Pages

Showing posts with label Chevrolet. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Chevrolet. Show all posts

Saturday, December 31, 2011

Chevy's Virtual Arcade of Good Times



As I predicted back when Hyundai followed the latest trend in outdoor installation marketing, Chevy took their projection marketing shot with a cool claw game to Hollywood Boulevard's Roosevelt Hotel to promote the Chevy Spark.

This installation used projection imagery but with an added user participation twist.  People could interact with the projection using a large Chevy logo joystick and see if they could grab a Spark.  It is a great play on the projection concept since it combines the awe of projection marketing, which is relatively new, with the fun of playing a game right on the street for all to see.

I have to admit, I would've loved a try at Chevy's Claw Game since I never win at the arcade version and here I could play without the constant loss of quarters and for a free chance to win a car.

Gaming is a large part of the Chevy Spark's introduction. If you missed your chance to play claw, there is a site called LetsDoThis.com that features all kinds of personal stunts people can submit for a chance to also win a car. 


ShareThis

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Chevy Goes Doritos



It appears Chevy is doing a version of Doritos Crash The Superbowl contest where video contestants can enter their 30 second spots for a chance to win an opportunity to be part of the marketing industry's favorite game - Ad Bowl. Unfortunately for the Chevy contestants the top prize is $10,000, not the potential for $1 million like the orange chip maker is doing; though, the million dollars is awarded only if the commercial "is awarded one of the top 3 spots (including ties) according to the USA TODAY Ad Meter rankings.

The Doritos campaign to win a commercial during the Super Bowl has been going on since 2007.  This is Chevy's first year.  Doritos launched their original campaign on YouTube while Chevy has decided to go with MSN's website for the hosting of their Chevrolet Route 66 contest.

Chevrolet coordinated film submissions with MoFilm, a crowdsource video site that caters to film students and pro-am video producers who can enter contests from a variety of top brands across the world.  MoFilm and Chevrolet received over 200 video submissions from the MoFilm site and then curated that list to 30 top finalists that people can vote and share from the MSN website.

It makes sense doing the voting from the MSN site, since MoFilm doesn't get the large general market traffic like MSN or a YouTube does.  Of course, if Chevy continues this contest for multiple years perhaps it too can have the elaborate experience Doritos now has with CrashTheSuperBowl.com.

Currently an ad called "Keys" featuring various keys and what they may or may not go to is leading. It feels very much like something Chevy's own ad agency could have created for the current Chevy Runs Deep campaign. Of course one wonders why Chevy is even doing a crowdsourced commercial?  Isn't this idea a bit dated and it feels more copycat than original after years of UGC ad contests. Perhaps Chevy's "happy with them in general" agency Goodby Silverstein & Partners issues go deeper than just some lack of "consistency"?

I'm personally voting for "Miss Van Der Volt!" It's so odd it is endearing and well a certain madman thinks it's worthy of a vote.


ShareThis

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Chevy Is Featured in WSJ Klout Story


Chevrolet gets some attention in the Wall Street Journal's video showcasing several brands using the online influencer ranking tool Klout. Chevy did a Klout Perk earlier this year giving some people in social media a few weekend with a Volt.

Unfortunately, the video doesn't share any results of what comes from participating in a Klout Perk and if that truly leads to any goals a company has when going this route in social media. In other words, did someone tweeting about the Volt, influence purchase or increase awareness in a way that was worth giving the car to said influencer for a few days?

If you are interested in improving your own personal score, you might be interested in a blog dedicated solely to that activity and possibly you too can get a car for the weekend or some cooking tongs from Bravo simply for having a high score.


ShareThis

Friday, July 29, 2011

Chevy Pits Its 100 Years of Cars in a Bracket Challenge



Congratulations to Chevrolet as they get ready to celebrate their 100th birthday on November 3. As part of many festivities that are to happen until then, the brand developed an online experience that pits its 100 years of select models against each other. It is basically a bracket challenge where people vote for their favorite Chevrolet cars and trucks.


The 100 Years of Chevrolet website combines several social media connections with the brand where people vote by clicking a Facebook like button all to answer the age old question "What's the best Chevy of all time?" I know I wasn't asking that question either, but it is fun choosing which car or truck you like best in each round.

Most votes have a clear winner in the first round, but the 1970 Chevelle SS convertible and the 2010 Camaro are in a pretty close match with only 100 votes separating the two cars after almost 4,000 total votes in the match. Psst...I voted for the Chevelle SS.

