado | Watch the Video 

HE SAID: My favorite ad by far. I’m mainly happy to see the end of the world is less depressing than Cormac McCarthy’s The Road. Now there is a lot of controversy sounding this ad today after Ford raised several issues with Chevy’s claim of their product not surviving the fake-pocalypse, but that’s an issue for PR and legal.

As an ad, it is well done and a great touch with Twinkies surviving the apocalypse for a bonus comedic effect.

SHE SAID: Drama! The ad was great, don’t get me wrong. I just think that it would have had a stronger impact if Chevy didn’t single out Ford in such a negative way. After all, Ford isn’t the only other automaker competing in the truck market. Disclaimer: The author of this post provides strategic communications services for organizations that represent the auto industry, including many of the car manufacturers featured in this blog post. The views expressed in this post are solely the author’s and were not solicited by any third party.
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Saturday, February 4, 2012

Pregame Buzz



Last year Volkswagen had quite the viral hit with "The Force" Super Bowl ad.  Of course, many forget that hit required some media spend to drive awareness about the commercial before the big game. Volkswagen did several paid media placements including the homepage of YouTube.

The awareness raised by advertising assisted sharing dramatically, but mostly sharing worked because "The Force" ad was brilliant with its adorable use of Star Wars encapsulated in the eyes of a little boy playing Darth Vader.

This year everyone is replicating VW's strategy to viral success. Ads are showing up everywhere promoting Super Bowl commercials.  Facebook ads. Promoted Tweets. YouTube homepage takeovers. Emails promoting the ads.

Here is a list of the Super Bowl commercials having some pregame advertising to drive YouTube video views along with how many views they received as of Saturday morning February 4. Each ad had it's own amount of advertising dollars supporting it.


We'll all see a year from now if one of these ads can attain the viral dominance of VW's "The Force" which has 50,014,879 views after a year on YouTube.

Acura "Transactions"
12,417,801
Honda "Matthew's Day Off"
10,913,584
Audi "Vampire Party"
3,468,337
VW "The Dog Strikes Back"
2,984,829
Toyota "It's Reinvented"
1,601,559
Chevy "Happy Grad"
1,243,390
Chevy Sonic "Stunt Anthem"
465,503
Hyundai "Cheetah"
452,094
Cadillac "Green Hill"
199,803
Lexus "Beast"
140,886

For a full review of the automotive Super Bowl ads, stay tuned as Melanie at the BeCarChic blog and I will be doing our 3rd Annual She Said, He Said Super Bowl Automotive Ad Review.
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Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Promo Magazine Guest Article



I had the opportunity to do a guest article for WOMMA's (Word of Mouth Marketing organization) PROMO magazine. I covered some of the things we are doing at AT&T to tighten up our Facebook presence and why that matters on a platform like Facebook. Also, I should add that automotive brand Acura did a similar effort late last year as they moved to consolidate all of their vehicle fan pages under the one Acura brand fan page, a wise decision in my humble opinion.

Take a look if you are curious what I do in my day job leading social media at AT&T. Click here to read the article: "AT&T’s Social Exec Talks About Focusing its Facebook Presence"


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Monday, April 11, 2011

Automotive Facebook Fans by Brand: March 2011



March was a rather subtle month without a lot of on-site fan growth ads from the automotive brands, but it was the first month a new brand returned to the United States. It’s been 27 years since Fiat has sold a car here. They returned with the Fiat 500 and I have added Fiat to this list. Like BMW, MINI and Mercedes, Fiat also has a USA-focused Facebook fan page, but like those brands I am reporting on the global brand’s Facebook fan page, but do record all of the USA-focused fan pages.


Meanwhile, Acura continued to run and promote their “Compete Like a Pro” contest for the all-new TSX Sport Wagon (as an interesting side-note, the TSX Sport Wagon is the Japanese Honda Accord wagon that everyone was hoping for back when the Honda CrossTour was announced last year causing quite an uproar on the Honda fan page.) The “Compete Like a Pro” contest is an interesting example of fan growth from marketing, CRM, and engagement.

