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Showing posts with label BMW. Show all posts
Showing posts with label BMW. Show all posts

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Infographic Your Superfan Status with BMW

Ever wonder how you rank with a brand's "official superfan" on Facebook?  Yeah me neither.  Regardless, BMW brings its fans the opportunity, through a Facebook data generated personal infographic, to see how superfan they are.

The BMW Infographic application showcases several key stats for their Facebook fan page including the most viral post, most popular video, and a tag cloud showing popular words used by fans: Love, Nice and Awesome top the list.

The application entices fans to create their own infographic to see how they rank against Todor Todorov, someone the BMW social media team has identified as the "Official BMW Superfan." At the end of the personal generated infographic fans can see how they score against Todor. I wasn't too far from making superfan status generating a score of 217 vs Todor's 295. If only I liked more International pages or liked a few more BMW posts, superfan status could be mine!

What the infographic does well is give fans a desire to become more engaged fans.  The whole idea of making it a bit competitive is to show how fans can be more engaged with BMW by liking more BMW fan pages and showing how engaged a person is with BMW content on Facebook. More engagement equals higher scores.

There are a couple misses though with the application. First of all, one can only share the application as a shared link that brings others to a person's created infographic on the application tab.  It seems an image of the infographic would've been a better solution, especially since mobile still lacks support for Facebook tabs and you get comments like the one I received from a friend, "Link didn't work for me." Also if the generated infographic was an image, it could be shared on other websites, social sites, or email.

Unfortunately, the infographic doesn't have a similar viral impact of say Intel's Museum of Me which did some similar things; though, to be fair, the Intel idea requires significantly more budget to do. Intel created a personal video that brought people's Facebook content into a museum like walkthrough.  Perhaps a personal museum of BMW content shared by the person and their friends could showcase interaction with the brand in a more interesting way than an infographic.

Overall the idea here is a good one and it's great when brands use their fans' Facebook content in a way that relates past interaction in a way that tells a story.

Try it out at: BMW Infographic Application
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Tuesday, August 21, 2012

If You're Going to get Caught, It's Best to have a BMW

It helps to have a new 3-Series after getting caught doing a little backside slap in the rear... camera.  No car I owned during high school had a Roundel or a backup camera so I was pretty safe from getting caught making obscene gestures as I returned to the driver's side of my 1978 baby-shit brown Ford Granada. 
Here BMW has a little fun with technology and youth.  
It's a simple idea of connecting something we all have experienced, the excitement and possibility of scoring when on a prom date. Of course, the target BMW 3-Series customer isn't likely attending a prom, other than as a chaperone, but who cares. What matters is we can all relate and appreciate the ridiculous situations technology now puts us in.
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Friday, December 23, 2011

The Germans Wish You a Happy Holidays



Everyone is doing their take on the Holiday celebration. While Lexus ties giant red bows on IS sedans, the German car companies are celebrating the holidays in a variety of ways. Volkswagen had some fun with their Facebook fans asking them to share their favorite VW-Themed Holiday photo.

 BMW is having fun featuring the new M5 that is on its way to the US soon. They decided to create "The Fastest Christmas Card in the World" where they sit an illustrator next to performance driver Urs Inauen, or "swiss stuntman" as his website refers to him.


The ad is a great example of appealing to your target audience with some custom web content. It's a simple idea: new M5 + race track + holiday = a ridiculous mess.





Mercedes-Benz created a 17 red car salute celebrating Christmas in their latest ad with an all red display for the holiday. Unfortunately, they don't make a red G550 so they shared the red peel coat paint job the marketing team needed to complete the red lineup. The video shows the excitement that goes into painting a SUV. If you don't have time to watch the video just imagine 10 seconds of Pimp My Ride without 40 speakers and gobs of fiberglass.




Audi decided to mock holiday tradition this year with its ad featuring boomer parents taking their son's new Audi A6 for a joy ride right as he arrives home.

 It's a bit dull and lacks some of the fun of recent Audi ads, but this critique seems a bit harsh though I do get the blogger's point. Christmas is about family, not superficial opulence. It is a luxury car ad so opulence is expected.



What are some of your favorite holiday ads from the automotive industry, past or present?
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Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Automotive Facebook Fans by Brand: June 2011



It's another million fan milestone for BMW this last month as they crossed 6 million fans and have annihilated the challenge they were receiving from Audi earlier this year. It's tough to say how much of BMW's fan growth is due to sheer brand advocacy or how much of it is due to marketing efforts from all of its International markets. What is known is that the BMW team is leveraging the behaviors of the Facebook platform in creative ways.

Take for instance the latest activation from BMW where they are showcasing their Two Originals hommage promoting the original 328i with a revised future 328i concept. Part of the effort is a Facebook application that let's their fans create their own film and personal expression that they can then share with friends. It actually gives people a reason to share. It's not just a share button next to a video or promotion asking people to simply "like" a post. This is content integration that is creative and self-expressive which is what social media is all about.

The BMW example pulls in photo content from a Facebook profile and uses that to express the person's originality. It's not too much different than a recent viral execution from Intel called the Museum of Me that also recycled a user's Facebook content for brand benefit.

Meanwhile other brands continue to buy ad units promoting their page. Of note in June were some significant ad buys from Fiat USA who seemed to have an ad pushing their fan page to me about every second or third time I logged into Facebook, oddly I've been a fan for several months. Lexus also ran some ad units that drove to their fan page which accounts for their double-digit 10% growth in June.