I'm already a fan of Chevrolet on Facebook, but if you are not you need to be to cast your votes. Unfortunately, once you are a fan the experience got a little spammy after I went back to my Facebook profile since the Chevy 100 website doesn't tell you that every vote is published to your Facebook wall (see image on right.)

Other than the minor publishing to Facebook situation, and yes I get why they did it that way as it creates interest to my friends on Facebook and hopefully more traffic for Chevy's website, the experience is solid and focuses more on people's love of the current lineup and their love of Chevy's prolific automotive history.

So go and vote for your favorite Chevrolet vehicles!


ShareThis

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Chrysler Group's Mopar Takes a Page from Ford and GM



The social media road trip/rally/race/whatever is so common it’s becoming a bit cliché and in my former days listening to media companies and social agencies pitch ideas there was always some effort that involved putting celebs, comedians or everyday people into cars to share their experience across social media by giving them a car and some challenges to do.

The latest example of this model comes from Chrysler’s performance division Mopar: The event is called Moventure. Get it? They had a call for submissions for filling ten teams that would drive Chrysler division vehicles from Detroit to Golden, Colorado at the NHRA Mopar Mile High Nationals, a “full throttle drag racing series.” The team with the most points stand to win $5,000 in Mopar parts and accessories.

Each brand (Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep, Ram, and Fiat) has two teams of two with challenges all along the way to the final destination, think something similar to Chevy’s SxSW Road Trip from 2010 and 2011. It’s kind of funny that my article on the Chevy event garnered a comment stating “*waits for Chrysler to emulate Ford’s Fiesta Movement, just like GM did? ;-p” Apparently the answer is July 2011, sort of.

This is coming out of the Mopar division, not the parent company, though looking how it’s being shared on twitter the Chrysler brand twitter accounts and Chrysler PR people are Retweeting content from the Mopar teams, similar to what happened with both GM and Ford events.

Fiesta Movement was very different from this model. It was 6 months with 100 cars given out that gave time for participants to build an audience. A more likely Ford use of this template was the Ford Fusion Relay Race that used similar teams on a short multi-day road trip.

The Mopar event participation is like others who have blazed this social trail. Most of the social conversation is from the teams with the brand (or agencies) supporting the conversation through Retweets and @ mentions on twitter. There is some video content too that’s being created but as you can tell (image at right) the views are pretty low even after 24 hours since posted.

I really wonder about if these events are worth all of the effort. I’m sure blog coverage is a big win for the organizers and for this Moventure contest. So far there has been zero coverage from the top two automotive blogs – AutoBlog and Jalopnik; however, there was coverage from Car & Driver, Torque News, and CNBC (they reprinted the press release verbatim.)

What is success and what is a good amount of social conversation and who it was from is rarely discussed because no one ever goes back and evaluates their effort against competitor efforts. This I know after actively following many over the years, it’s 90%+ people involved in the effort who discuss and socially share it (team members, brand, and agencies.) There is very little spillover effect unless you really invest big dollars engaging celebrities, philanthropy and market the hell out of it – think Mercedes Tweet Race – or you do something more involved like the 6-month Ford Fiesta Movement.



In full disclosure, I have some good friends that make up two of the teams on this road trip and I really do wish them well. From what I can tell they are doing what they can to generate interest and discussion about their involvement. It’s just that no one really cares, except those participating, when it comes down to it.

I’ve seen the output reports on efforts like this and everyone shows an impressive looking number of “mentions” and a summation of all the video views/comments/tweets, and then some screen-shots of blog coverage and well that’s it and off everyone goes to the next project. I expect Moventure is no different and that's not a criticism of the Mopar effort. It's more a result of how this model historically works.


ShareThis

Monday, July 11, 2011

Looking Into the Share of Voice of Volt and LEAF



This blog has followed a lot of the marketing efforts of two very compelling vehicles from the past several years: The Chevy Volt and the Nissan LEAF. Both cars are currently taking charge (pun intended) in the battle for green bragging rights with consumers and now Nissan has thrown a new punch at its Chevy competitor.

The new ads feature life with gasoline fueled appliances. The ads look into the continued dependence of gasoline engines as an old technology that is far behind the times, of course most of Nissan’s own portfolio of vehicles are hence old technology, but this is about green bragging rights and Nissan showcasing its competitive advantage.