Back in January they promoted the contest and bought some Facebook ads to support the effort creating a 23% increase in fan growth. In February, some marketing continued but most of the effort to promote the contest was done through Acura’s email communications (see image at left from a February 22 email) and there was some promotion by contestants to create interest (votes) for the contest that resulted in a 10% fan growth. As the initial surge of contestant promotion tapered, so did the fan growth, as it was only 5% in March when the contest was closing the voting.

Many of us see friends in our own communities promote – ask for – votes when they do an online contest. This initial surge in friend participation comes to an end rather quickly and then near the end of the contest, the highly competitive top people in the votes make an additional request for votes, but this is a much smaller group. What we see with the Acura contest is fairly typical and shows that the biggest impact in fan growth is still advertising to promote instead of counting on organic growth. The final 5% growth in March is a normal organic fan growth so the contest was doing very little in fan growth. Of course it might of (and hopefully did for Acura) create more clicks to dot.com and engagement which were probably the primary goals of the contest.

There was very little else going on in March for the automotive brands on Facebook. Lexus saw some positive growth with the biggest bump of 22% fan growth coming from their heavy media buys around the all-new Lexus CT200h.



Note: Unfortunately I missed a month in March, a first since starting this monthly post in November of 2009. I did record the fan numbers and you can see the early fan numbers from March in this post. I never did a February 2011 report, but have all the raw data if any one wants it. Please send me an email at red335i@yahoo.com if you do.


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Saturday, October 9, 2010

Acura Shuts Down their Vehicle Facebook Fan Pages



I have never been a big fan of automakers starting vehicle fan pages. There are exceptions to my thinking, for example halo cars like the Mustang or Corvette or when one vehicle is more compelling than your brand alone - like the Subaru WRX.

My thinking is you are lucky to get a person to fan any of your fan pages, so why not drive people to your brand fan page where you can talk about the car/truck/suv they are interested in, but also market some of your other products and brand messages. It's a great opportunity to showcase your product portfolio.

Acura has decided this is the way to go. They started with a strategy of having the Acura brand fan page, but also have a tab called "Vehicle Lineup" where fans could click and go to each vehicle fan page. Now Acura fans click the vehicles in the tab and are taken to the Acura.com website vehicle page and isn't this all about driving consumers to your optimized shopping site? Okay, it's not all about that, but you should be working to get fans to your .com site.

The other reason to not have unique vehicle fan pages, especially for brands like Acura that are more defined by the brand than one vehicle, is the extra resources to manage the vehicle pages and also you start segmenting your fans so your advertising becomes a discussion around whether to drive Acura fans or vehicle page fans. Why not simplify?

On an interesting note, Acura did not get the fans moved from the vehicle pages to the brand page. I'm guessing a lot of brands will not change their strategy because they cannot simply transfer fans from one product to a brand page. This is the old issue with sunken costs and how some tend to hold on to bad investments simply because they spent a bunch of money already.

It will be interesting to see if other automakers (and other industries) will catch on and focus on building their brand, not individual product pages.



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Monday, March 1, 2010

Automotive Facebook Fans by Brand: February 2010



It’s been a very interesting month on Facebook for the automotive industry. A lot of companies are getting more aggressive with their marketing efforts and showed up with some decent spend promoting their brand fan pages in February, the Super Bowl happened, and Toyota is in a tailspin.

Marketing For Fans

Several brands did “Facebook Fan” campaigns. Fan campaigns are ad unit buys that typically show up on the Home News Feed page of Facebook in the Sponsored section between Suggestions and Events content. The ad units feature a “Become a Fan” button that allows people to easily fan a page without even having to visit it.

Dodge ran the most significant Fan campaign in February. They most have bought a full month of ad units, only the third time I’ve ever seen a brand do such a thing (VW and Honda being the other two.) Dodge ran ads featuring two messages. One featured their Super Bowl video “Man’s Last Stand” and the other linked to the Dodge Fan Page tab talking about their Super Beard Contest.

Mazda also bought several weeks of Fan ad units in conjunction with their Mazda 2 vehicle launch. The ads asked users to “Join the Movement.” The ads did not feature a vehicle image; instead, the unit was a blue-on-blue checkered flag with a small Mazda logo. Very little branding in the units but Mazda had a significant percentage jump in Facebook fans, a whopping 568% growth in February. Could it have been more with a stronger logo or did they gain more with less branding? Tough to say, but Mazda definitely attracted a strong number of fans with their buy.