Mazda, Dodge and MINI also experienced some decent fan growth in June. Dodge is expanding their social presence and activating some attention to the SRT brand with its Driving SRT and SRT Track Experience fan pages. Oddly the primary Dodge fan page does not "Like" these pages. Though fan growth for Dodge is not really being driven by the SRT pages; instead, Dodge has been running ad units also promoting its brand pages last June. I did not run across media for Mazda or MINI in June, but that's not to say there was no media or promotion through other mediums like email.

Overall it was a pretty slow month in June for automotive Facebook fan pages. The latest development is Google+ in the past week and already Ford has created a page. Perhaps someday this report will be looking at Google+ Circle numbers.




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Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Automotive Facebook Fans by Brand: April and May 2011



I've been tracking Facebook automotive fans since November 2009 and have never missed a month of data until last month. Unfortunately my early May was extremely busy and I overlooked capturing Facebook fan numbers that month. What is here is fan growth for the months of April and May 2011 combined.

Let’s get to what happened in April and May for automotive brands on Facebook. MINI had the strongest growth over the past 60 days. MINI has been activating user participation with their simple, but elegant idea of “Getting Billboarded” where fans
were able to show their image on a MINI billboard in Berlin. Fans were given the opportunity to share their image from Facebook and those in Berlin were given a photo booth to shoot a picture that would appear on a real billboard. It was a great way to create out of home media with social media. Plus participants were able to save their billboards as images that they could share or use as Facebook profile pictures, but they weren't doing this to only engage but rather to win their very own MINI car.

MINI is also activating their global fan base as a lot of its fans are coming from many countries. This is creating some significant separation on this analysis as brands like Audi, Mercedes-Benz, BMW, and Porsche are also all activating their global fan base and that is why they are growing at such a stride compared to brands with less of a global impact. Plus all of these brands are aspirational, which helps organic growth dramatically on Facebook, since people fan luxury, high social value brands.


The other brand with some significant growth is Mazda. It’s an interesting time to see some big growth from Mazda since they do not have a vehicle launch during this time.

Mazda is doing their best to increase engagement with their fans and are leveraging their other social properties on the Facebook fan page. They added YouTube and Flickr tabs and are actively promoting content through wall posts. They have also implemented a #MiataMonday idea that asks open questions to their fans.

Mazda is also doing a “Flickr Photo Spotlight” where they are actively looking for Mazda photos on Flickr and then asking photographers to join a Mazda photo Owners Group. Then they are choosing photos to feature on the Mazda Facebook fan page. See the image at left showing one such engagement from Mazda with a Flickr user. This is a great example of showcasing owner enthusiasm and it also brings some fame from the brand to the owner and does it in a simple, respectful way. Bravo to Mazda for being creative in how they leverage multiple social media channels.

One quick thought...

Most automotive ads I’m seeing on Facebook seem to be driving less and less to the brand’s fan page. Most automotive ad buys on the site are sending people to the brand’s website. This makes me wonder if brands are not seeing significant value in growing fans and instead are finding value in Facebook’s ability to segment ad buys by consumer interests and bringing people to brand pages where there is abundantly more information about the products than the brand’s Facebook fan experience.

We are all learning what works and does not work so well on Facebook. After seeing massive ad buys the past couple years from automotive brands spending media to grow fans and now not seeing that behavior; it causes one to wonder if fan growth is not THE metric of success as it once was, that said this blog will still track it to see how a brand’s audience grows.




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Monday, April 11, 2011

Is 3D Projection the New Flash Mob Marketing Event?




I've watched a few flash mob marketing events on YouTube and wonder why am I watching this. It's interesting for maybe 10 seconds but a 1:38-minute video of Can't Touch This... Is this really a good use of my time? I find I have the same experience with the latest trend in event marketing - 3D Projection Imaging.

Just like flash mob videos, 3D Projection Imaging videos always show the people at the event with their mobile phones capturing the moment and being in awe of what is happening where they are. That experience doesn't translate well for someone watching it happen on a YouTube video while at their computer. I guess you just had to be there to really get the experience.

3D Projection Imaging is cool looking and it is certainly more likely to get shared than say the typical TV ad or other attempt at social content, but that's a guess as I don't have any deep dive analysis into whether that is true or not. What I do know is that interesting content that is promoted effectively is likely to see more shares than stuff that is boring and/or has no media push.

Hyundai comes with the latest attempt at trying to capture interest with their Accent promotion and even include a Making of Film. The execution is nicely done with the suspended vehicle looking as if it is driving in multiple scenes there on the building. And even if 3D Project Imaging is starting to get old (see several automotive examples below), it is something fairly recent here in the States and showcases Hyundai's tag line "New Thinking. New Possibilities" in a creative way.

For more examples of how automotive marketers have used 3D Projection Imaging in campaigns, please checkout the following examples from Volvo, BMW, and Volkswagen.

Volvo gave it a try in Frankfurt, Germany on September 2009:



BMW's execution May 2010 in Singapore:



Volkswagen Polo showcased their attempt in April 2010. Be forewarned this example shows what one can do without a big budget:



Thanks to the Digital Buzz Blog for covering the Hyundai example. Checkout their review here.


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Sunday, February 27, 2011

Hyundai Debuts iPad Ad During The Oscars



It's an interesting sell for a $60k plus luxury car - feature the owner's manual. Manuals are something so mundane and expected, but what wasn't expected from a car manufacturer is an electronic version included in the glove-box on an Apple iPad.