Chevy has ensconced its Volt as a fighter of “range anxiety.” Range anxiety is the uneasy feeling that one’s all-electric vehicle may run out of charge before reaching the owner’s destination. Chevy has a backup gas engine to avoid such moments of concern, of course that’s pretty expensive backup plan but thankfully both the Volt and LEAF gain from current $7,500 government incentives to offset costs.

I wanted to take a look at how performance for both of these vehicles is doing online and worked with some great people from MutualMind here in Dallas who ran some social media analytics against the two cars for the week of May 29 - June 4, just to get a peek at what is going on in the social conversation.


IMG 1: Brand Hits refer to the Nissan LEAF, Competitor Hits to the Chevy Volt



It’s interesting to see they are both neck and neck as far as coverage, mentions of the two vehicles are with the Nissan LEAF having a slight edge, but that may be due mostly to the new ad campaign that is gaining some visibility internationally since it is creatively similar to a Renault ad running in Europe.





Sentiment is where the data gets a bit more interesting. Negative sentiment for the Volt is almost two times higher than it is for the LEAF, but that’s only half of the story. Positive sentiment is 34% higher with Volt than LEAF. What's this tell us? At least in social media conversation, Volt is a more polarizing vehicle meaning people are either defending it or criticizing it.

There are some rumors circulating around GM doing an all-electric Volt (GM has denied this.) It’s highly doubtful GM would use the same vehicle name (or even the same brand Chevy) to compete more directly with Nissan’s LEAF and Ford’s coming Focus EV. Like the hybrid market, the electric-vehicle (EV) market is sure to get very competitive and not be as simple as evaluating two primary competitors.

For now though, it is interesting watching these two solutions from two big brands battle for the hearts and minds of the green crowd as we move into the Post-Prius green vehicle movement.

Later this week I'll be sharing some of my personal thoughts on the Chevy Volt after driving one several days.

Thanks to Babar Bhatti from MutualMind for providing me with some great data. For more information, please contact:






Company: Mutual Mind
Website: http://www.mutualmind.com/

MutualMind is a social media management and intelligence platform that enables businesses to monitor as well as promote brands on social networks while providing actionable analytics and insights to increase social media ROI.

MutualMind offers a platform that allows users to aggregate and analyze feedback and conversations regarding their products or services on all of the major social media platforms. While many alternatives on the market today are limited just to listening or publishing, MutualMind’s has taken its value proposition further through the ability for users to actively engage with and manage the various social media outlets.

The functionality of this platform can be used for a myriad of business applications including: measuring market receptivity to products or services, tracking consumer or political sentiment, reputation/crisis management, generating sales leads, benchmarking versus competitors, and customer relationship management to name a few.


ShareThis

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?


ShareThis

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

"Celebrity" Ride and Drives



Celebrity is back. Okay, it never really went away, but it seems there is a new spin on how to get celebrities interested in trying out a new car. Pair the celebrity with an interesting personality who can keep the conversation interesting and also find some time to highlight the features in the car.

For Lexus, the formula centered around the attractive comedian Whitney Cummings driving celebrities - from all walks of life - including a skateboarder, actress, and a social media author in the all-new CT 200h. The CT 200h is a new hybrid hatchback that arrives at dealerships in March 2011. There isn't much new with the CT 200h, but Whitney is a great host and makes most of the videos watchable. She definitely is the star more so than the car.

The CT 200h campaign is called the Darker Side of Green, but they extended the campaign by calling the drives Darkcasting. Why Darkcasting? It is described as "the first ever in-car after-dark talk show." I'm sure the claim of "first ever" will go unchallenged. Each drive takes place at night and the cast is Whitney as passenger and her "celebrity" driver.

You can see social media author Brian Solis in this video:



Chevrolet Casts "The Perez Hilton of the East Coast"

Chevrolet includes lifestyle and celebrity blogger Micah Jesse as a key person in their latest campaign Cruze-Arati.

Unfortunately, Micah mistakenly assumes he is doing the "first mobile talk show." Perhaps he can claim the first ever in-car daylight talk show. I'm fairly certain that claim is still available.

Micah does an in-car interview with "celebrity" Kelly Bensimon from the Real Housewives of New York City.



One odd difference is how Micah interviews Kelly on the side of the road. Did Chevy's lawyers not allow the interview to happen while the car is in drive?