It’s hard to say whether Dodge or Mazda did better with their marketing buy on Facebook without knowing impressions bought and how targeted the buy was. Percentage wise Mazda did far better than Dodge’s 126% growth, but Dodge had a much higher starting number of fans. Dodge grew by 36,000 fans versus Mazda’s 18,000 fans or two times the growth in numbers over Mazda.



Volkswagen did a little bit of marketing in February too to further promote their PunchDub Super Bowl ad. They only ran Fan ad units for either a day or few days after the Sunday following the game. The ad units also included the Super Bowl commercial they did.

Ram Trucks and Acura both did marketing buys too, but nothing that significant. Acura saw growth of 10,000 fans but that probably didn’t involve much of an ad buy with targeted marketing spend and some fan growth due to organic increases; though, the 185% growth number shows they did accurately reach their fans.

Let’s Talk Toyota

This morning as I was finishing this article an article showed up on AdAge about “The Cult of Toyota” and how since the recall Toyota fans are rallying to the brand with a 10% growth in fans since the recall announcements that started at the end of January.

From the article:

“According to Doug Frisbie, Toyota Motor Sales USA's national social media and marketing integration manager, the automaker has actually grown its Facebook fan base more than 10% since late January, around the time of the marketer's Jan. 21 recall announcement and its Jan. 26 stop-sale date.

“In fact, Mr. Frisbie said the automaker has been somewhat surprised by the large number of customers who have leapt to Toyota's defense in ‘an authentic way.’

“That's a testament to the resilience of the brand, but also to Toyota's ability to quickly pick up one of the most important tools in a crisis-communications handbook: social media.”
First of all, the number is 15% in February, but that’s not my issue with the assessment.



If we look back at Toyota’s growth in fans month-by-month we notice two things. One, they have doubled their percentage growth of fans gained from 7% to 15% from the January to February. So, AdAge is right the brand is attracting more fans since the recall so the recall must be the reason. Maybe not if we look at what else stands out in the data – they grew even more in November 2009 yet there was no recall then nor did they market for fans that month.

I would argue one couldn’t really account any surge in fans due to the recall. This is only four months of data and it is not clear what a typical growth in fans is for the brand. It looks to be somewhere around 11% on average so a 15% gain in one month really isn’t that significant especially when you consider how many other brands not marketing and not going through any major PR issues are also gaining fans in the double-digits.

One of the interesting things about doing this monthly "Facebook Fans by Brands" report is seeing how the spin is done to showcase things that seem unusual to the casual observer, but are really not. What would be interesting with the Toyota situation is to evaluate the brand’s conversations on its Facebook fan page since the recall. Now that might show something unusual or interesting.

A Couple House Cleaning Items

Suzuki decided to move their Facebook automotive content to a new Fan Page for Suzuki Autos that did cause some dip in their numbers since my prior calculations were using a more broad Suzuki Fan page that encompassed all of the brand's vehicles including motorcycles and recreational products.



Finally, I have been tracking Scion's brand page for quite sometime but just learned this month, when the fan page was updated with information about it being an Unofficial Fan Page, that it is not managed by the brand. Also, the page received a new friendly URL http://www.facebook.com/UnofficialScion. So, I have removed Scion from the report since they currently do not have a Fan Page for the brand; though, they do have one now for their Release Series vehicle line.
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Sunday, January 31, 2010

Automotive Facebook Fans by Brand: January 2010


There is one clear leader in this month’s Automotive Facebook Fans by Brand report: Volvo. They ran some advertising campaigns developed for the Facebook platform. The first is one that’s been up a few months but was continuing to get some media dollars, Drive Around the World. The other is a lifestyle brand experience called Ice Camp that also has its own Facebook page.


The Drive Around the World has Facebook friends travel together as each friend takes over the drive like passing a baton in a race. Volvo will then donate 15,000 Euros to a charity that fights Global Warming. Obviously the game has broad appeal with the charity aspect and social enablement. Altogether Volvo saw a 421% increase in January fan numbers. Quite impressive though like many of the huge percentage changes we have seen they only started with 11,875 fans at the beginning of the month.