But does it matter? Does the owner manual matter in a luxury sedan? Of course no one is going to buy a $60k car because they get a $500 tablet computer. The Hyundai Equus ad has nothing to do with attracting luxury car buyers, it's really about the brand showing they are being innovative and hopefully some of that innovation will rub-off on other shoppers who may consider another Hyundai vehicle, sans iPad.

Is the Equus iPad app really that innovative? There have been other versions of owner manuals including the cassette tape I received when I bought a 1997 BMW 318i. Sure it was no iPad, but it was better than flipping through the paper copy in the glove-box.

Some found the debut of Hyundai's Equus iPad Owner Manual ad during tonight's Oscars a "Brilliant" idea. It is a solid idea and a great way for owners to get to know their car better, especially with all the technology in today's cars. It is an excellent way to explain the complexity of today's vehicles. Fortunately, my former 1997 BMW didn't have today's electronics and could be expressed on a tape deck.

Of course you don't need to spend tens of thousands of dollars to experience the Equus iPad Owner Manual; instead, you just need an iPad and an iTunes store account. Click here to download the Owner Manual app.


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Sunday, February 6, 2011

Super Bowl XLV Automotive Ads: She Said, He Said Analysis with Melanie Batenchuk



Last year I had such a great time covering the Super Bowl ads with Melanie Batenchuk from the BeCarChic blog that I had to do it again.

This year there was a ton to cover and fortunately some standout ads. I checked out Mullen and Radian6's Brandbowl project that measures number of Twitter mentions and sentiment to find out my two top picks made #1 and #2. So it was a great year for car commercials.

Now for our thoughts...

Audi “Release the Hounds”



HE SAID: Was the hashtag #PrestigeIs? Or #PackersIs? Or #ProgressIs? Does it really matter? Audi’s claim to fame this year was being the first Super Bowl ad to use a Twitter hashtag. I followed the hashtag content for a couple minutes after the ad and people …. But did @Audi even show up? They did. Here is one of the tweets they sent.

So how about the commercial? Horrible. Boring and Kenny G. What was that? It was so incredibly boring and after so many great ads from Audi in prior Super Bowl years. The only good line in the ad was the “hit him with the Kenny G” where the wealthy escapee is sidetracked by some soprano saxophone. Overall though the ad didn’t have the wit of Audi’s recent campaigns.

In an interesting side-note, Audi bought the YouTube home page banner the night of the Super Bowl, hoping anyone there searching for Super Bowl ads would checkout Audi’s too.

SHE SAID: Super Bowl advertisers definitely discovered the promoted Tweet this year. When it comes to Internet technologies, auto industry folks can certainly be a little over-zealous. Audi, while trying to be different, overdid it. I was bombarded by the same 140 character promoted tweet from Audi (including their #ProgressIs hashtag) every 15 to 30 minutes. It would have been more impactful had Audi actually engaged with its community tonight.

I disagree with Chris that the ad was horrible; however, I agree that the best part was “hit them with the Kenny G!” Audi cleverly used the imagery of bourgeois people stuck in their “luxury” cells as a way to show how having a luxury sedan (ahem, a Mercedes-Benz) can be perceived as being stuffy. Audi’s marketing efforts in the past few years have certainly driven their brand far from that stuffy feel, attracting younger buyers who yearn for a ride that’s both sporty and well-appointed.

BMW X3 “Defying Logic”



HE SAID: This ad had a lot to love but the one thing that bothered me was why the focus on America? The ad leads up to the “Designed in America. Built in America” line. I get it’s true and it is a good thing for our country, but people who buy BMWs want German cars, not American cars. Part of me wonders if this messaging backfires for the brand. Honda ran similar made in America ads for their Accords a few years back, but that was in response to the US auto makers claiming they were the job builders of the car industry, not the Japanese. So Honda responded as did Toyota too that they made cars in America that created American jobs.

BMW is a luxury car maker selling an image. Just imagine the horror of some yuppie being told their German car is a South Carolina car. So much for prestige (not that South Carolina is a bad place, but let’s be honest it doesn’t have the cache of German engineering and attention to detail.) Overall, it was a brilliant ad for South Carolina and the great workers of BMW’s factory, but from a brand perspective I just didn’t think it worked in the company’s favor.

SHE SAID: I think it's great that we have GM touting German engineering and BMW telling everyone they build cars in America. This message isn't for car enthusiasts, or even BMW enthusiasts. This message is for rural America - those who have been so loyal to "domestic" brands in the past because they were built on U.S. soil. The Big Three have eased up on this messaging as it has become common knowledge that many of their vehicles are built in Canada and Mexico. Perhaps this will break down some of those nasty protectionism barriers that the automotive industry has faced.

Hyundai did a similar spot last year, sharing the news of their plant in Alabama. I wish that Volkswagen had done the same for their Chattanooga Passat.

BMW Advanced Diesel – “Changes”



HE SAID: Bowie, BMW and Diesels. Is there any more win in a commercial? I think not. The chugging Volvo station wagon up hill blowing out black smoke was classic as was the truck driver coughing up diesel smoke. It was funny and reset a lot of the opinions regarding what a diesel car is today. Times have changed for sure.

SHE SAID: BMW took me back to my youth with this one. I reminisced of my dad’s old powder blue Mercedes Benz 300 diesel (much like this one: http://www.flickr.com/photos/mercedesmotoring/4082414816/in/photostream/) I hated the smell that it emitted and the way it rattled before it warmed up in the wintertime.