Cruze-Arati is a bit more than just in-car interviews. In fact, most of it revolves around six topical experts talking on subjects like Technology, Music, Sports and Fashion. It's mainly about socially active people driving around in a Cruze and showcasing some "crazy" stories around each of the topics. There is even a Twitter account, @Cruzearati, to follow all the antics.


ShareThis

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

After Losing Car of the Year, Nissan Promotes a Tweet



So you didn't win the big award especially after losing to your main rival. It isn't the best feeling. In this situation, Nissan LEAF lost to the Chevy Volt for North American Car of the Year at the North American International Auto Show but that didn't stop Nissan from promoting what they did win.

Today on Twitter there is a promoted tweet: "Nissan LEAF" that promotes their winning the Eco Car of the Year at NAIAS. There is nothing wrong with promoting this tweet and getting the word out. Nor is there anything wrong with the Eco Car of the Year award, I'm sure it's an honor.

I just wonder if it's a little sad after losing the big award to have to promote a tweet to get people to notice you did win something. After all of the press coverage of Chevy Volt winning Car of the Year on Monday, perhaps Nissan felt a bit left out and wanted to share they didn't walkaway empty handed.

Lastly, I would've never known they won if it wasn't for the promoted tweet so it definitely served its purpose.


ShareThis

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Pontiac Resurrects from the Dead Tries to Sell Me a Buick



Last Monday afternoon I received an unexpected email. Seems Pontiac is back. Well at least the former Pontiac eNewsletter is back and it no longer has a new Pontiac to sell me, but someone at General Motors feels a new Buick Regal is the new GM's answer to Pontiac.

I suppose the Regal is the right answer, since it is trying to position itself as a sports sedan capable of reigniting "Excitement!"

It's an interesting play with Pontiac owners/leasees probably on the hunt for a new car and GM obviously wants to keep Pontiac owners in the family so with the new Regal there is a decent replacement for these customers.

The email also promoted service for Pontiac owners and a new mobile app available for 2011 Buick, GMC, Chevrolet, and Cadillac models. It will be interesting to see how or if the Pontiac eNewsletter will promote other GM vehicles or if it will try to move Pontiac owners to the Buick brand.


ShareThis

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Chevy Volt Ad Premiers on World Series Tonight



"We're wanderers. Wayfarers. Even nomads. So doesn't it just make sense that we build an electric car that goes far... really far."

Chevrolet is getting ready for the Volt to hit the American road as we near the final months of 2010. This is the first consumer video promoting the production car.

Overall, I personally like it. It's not groundbreaking and maybe it should be, but I think Chevy is trying to normalize electric vehicles and make the concept more friendly, not just for Greens, but for everyone.

There are no MPG claims just some very small type about "25-50 miles of electric driving in moderate conditions." Also, the information about the car being electric isn't shared until the very end of the ad.

Chevy is also introducing a new tag line for the brand: "Chevy Runs Deep". Not sure where this is going but it's a bit confusing at the end of the Volt ad, since the ad is talking about the car running more miles than any other electric car. How that is "deep", or what "deep" even means from a brand positioning statement, is still lost on me. Will be interesting to see how Chevy, which I thought was called Chevrolet, evolves "deep" in coming marketing uses.
ShareThis

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Get My Volt. How?



So I was listening to Chevy's Volt pricing announcment and noticed Joel Ewanick, General Motors' vice president for North American marketing, was promoting a new website for the Volt using the web address: http://www.getmyvolt.com. So I tried it to see how I could get my Volt. Unfortunately, it just took me, after two redirects, to the Volt landing page on Chevrolet.com site that has been up for months with no calls to action to order a Volt (the image above is where I was landed.) Too bad, I was hoping to see how the effort differed from Nissan's Leaf pre-order website that was very clear in how to order their electric vehicle offering.

As part of the pricing announcement, Chevy hosted a Q&A where Chevrolet Volt marketing director Tony DiSalle and Volt vehicle line director Tony Posawatz shared some answers to questions mainly around availability and the ordering process.

UPDATE: They added a green button sometime yesterday to start the process with a dealer in certain markets where the Volt will launch, but I checked back this morning
and it's gone.


ShareThis

Monday, June 14, 2010

Chevrolet Ad Buy with Yahoo! Brings the Bing



I ran across a very interesting ad buy from Chevrolet, or is it Chevy, this morning on Yahoo! Mail's login page where a Chevrolet Malibu interior is featured taking up 95% of the background of the page. It looks very similar to what the search site Bling does, but it is an ad not just background wallpaper.