Most brands saw typical gains in January. GM brands saw a slowing down since backing off media spend on the platform, particularly Chevrolet and Cadillac (both had 50% gains in recent months), but this is typical and shows the difference between organic and media driven growth.

Zoom. Zoom.

Mazda saw a nice improvement this month. They also moved their Mazda North America page into the Mazda Facebook fan page which got rid of some confusion around how one follows the brand. The now retired Mazda North America fan page was more for Public Relations communications which seemed duplicative to the http://www.facebook.com/Mazda fan page.

Both MINI and Acura ran advertisements in Facebook that I caught during the month. The Acura one was for increasing fans of their ZDX vehicle page, not the primary brand fan page. Meanwhile MINI promoted their coming Countryman SUV. This shows that both brands are interested in further developing vehicle fan pages which to me seems odd since both are niche vehicles and it would be better to get consumers engaged more with the brand than an isolated product.

Toyota’s Public Relations Issue

Toyota is an interesting brand this month, not so much for its growth but it’s public relations fiasco with its faulty pedals on 8 vehicles. Currently, the Toyota fan page has a status update pointing fans to http://www.toyota.com/recall for information about the company’s response and updates. This shows that brand pages can act as another communication medium to keep consumers up to date on major announcements.

Brands be warned; one “fan” keeps posting a news video that discusses Toyota allegedly concealing and destroying information. That “fan” has posted the story five times with four posts having been deleted by the page administrators. He continues to post the story on the Toyota fan page wall. So, it works both ways and the brand should just let the post live since it is just a link to a news story and removing these posts might cause more of a PR issue.





Download the Excel file: Facebook Auto Fan File (January 2010)
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Thursday, January 21, 2010

Someone Needs to Tell BMW Widgets are Passe



It’s no secret: I’m a BMW fan boy. However, I just don’t get what led to the development of the BMW 5-Series Desktop widget application.

As part of the 5-Series launch in the UK, BMW launched a website experience showcasing some early images and facts about the car. They also added a Desktop widget application people can download to stay up-to-date on 5-series news.

What bothers me about this whole execution is what rubbish it is. It's either a low-cost recycling of another BMW widget that's been around since 2006. Or someone obviously convinced BMW to invest in a widget to keep customers current with 5-Series news, but then someone realized what everyone on a widget advertising idea realizes, Wait, we don’t have enough content to keep things fresh and interesting. So what else can we put in the widget?

So like many they added the cliché clock, weather and news feeds to keep things updated. The news feeds are the funniest part as they are just topical feeds that have nothing to do with BMW. Users can change their preferences (see image at right) and the content is probably chosen because it is relevant to the target consumer.

The idea of featuring what is thought to be relevant content is nonsense, because people already have tons of places they already regularly go to get news and chances of your brand’s random news feed matching someone’s needs is pretty rare.

We can assume the news feeds match the target consumer profiles the marketing team came up with or what existing publisher relationships the BMW brand already has established. The news information is enlightening, as I never knew the BMW 5-Series segment was so enthralled with “Sexy Surfer-Girl Swimwear” (see image at left)? But then again who isn’t interested in Malibu’s latest swimwear styles.

The widget also doesn’t extend the website experience or include additional information about the new car that can’t be found elsewhere. There simply is no reason to use the widget if you’ve already been to the 5-Series reveal site, which you had to have visited to download the widget. With no new vehicle content or insight into the vehicle’s features, it lacks any value to people interested in the product.

It’s really disappointing that a car as cool and modern gets a lame 2007 widget to help launch it. Widgets were all the rage several years ago and some companies did get it right, like Acura’s Navigation widget that showcased their technology in a cool, useful way. Plus it has been successful with over 51,000 downloads from just Yahoo!'s widget site alone (BMW's 2006 widget mentioned earlier has 21,000 downloads.)

Unfortunately, the BMW 5-Series widget is a hobbled together mess that is trying hard to be valuable to its customers. I wonder how many will keep using it after seeing how little information it provides and how every link about the product, except images, opens a new browser window taking people to the BMW UK site. I’m guessing very few installs will survive post initial curiosity.
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