I think BMW was spot-on with connecting us to our old feelings about diesel, but I’m not sure they did enough to evoke new feelings. Those who reacted to the ad on Twitter did not seem to make a distinction between the diesel of the 70’s and 80’s and the diesel technologies of today.

Chevrolet “Bumblebee”



HE SAID: In full disclosure, I can’t stand the Transformer movies. They are so awful. That aside, I think the ad played well with its unexpected plot and poking fun at the absurdity of most dealership ads. Mascot, cheerleaders, and balloons all added to the mockery, but where was the giant inflatable gorilla or free hot dogs? Come on Chevy if you are going to make fun of your dealer ads, don’t forget the free food.

SHE SAID: I think this was the most action-packed ad of the evening. Poking fun at dealers’ local ads never gets old. The twist of the Transformers Camaro made me wonder if it was a Chevy ad or a movie trailer. I will say, however, that Chevrolet did the best job at showcasing its models – each of its ads included a different model and a different marketing spin. That was smart move on their behalf, especially considering where GM was as a company just two years ago.

But, more than anything, what I liked best about this commercial slash movie trailer was that Megan Fox was nowhere in it.

Chevy Cruze “Misunderstanding”




HE SAID: A brilliant and fun way to emphasize 42 mpg fuel economy on the all-new Cruze Eco model. With a lot of cars now doing 40 plus mpgs, I’m not sure how well it stands out these days, but it is a good message for Chevy and a creative way to drive a product benefit home.

SHE SAID: With so much emphasis on the young and sexy, it was fun to see Chevy use the humor of these cantankerous senior citizens. The ad succeeded in calling out the Cruze Eco model.

Chevy Silverado “Tommy”



HE SAID: Chevy takes a break from their heritage branding and borrows from some other Americana – Lassie. The Silverado becomes its own rescue saving machine. It was a decent ad, but like the rest of the Chevy (and Hyundai) ads it just wasn’t very memorable and the Super Bowl is all about being Super. Maybe instead of trying to do four ads during the game, maybe one really impressive ad – like Chrysler’s – would’ve been a better route to go.

SHE SAID: Chevy deepened its American-at-heart branding with this classic spin on the TV show we all loved. I think Chevy should have played out fewer storylines within the time constraints in order to make a stronger impression. If there was only one rescue story for viewers to follow from beginning to end, then that would have made it more memorable.

Chevy Cruze “Status”



HE SAID: Oh great now I can listen to my aunt complain about her day at work in a Chevy Cruze. Is this progress? Well at least the ad shows a cute way it is helpful; though, a successful first date didn’t involve a Facebook status update when I was young. Times change I suppose, in this case for the worse. The ad was cute but not very memorable or entertaining; though, it did garner some discussion about Facebook more than Chevy where I was at.

SHE SAID: Just in time for Valentine’s Day, Chevy’s Facebook status ad was adorable. That being said, I’m not sure it makes sense for Chevy to try to compete with Ford’s Sync technology this late in the game. I felt as if the Detroit car maker was saying “Hey, we can do voice command, too. Oh, and don’t forget social networking sites updates!”

Watching the Twitter conversation was interesting. There were numerous tweets about how having a car read its driver Facebook status updates does not eliminate distracted driving. I believe that drivers are going to text and check their social networks regardless of rules and regulations, so why not give them the tools to do it more safely?

Chevy Camaro “Miss Evelyn”



HE SAID: Chevy goes with the let’s run through every cliché and then ends with another cliché. Any ad that begins with “I got a great idea for… commercial” is going to be lame. It wasn’t interesting. The better Camaro spot was their placement of the Camaro convertible during the MVP ceremony after the game.

SHE SAID: I had fun watching the brainstorming process that goes into advertising play out in an absurd way. The ad was definitely clever…and I’m sure the guys didn’t mind having three or four beautiful women (blonde, brunette, red-head) to feast their eyes on. Right Chris?

Chrysler “Imported from Detroit”



HE SAID: After Eminem was earlier featured in Lipton commercial saying he doesn’t do commercials while in a commercial as a cartoon, the Chrysler spot showed up taking over a full two minute commercial break. It definitely won a lot of hearts and minds from what I saw on Twitter after it aired. A few people where even asking for an “Imported from Detroit” t-shirt (hear that Chrysler?)

It was a great ad from the agency that won AdAge Agency of the Year Wieden+Kennedy. So no surprise they knocked the adorable VW Vader out from being my favorite from Super Bowl XLV.

On the negative side, too bad they couldn’t of used a better car than a refreshed Sebring, aka the 200. The 300 would’ve been a much better vehicle with its stance and new lines. I’m sure Chrysler would’ve loved to have used the new 300 instead. Unfortunately it’s made in Brampton, Ontario and “Imported from Ontario” kind of deflates the ad’s impact.

SHE SAID: The crowd – both online and offline – overwhelmingly identified with Chrysler’s two-minute commercial depicting Detroit as the come-back city. Using Eminem solidified the automaker’s fight to survive hard times. Chrysler was smart to latch on to his tough-guy brand.

“Imported from Detroit” was definitely the most powerful ad (at least emotionally) of the Super Bowl. Unlike Chevy and Audi, Chrysler didn’t need to spend money on promoted tweets because everyone was still talking about the ad hours after it aired.
The longer length of the ad left me questioning why others don’t do the same and whether this could become a trend in the next Super Bowl.