I thought I'd share this because it really is well-done and a very interesting ad buy that was something you can't ignore from the car you can't ignore. Plus I like how simple Chevrolet kept it with just one simple call to action: "Learn More". I'm certain the click-through-rates on this buy were very nice; though, it would be interesting to see if it was effective enough to cover what I'm sure was a very pricey ad placement.


ShareThis

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Autoline Detroit Talks Advertising



It’s been a very busy week for me and I haven’t had much time to catch up on some blog posts. So, here is something worth watching from Autoline Detroit. They discussed the state of the automotive advertising market covering things like Kia’s in-theater marketing effectiveness, the many-many changes of agencies by OEMS (last Friday marked the end of Cambell-Ewald doing advertising for Chevrolet) and they talked briefly about social media; though, this panel lacks some depth in this area, so it’s a light touch.

Enjoy the show. The panel does have a lot of expertise and there are some interesting thoughts especially on agency-client relationships and why the magnitude of changes has occurred.

Myself, I’ll get back to covering more news this week. There is definitely some interesting marketing going on so please stay tuned.

Link to Autoline Detroit TV Show "Just Do It!": Click here.
ShareThis

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Automotive Vehicle Facebook Fan Page Strategies



If you are a regular reader of this blog you probably know I have been doing a monthly report on Automotive Facebook Fans that covers how the automotive industry is performing in fan counts and how brands manage to develop their fan base, usually through ad buys or Facebook applications.

What I have also been doing this whole time is tracking how some vehicles are performing in the Facebook community. What I’ve noticed is there are a few strategies companies have implemented to interest their customers or aspirational fans.



Here are some approaches:

Sports Cars: Most brands create a fan page around their halo or sports car product. For example, there is a fan page for the Chevy Camaro and Chevy Corvette but no official fan page for the Chevy Malibu or Cobalt. It is important to note there are often unofficial fan pages like this one for the Malibu. (Official pages are those managed by the brand. Unofficial pages are managed by someone not from the company.)

Campaign Driven: Most of the official vehicle fan pages were started at the time a marketing campaign was launched. This was true for the Ford Fusion and the Honda CrossTour.

Every Vehicle Gets a Fan Page: Acura and Volkswagen both apply this approach that no matter how few people want to socially identify themselves as a fan of Routan or ZDX, the brand has decided to invest time to curate a fan page for every product in its portfolio.

Product Segments: Ford Trucks is one example of this where fan pages are not divided into F-150, F-250, Ranger or other truck products; instead, fans of a Ford Truck can become fans of the entire truck product line.

Similar to what we see with brand Facebook pages, vehicle pages also get big spikes in fans from “Become a Fan” marketing campaigns on the site. For example, we see a huge lift of Chevy Camaro fans between Jan 1 to March 1, 2010 when the Camaro team was running ad units to increase its fan base.

An interesting example of fan growth explosion came when the Honda CrossTour was launched and the vehicle’s wall was attacked by Honda fans who were not happy with the CrossTour design and some nastiness ensued. This, plus a “Become a Fan” marketing buy from Honda to promote the CrossTour, led to a 6,000 plus fan page growth in back in August/September 2009.



What’s most difficult for vehicle pages is the ability to continue growing fans after a marketing campaign. Sure a vehicle fan page won’t see double or triple growth percentages without some marketing, but even maintaining the typical 3-6% organic growth rate we see on Brand Fan pages is difficult for vehicle pages, unless the car is a sports car.

Why is this so? My theory is that people fan the brand more than a car. Take for instance the Lexus IS-C. When it was launched the fans grew to 300+ through some advertising buys, but in the past six months they’ve only added 11 fans (349 in 9/14/2009 to 360 3/31/2010.) Yet Lexus has added 22,000 fans in that same time frame without any ad buys within Facebook; though, Lexus does promote it’s Facebook fan page in email communications.

In summary, if your brand is more defined by only a few key vehicles where people have a lot of passion for a particular product then vehicle fan pages make a lot of sense; however, if your brand is more defined by the brand image (e.g. Lexus) then creating vehicle product pages for every car probably isn’t worth the effort and added community management complexity.
ShareThis

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Competitor Websites Respond to Toyota Recall Woes



Toyota is gearing up for a March rebound with 0% financing and aggressive lease pricing after taking a 9% hit in year-over-year sales last February due to their very public recalls. Meanwhile everyone is trying to capitalize on Toyota's quality troubles. Late night sketch comedy show Saturday Night Live poked fun at Toyota's issues by putting two people in an unattended accelerating Toyota Prius with the fake ad saying "Ford: We make hybrids too."

Comedic marketing spoofs aside, it is interesting to see how Toyota's competitors are responding to the recalls at their manufacturer websites.

The strongest marketing message comes from General Motors. For example, their Chevy homepage features a promotion tile reading "Special information for Toyota owners/lessses" that is in the most prominent position in the promotion banner ribbon on the page (I say most prominent because users tend to click mostly on links to the far the left as American consumers read left to right.)

Ford also features a nod to the Toyota quality issues but in a more tempered way by promoting a quality claim the brand has been using since last year after a major quality report put Ford on par with Toyota and Honda. The message is more about Ford and less about their competitor Toyota. The promo reads "Learn more about why Ford quality can't be beat by Honda or Toyota."

The only other manufacture website I found promoting a strong quality message on their homepage is Hyundai. Hyundai uses an image from their recent Sonata campaign, "Hyundai Quality: Hyundai Held to a Higher Standard." This approach uses no competitor call-outs, but it certainly can be read as a strategic message to appeal to people cross-shopping Hyundai with Toyota.

The home teams in Japan - Honda, Mazda, and Nissan - make no mention of quality or Toyota on their home pages. Seems local support is strong for the time being.
ShareThis

Jeep Summons Tiki Idol to Promote Wrangler
Islander Edition



Twitter is a very active place this month for the automotive industry: Ford kicked off Fiesta Movement 2 (#fiestamovement); Chevy ran a social media road trip contest to South by Southwest (#chevysxsw); Kia held a Twitter Party with mommy bloggers (#kiasorento); and now Jeep is getting into it with their “Jeep-Tweet-To-Win” contest.

Jeep is running a contest from March 15 to March 19 where the first person to answer the correct answer to a daily quiz Jeep-branded question “in the correct format” will win a trip to the New York auto show. The five winners will then have a chance to win a Jeep Wrangler Islander edition.

Jeep will announce each day on its Facebook fan page at 10am EST when the Twitter question will be asked. The five winners will dig in a giant sandbox for a “Golden Tiki” that wins one person the Islander Wrangler.

This connection between Facebook and Twitter accounts will attract some more fans and followers to Jeep’s social media accounts, but like all contests it is not really attracting fans, but contest participants who care only about winning not about possibly buying your brand or products. It’s a great way to build a list or add more counts in social media without really building a true fan base or solid leads.

Let’s hope the Tiki idea doesn’t further lead to bad luck for the Chrysler group. With sagging sales and a lot of promises of profitability without product to back it up; though, that may change soon enough, the Chrysler brands can use all the Tiki idol luck they can get.

However, searching for a Tiki reminds me of an episode of the Brady Bunch where the boys find a Tiki idol that leads to an episode of bad luck situations. While wearing the idol Greg wiped out on his surfboard, Peter gets an unwelcome spider crawling on him at night and Bobby is almost hit in the head by a heavy wall decoration in the hotel room. The ancient curse of the idol can only be reversed if the idol is returned to the Tiki Caves back to its resting place with the ancient island kings.

I’ll play and watch the contest this week to see how Jeep promotes the event. They have a small amount of Jeep followers on Twitter (2,307 as of 3/14 at 9:44am.) Perhaps word will get out that a free car is being given away like when Jason Calacanis tried to give away a free Tesla Model S if his @auto account became the #1 account on Twitter. That netted @auto slightly above 10,000 fans but then sputtered out.

ShareThis

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Chevy Uses Location-Based Service to Lift Brand Perception



The Chevrolet team is down in Austin, Texas this week for the South by Southwest (SXSW) technology and arts festival. As part of Chevy’s marketing effort, they teamed up with location-based service company Gowalla (a competitor to the better known Foursquare) to create a nicely done driver service for those checking into the Austin Bergstrom Airport.

Basically, when one checks into the airport’s location on the Gowalla application some people are randomly served up a free ride from the airport to downtown Austin in a Chevy vehicle of course.

I really like the online, offline integration here. It definitely provides Chevy with some positive brand lift for the well-connected people attending the SXSW festival. It's a nice way to reach a socially active audience that is sure to Tweet, blog or even talk in person about what a cool thing Chevy and Gowalla did on their trip.