Ford Focus “Focus Rally”



HE SAID: In the pre-game show, Ford premiered their Focus Rally commercial asking TV viewers to “Join Our Team.” It wasn’t very clear to me what join our team meant since it didn’t really say what a team was or why I would want to join a team. Perhaps that more complex message can be answered at the Focus Rally website. I wasn’t alone as I immediately saw this tweet showing the same confusion, hopefully for Ford people will take the time to find out and apparently they did as the FocusRally.com website was unavailable when I tried to check it out after the ad.

SHE SAID: I give Ford props for its attempt to use traditional advertising to spark a social media movement. The automaker prompted viewers to visit its microsite to learn more about the Focus cross-country rally contest. People can participate in this interactive race and even win a new 2012 Focus. It will be interesting to see how successful it is.

Hyundai Elantra “Sheep”, “Childhood”, “Hypnotized”, “Deprogramming”







HE SAID: I barely remembered any of these ads and had to go back on YouTube to refresh my memory. And no I didn’t drink a lot, I had two beers during the game and one was a root beer. “Harness your Spirit Animal” lacked the punch of Chrysler’s end tagline “Imported from Detroit.” The hypnotized ad was the freakiest of the car ads this year and lost me.

“Sheep” was the best of this bunch. It really made me look again at the design of the vehicle and this is a good thing as Hyundai’s Elantra is great addition to their lineup.

SHE SAID: Hyundai is clearly good at coming up with themes for its advertising. I thought that these ads were decent, but not memorable. I remember Jeff Bridges’ voiceover more than the actual commercials. I think I would have liked to see Hyundai’s thriller “Car Wash” ad in the Super Bowl in place of a few of the others.

On the other hand, the “sheep” ad wasn’t all that “baaaaaad.” (Sorry, I just had to do it.)

Hyundai Sonata “Anachronistic City”



HE SAID: The Hyundai ad wasn’t a Super Bowl debut, but it was fairly new and showcased their move into the crowded Hybrid segment. It’s a good ad but like many others it just missed the mark of making any sort of impact when everyone is paying extra attention to the commercials; instead, of fast forwarding through on the DVR.

SHE SAID: If Hyundai was attempting a comparison ad, I think they missed the mark. It would have been nice to see which hybrids they were lining up against the Sonata hybrid. I found the tagline humorous and memorable, but I didn’t remember that this ad was for a car. Oh, and how many people know the definition of “anachronistic?”.

Kia “One Epic Ride”



HE SAID: I’ve been in enough creative meetings to know this ad was one of those outrageous reach for the sky budget ads. That’s all glitz. Unfortunately, the Kia brand doesn’t get me thinking “epic” and this commercial only said to me that the creative budget was epic but that it did little to nothing to move the brand message. Too bad, because the Optima is a great car and over promising only hurts the positive accolades the car deserves. Instead no one saw why it is a major jump for the Kia brand since all we’ll remember, if we remember anythings, is the Poseidon-like water king.

SHE SAID: Kia debuted its 2012 Optima with this movie trailer-esque ad. The storyline was weak for me, and the dude in the helicopter reminded me of an older version of Speed Racer. I couldn’t quite grasp what Kia was selling here. Maybe it’s because I’m not sold on the fact that consumers are fighting over their vehicles. But I did like how it finished; incorporating the Mayans is never a bad thing.

Mercedes Benz “Welcome to the Family”



HE SAID: A very well done, though mostly unmemorable spot for Mercedes. Honestly any commercial with a 300 SL Gullwing is great in my book and with so many excellent classic cars it definitely peaked my auto geek interest. The only part that bugged me was the inclusion of a celebrity, in this case P-Diddy or whatever his name is this year, that seemed completely unnecessary and took away from the romance of the classic cars. Perhaps someone in marketing felt no one would pay attention if it only showed cars. They were wrong.

SHE SAID: Having visited the Mercedes-Benz museum in Germany last fall, I enjoyed this commercial because it displayed the automaker’s long-standing history. MB recently celebrated its 125th anniversary, and I think this ad paid homage to that accomplishment.

MINI “Cram It in the Boot”



HE SAID: Seriously? “Cram it in the Boot”? Plenty of room to cram? Nothing like some good old fashion butt sex humor to get the football watching Americans laughing. This was such a sad attempt at being sexually suggestive for cheap laughs, perhaps MINI figured if they ran this spot late in the game we’d all be drunk enough to laugh away.

SHE SAID: In MINI’s debut Super Bowl appearance, it put the game show spotlight on its new Countryman crossover. This was my least favorite auto ad. Any Brits out there care to enlighten me on the humor?
MINI does give us a good look at the vehicle. Although, I have to say, the styling of the vehicle is so similar to the MINI Cooper, that it’s difficult to tell the proportions and size difference of the Countryman on TV. I saw the vehicle in person at the Washington Auto Show. It’s quaint yet extremely sporty. Though I’m not sure how many “moms-on-the-go” will be driving it. I liked MINI’s pre-Super Bowl ad “Emergency” better.

Volkswagen “The Force”



HE SAID: Brilliant. The ad, not the car. The new Passat is a major disappointment but at least marketing is doing its best to salvage what is basically a slightly larger Jetta. As VW tries to cut costs in their cars to be more price competitive, they decide to do some rights licensing from George Lucas.

SHE SAID: Volkswagen won the hearts of Star Wars geeks everywhere with this one. The 2012 Passat ad was cute and appealed to pretty much everyone. As a dad to two young boys, I'm sure Chris can relate to this more than I can. The ad couldn't have been better; however, I would like to have seen an ad featuring VW's new plant in Tennessee, where they now build the Passat for the U.S.