For one blogger’s personal experience with the Chevy Gowalla offer checkout this post from the blog DigitalBeforeDigital.

Crayon's Joseph Jaffe shares his impression of the Gowalla Chevy execution:

ShareThis

Monday, February 22, 2010

Volvo and Chevy Take Very Different Roads



Volvo just wrapped up their very successful virtual road trip where online teams were to “drive” a C30 DRIVe from Sweden to Egypt. Each team member would “pass” the car on to the next participant who lived as close to 1,333 kilometers as possible, the number being the distance the car can drive on one tank. Friends were competing to be first to complete the virtual journey around the world in 80 days.

It was another example of six degrees of separation where teams were formed virtually using a network that extended beyond just the team member’s friends, but further to their friends’ friends. The teams competed to win to have 15,000 Euros donated by Volvo in their name to a wind farm project in Turkey. Not exactly the most exciting prize, however, it is a positive prize for those interested in more altruistic Facebook activities, which are very popular on the site.

A Success

"To be number 17 on the list of most installed Facebook applications and number one among branded is great and more than we ever expected", says Lukas Dohle, Live Communication and Social Media at Volvo Car Corporation in Gothenburg, Sweden. They had over 63,000 teams play the game. Of course, a team could’ve been just one person installing the application and doing nothing with it after the initial install. Even so, the application definitely reached a very broad global audience and lead to some great press coverage too.

What I really like about this example is that it found a way to integrate well within the Facebook community and by doing so it reached a lot of people who might have otherwise never become familiar with Volvo’s C30 product. The charitable element also works very well in the community and I’m sure led to participation from those not really interested in anything about a new car.

Real Butts In Seats Road Trip

"Whither goest thou, America, in thy shiny car in the night?"
- Jack Kerouac, On the Road

Another marketing road trip idea was announced a couple weeks ago from Chevrolet. It isn’t a virtual road trip; instead, Chevy put together 8 teams throughout the U.S. to compete in road trip scavenger hunts as teams travel to the popular South by Southwest (SXSW) music, film and social media event in Austin, Texas.


Named the “See the USA in a Chevrolet: A SXSW Road Trip” -- I’m hoping for a challenge to include Dina Shore or Pat Boone somewhere in the trip -- the teams will compete for social media views through Twitter tweets or other social media comments and views. Chevy has even setup a Posterous website to house the content developed along the way. They’ll also showcase the road trip using a feed on GM’s well-known Fastlane Blog.

This social outreach concept is developed around the idea that if you get enough influencers your marketing idea will develop a buzz around it that will extend beyond just the people participating in the road trip.

GM’s example is reaching out to social media influencers; mostly Public Relations and marketing professionals who have some decent connections on social media sites. Since the participants have significant social followings, the brand is counting on the buzz to build across the participants’ network and further to other networks that will follow along or participate (one form of participation right now is having people suggest what activities the teams should do on the trip.)

The Real Challenge: Relevance Beyond Participants

It will be interesting to see how the Chevy SXSW event develops. The hardest part is creating interest for those not participating in the event. There will be a lot of buzz shared by trash talking and co-promotion across teams, but will those not on the road trip care to share in the conversation?

The connection with the SXSW event should help extend the buzz beyond the teams, since the SXSW event attracts most of the social media elite who might help promote the Chevy road trip and this goodwill should increase interest just because some social media expert is talking about it.

It definitely is a strong event tie-in for a road trip that is meant to gain interest using social media tools and behaviors. Everyone can follow the teams using the hashtag #chevysxsw on Twitter and at the Posterous website Chevy is setting up for when it kicks off the week of March 8. I’ll definitely be following to see if it extends reach beyond just the participating teams.

Conclusion

It would be great to know how much Volvo spent or Chevrolet will spend promoting and implementing these road trips. Reach is definitely an important aspect of the road trip marketing idea. Getting people interested in participating on virtual teams or promoting real teams all add to the word of mouth of the projects and hopefully reach consumers who might never pay attention to a TV ad or online banner.

The important ingredient is making the events relevant to consumers. Volvo did that through a contest where a charitable donation was tied to the goal. The Chevy event will have a more difficult time extending the interest beyond those participating.

Here’s to viral magic whether it’s virtual or real.
“We had finally found the magic land at the end of the road and we never dreamed the extent of the magic."
- Jack Kerouac, On the Road
ShareThis

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)
ShareThis