Volkswagen “Black Beetle”



HE SAID: This year’s best commercial soundtrack goes to VW (best one in 2010 was Kia using “Do You Like Me Know” by The Heavy.) Jon Spencer Blues Explosion recorded the “Black Beauty” cover for the ad. It has great energy and the turbo boosted beetle with racing stripes was a nice touch, but to get the best experience for this spot go to YouTube. Volkswagen created a full YouTube home page takeover last week that is the better experience. Check it out now.

SHE SAID: Another hit by Volkswagen. It was unexpected, energetic, and personified a crunchy, black bug. What more could you ask for?


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Sunday, January 2, 2011

Automotive Facebook Fans by Brand: December 2010



Milestones are a time for celebration. BMW gave thanks to its fans when it crossed 1/2 million fans. Audi recently celebrated its reaching 2 million fans and Mercedes Benz also showed some appreciation when it hit 2 million fans. All of these prior celebrations involved a wall post and video, but none of the automotive companies have done anything truly creative to celebrate such a milestone until now.

Porsche passed the 1 million fan mark a couple weeks ago and as part of the celebration they are placing a special model Porsche in the Porsche Museum in Stuttgart. Fans can ask for their name to be on the displayed vehicle by signing up on their Facebook fan page tab called "1,000,000". It's a creative way to bring the milestone to life, much more interesting than some thrown together ad agency video.


Major milestones aside, GMC blew everyone away with the most significant monthly fan gain - a whopping 95%. Like most double-digit changes, GMC's rise is attributable to media spend driving fans to their Facebook page. GMC has a sponsorship with the NFL that has fans voting for the "Never Say Never Moment of the Week." There are weekly prizes, a trip to the Super Bowl and a chance to win a 2011 GMC Sierra Denali.

Hyundai ran some reachblocks in the beginning of December. Other companies that did some marketing in Facebook were Lexus, Chrysler, and Dodge (this is not a comprehensive list just some of the ads I personally saw.) Mercedes-Benz worked to promote their Tweet Race. The ad units sent people to the recently created Mercedes-Benz USA Facebook fan page.

Yes, Mercedes like BMW, Mini and Smart now has a "USA" fan page. As part of their way to create interest for the page they are doing the "World's First Twitter-Fueled Race" which looks basically like a road-trip with four teams driving from four different cities to the Super Bowl in Dallas. This sounds eerily similar to last year's Chevrolet SXSW road-trip scavenger hunt. (Look for a coming article on Mercedes' event around when it begins on February 2.)

A final insight in December comes from Mazda. I find it interesting how some brands promote sales events (Acura has one right now), or they keep a corporate logo, or others promote a new product as part of Facebook's profile image. Mazda is promoting their new Mazda5 but they also found a nice, clean way to promote their other social media brand destinations in the profile picture. The promotion of other channels and their dot.com site is effectively communicated.



Download the Excel file: Facebook Auto Fan File (December 2010)

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Tuesday, December 7, 2010

BMW Takes Branding to a Creepy Level



This is either really cool or kind of creepy. I'm in the latter group, but you have to give BMW props for taking cinema advertising to a new and rather interesting space.

The technique used is similar to when one looks straight at the sun and then closes their eyes. Once eyes are closed, an image of the sun is captured as an afterimage. Don't believe it? Try it when the summer comes out in six months or look it up on Wikipedia (remember that site? The one that now sounds like WikiLeaks.)

BMW took the afterimage effect to a new place where they quickly flashed a bright light during an in cinema commercial and then the commercial asks the audience to close its eyes. Those who closed their eyes saw the afterimage of "BMW". It's a pretty cool idea; though, it isn't something that is easily portable as the projection of the logo requires a full installation behind the movie theater's screen. So scale is an issue.

Fortunately, we can all enjoy the concept via YouTube even if YouTube is unable to burn the BMW letters into our eyeballs. Maybe someday...


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Sunday, November 7, 2010

Automotive Facebook Fans by Brand: October 2010



BMW continues to rack up Facebook fans quickly. They were near 3 million fans at the end of October and a now over 3 million as of early November. What’s interesting isn’t BMW’s continued rapid growth nor is it Audi following close behind; instead, what’s interesting is another German luxury marquee has decided to play the Facebook fan game. Mercedes-Benz grew an astounding 65% in October and surpassed their own first million-fan milestone.

This month Lexus and Toyota both redid their profile images to include additional messaging. Lexus is cross-promoting their Twitter and YouTube accounts while Toyota takes a page from Dunkin Donuts, but with their own twist by featuring a fan’s vehicle. Toyota is also promoting a new shopping application for mobile phones called mLot.

Some brands kept up their brand page marketing as Cadillac continued to run reachblock ad units featuring their new Cadillac CTS Coupe that drove fans to the main Cadillac fan page. Volkswagen also promoted their brand fan page. The VW ad units featured the new Jetta that launched last month. What was interesting is that VW used to promote vehicles and bring people to their vehicle fan pages, not the main VW fan page. Seems they are making a change and focusing on the main fan page, not surprising as most of the action is on brand pages not vehicle pages.


Also interesting is quite a high number of fan pages seeing 20% plus growth in one month. Several of the brands didn’t seem to have ad units running in October yet they experienced some rapid growth typical of buying media.




Download the Excel file: Facebook Auto Fan File (October 2010)


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Monday, October 11, 2010

Automotive Facebook Fans by Brand: September 2010



Let’s get the big news out of the way. BMW surpassed the 2 Million fan number September 28th. On July 5th they hit 1 Million fans, so in a mere 3 months they gained over 1.1 Million fans. BMW has been on a fan rampage and finished the month promoting their secret reveal (I’m guessing it’s the new BMW 6-series.)

Hyundai saw a massive increase in fans as they nearly doubled their fans in September from 41,653 to 82,773 fans. This was done in part by some reachblock ad units I did see Hyundai run on the Facebook site. Others doing reachblock ads where Cadillac and Toyota continued to promote their safety and user story ads throughout the month of September.


Honda worked on promoting their Honda CR-Z Hybrid, but the ad units drove consumers to the CR-Z vehicle page. Honda saw a typical 10% gain on the brand page. Unfortunately, I think they missed an opportunity to drive more fan traffic to their primary brand page. It’s interesting to note that at the end of September Honda’s luxury family member Acura decided to abandon their vehicle fan pages. It will be interesting to see if Honda makes a similar move with their product fan pages or if other brands will follow Acura’s lead here, especially as brands probably look to 2011 and 2012 as ways to increase social media efficiency as social destination effectiveness comes clear with years worth of supporting data.

MINI finished their major Facebook campaign where they gave away a MINI Countryman from their Facebook fan page. Fred Manuel Roldan Rivero from Lisbon, Portugal won the MINI Countryman and the brand shared the giveaway PR event with their fans. Overall it was a nice promotion for the Facebook fans but MINI didn’t really see any major bump in fans which I find interesting because this contest may have more to do with energizing its fans than say growing the fan base. I don’t have any of the ad units promoting the event, if there were any, but MINI only saw a mediocre 11% increase in fans in September and XXX% in August. It’s tough to judge the contest as I don’t know what MINI was trying to drive. I assume handraisers and contest entries but Facebook fan growth didn’t seem to be a goal or a goal that wasn’t met.

In another notable move, Scion experienced a 34% jump that probably was due to the launch of Scion in Canada. Previously, Scion was only available in the United States. Scion launched the brand in Canada last month and one can assume the launch helped some fan growth from those to our north.


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Sunday, September 19, 2010

Automotive Facebook Fans by Brand: August 2010



It was bound to happen and September was finally that month where I didn’t have an opportunity to get the monthly Facebook Fans report up on the blog in the first couple days after capturing the numbers. Fortunately, I did record all the fan counts on September 3, but with the Labor Day weekend and a week of social media fun on the new job (more here at TechCrunch.) I didn’t get a chance until now to finally analyze this month’s data.

First, let’s talk about the brand I used to do digital strategy for: Lincoln. Lincoln’s growth in August definitely received a major jolt as it increased fans from 4,533 to 13,161 leading to a 190% increase. Most of this can be attributed to a contest Lincoln was running in July and August where the brand showcased a chance to be the first to test-drive the all new Lincoln MKZ Hybrid. Lincoln created a special tab for the MKZ and also accompanied the promotion with some email marketing and advertising on Facebook. Of course, the jump is significant, because Lincoln’s fan base is a small number so adding almost 9,000 fans will cause a big boost percentage wise.



Another brand with a rather small fan count, but also a generous gain in fans was Mitsubishi. They saw a 44% gain in fans as they added nearly 13,000 fans in the month. They had several sweepstakes where fans could win a Flip SlideHD Camcorder, $500 gas card, Nikon Digital SLR camera, and ultimately a trip to Japan. Giveaways are certainly an effective way to gain “Likes” as we see in several reports about why people “Like” a brand on Facebook with the number one reason being discounts, support for company number two, and number 3 to get a freebie (full study from ExactTarget.)


Finally, in the giveaway to get Fans Facebook strategy, Mini also participated with their Win a Countryman contest. They saw a strong 36% increase in fans. Product launches naturally tend to increase fan counts beyond the normal 3-6% organic growth, but by adding a giveaway Mini boosted their growth significantly.

Toyota continues to do a lot of marketing on Facebook. They continued throughout August with ads throughout the Facebook site where they mostly promoted their Auto-Biography contest where participants submit videos about their personal experience with Toyota. Toyota is letting the message come from customers, a very smart message after a year I’m sure the company can’t wait to be over.

The other big news for August is BMW is rapidly gaining fans to cross the 2 million fan mark. They just crossed 1 million fans back in July. Yet, they continue to still spend time on the BMW USA fan page. Segmenting fans by creating unique fan pages has never been a good approach in my book, especially considering you can segment your messages to your fan base by using Facebook’s features to send a message only to people in a particular geographic location. That issue aside, they are dominating in the automotive Facebook fan grab.




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Monday, August 2, 2010

Automotive Facebook Fans by Brand: July 2010



BMW and Audi are definitely proving all it takes to drive significant Fans on Facebook is a healthy marketing budget. Both brands had over 40% gains in July and both crossed the laudable 1 Million-Fan mark. Considering it took BMW years to cross the half-a-million-fan mark back in February 2010, where they celebrated the milestone by launching a YouTube video, it is interesting to see how ad impressions on the social media site can drive significant gains for aspirational, luxury car brands. (Note: the BMW Facebook Fan page was assumed by the brand in November 2009 where it had been managed and originally created by a BMW dealer in Spain. So, the first 1/2 million fans was dominantly, if not entirely, gained organically.)

Some of the smaller volume brands like Mitsubishi, Smart and Scion also experienced over 40% growth leading me to believe both also ran Facebook advertising this past month.

Toyota gained an impressive 38% fans in July. They were actively promoting their latest social media user generated content idea called “Auto-Biography” where the social media team selected a few stories to be “animated with the help of [their] artistic friends”… i.e. ad agency. This is interesting, as Toyota has been running several safety videos in response to their much publicized recalls.


Here we finally see Toyota recovering from the bad public relations and turning to the voice of the customer, which I think is a good move based on where the brand is today. Let the consumer voice showcase their passion for the products. It was a risky bet, except that Toyota approves every story before it is posted on the Facebook tab.

The only odd thing in July was a negative fan dip for the Infiniti brand. It would be interesting to see why this is happening. My guess is that some Infiniti fans are a bit turned off by the social media team’s wall posts promoting the Cirque du Soleil promotion; though, this guess is just that a guess. Looking at the fan page comments on the Cirque posts, several fans do enjoy the association. It still could be due to an increased frequency of the team pushing every marketing promotion on the page's wall. Without knowing the Facebook analytics and insight data, it is difficult for me to assess what is going on, perhaps their Facebook team should look at frequency of posts and also when the fan drop may have occurred since it is pretty rare to see a brand page lose fans in a month.




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Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Automotive Facebook Fans by Brand: June 2010



Well after a fairly mild, ho-hum couple months life is heating up on the automotive brand fan pages with several companies upping their marketing on the site and a lot of double digital month-over-month growth from several brands in June.

The big battle of fans was last month’s BMW vs. Audi battle royal. It seems both brands answered the challenge by working hard to get new fans. BMW had a staggering 36% increase in fans which is an insane growth percentage from a brand with already the highest numbers of major automotive fans on the social media site. They added 244,181 fans in one month!

Audi did very well too with a 16% growth rate and 103,255 fans added in June. That’s almost the total amount of Toyota Facebook fans; 107,389 fans to be exact.


I’m still trying to figure out what BMW and Audi did to drive so many “Likes” in one month. My guess is outreach to owners through Become a Fan messaging and some social media marketing on Facebook, but I can’t confirm either.

Toyota did a lot of marketing on Facebook this month, but they didn’t do it to drive people to the Toyota fan page; instead, they took users to their Toyota Safety landing page where they are working on their safety perception issue after many recalls.

Lexus had its own Facebook goals where they drove consumers to their Facebook fan page by enticing them with the new halo vehicle advertisement for the new LFA super car. The message must be getting through as my own father in-law, not a car guy at all, started asking me about the LFA one day on a Home Depot run; though, he saw the ad on television.

Honda reignited their love machine this month by running Facebook ads for their Everybody Knows Somebody Who Loves a Honda Facebook application and they even did a Father’s Day ad that tied in that Day’s message with Honda’s own campaign message (sorry I had a screenshot of the ad but must not have saved it.)


Mini and Infinti both had big jumps in fans with 32% and 43% gains respectively. Infiniti ran a campaign promoting their Cirque du Soleil contest that brought users to a Facebook tab promoting the contest. Meanwhile, Mini had its fun challenging Porsche to a race.

The Mini vs. Porsche effort definitely spawned some major engagement with its fans that mostly loved the idea of challenging the all mighty Porsche 911.

It certainly was a crazy June on Facebook. I’m curious what July will bring.


UPDATE: Thanks to one of my new Twitter followers @ChrisBrashear it seems Audi ran a photo upload contest in June which I'm sure was supported with some ad dollars on the site too.

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Sunday, June 6, 2010

Automotive Facebook Fans by Brand: May 2010



For the first time since I started reporting these numbers, we have a new leader. BMW overtook Porsche this month. BMW’s lead may not last long as Audi is gaining followers at almost two times the rate BMW is and Audi is only about 20,000 followers behind BMW. Audi gained 13% while BMW gained 7% in May leading me to believe the top spot may change hands quite a bit between BMW and Audi. Porsche’s growth is a mere 3% and hasn’t been strong in awhile so I expect them to stay out of the lead unless the company decides to spend marketing dollars for Facebook fans.


Besides a new champion and threatening soon to be champion, not much else is going on in the automotive Facebook Fan world. Scion has the biggest surge since establishing their “official” fan page a couple months back. They are running a new promotion called Unlock the tC Road Trip. The contest uses Facebook Connect and game players can recruit their “Crew” using their Facebook friends. The game just launched June 1st so other than some early promotion it probably has little to do with Scion’s surge of fans, but the new game could impact fan growth in the coming two months.

One trend I am seeing is in use by Honda. The use of a custom Facebook tab to use for contests is becoming very popular since it is another avenue to attract people to a contest promotion, particularly people who have already demonstrated interest in your brand or product. The Honda Civic vehicle fan page markets the Civic Tour which has been going on for several years now, but I believe this is the first (or possibly second time) Honda has used Facebook to feature the event on its fan page.

The Honda Civic Tour example is more of a landing page message that jumps the user to a microsite, which allows for contest entry and more details (checkout the Honda Civic Tour site.) This is becoming very common as Scion too is following the same approach with their latest sweepstakes/contest.


This month I wasn’t served any automotive “become a fan” ads on Facebook. It’s possible Facebook is getting more intelligent with its ad serving or there just isn’t the rush to gain Facebook fans that was going on late last year and earlier this year. The more modest growth numbers tell me companies are not buying “become a fan” ad buys right now and maybe finding other methods of marketing their Facebook presence like adding Become a Fan to their website or email materials.




Download the Excel file: Facebook Auto Fan File (May 2010)

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