Showing posts with label Contest. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Contest. Show all posts

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

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.


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.


Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Jeep's Tiki Hunt Bound to Geographic Limitations

Well this was a first. I have never been to a contest micro-site that does not include some sort of request for visitor information and a chance to enter to win the prize.

Leave it to Jeep to be unique. They are in the second phase of a “long term social media plan for Jeep to engage with its enthusiasts and consumers alike.” The first phase was a Tweet to Win dig contest at the New York International Auto Show (NYIAS.)

Now Jeep has placed three tiki idols in three locations throughout the U.S. and has several clues on the micro-site. There are idols buried in California, Colorado and Illinois. Participants in Los Angeles and Chicago have already won two of the idols. The third and final tiki idol is hidden somewhere in Colorado with two clues left to be uncovered.

The one big issue I have with this contest is it severely limits participation, as winners must go to the location to find the hidden tikis. So, if you don’t live in Los Angeles, Chicago or Denver then you really can’t play to win. I suppose you could fly to the location to win but that seems like a long shot and major expense if you don’t get there in time before a local contestant figures it out.

Meanwhile, what is in it for the brand since there are no handraisers to add to their database? There is some engagement on the Jeep Facebook and Twitter pages but the engagement doesn’t really lead to much other than some commenting or liking of posts or maybe a retweet on Twitter.

There is a link to learn more about the Jeep Wrangler Islander edition on the micro-site, which brings people either to the vehicle landing page or one can view Jeep Gear. But that’s it. There just isn’t much in the way of leading to key engagement activities like Build & Pricing a Wrangler Islander or doing a Dealer Inventory Search.

It just seems there are some missing elements here to make this contest more effective for the company. Also, I would’ve made the hunt more virtual maybe using something like Google Street View and being the first to do a screen capture so that anyone across the country could participate to win, not just people who are physically already in the city.


Showcase Your Auto Enthusiast Prowess Win a NISMO

Nissan is appealing to their enthusiast target customer in its latest contest. The NISMO 370Z Sports Car Enthusiast Challenge & Sweepstakes does this in a fun and unique way by having contestants take a quiz for an opportunity to get more entries to win a 2010 Nissan 370Z NISMO sports car.

The contest goes through June 28, 2010 and to date has 44,388 contestants having played the game since early April. Participants get entries to win by correctly answer questions of a per day 3 question quiz, by simply returning to the site and entering their email, and can also gain more entries by sharing the site with up to 3 of their friends for up to 3 additional entries.

The share with your friends to get more entries to win is the first time I've seen an automaker incentivise contest sharing by giving a reason for people to share: more entries to win. I've never really understood sharing a contest site with others because doesn't more participants equal a worse chance to win? Here Nissan battles that issue by giving a bonus entries to the person doing the share.

Quiz questions are very effective here as the questions build more knowledge about the Nissan 370Z NISMO. It's a great way to increase interest in the vehicle to an enthusiast culture who cares about the detailed specifications of the sports car.

The site also links out to the Nissan site where contestants can choose from a variety of exit paths specific to where they are in their own shopping or interest path.


Sunday, April 11, 2010

Mini Owners Logged Their Top-Down Driving to Win

Site reviewed: The Open One Challenge

Mini wrapped up a contest early last February where owners of the second generation Mini Cooper convertible shared their recorded top-down driving miles through a web site called The winner ended up logging 555.5 miles. David Loveall’s Mini is his first car and will doing his traveling sales job he was able to win a trip for two to Oxford, England at the Mini factory.

I originally caught this story in the latest issue of Roundel magazine. For those who don’t know, Roundel is the monthly magazine for the BMW Car Club of America (@BMWCCA on Twitter) that’s for BMW and Mini owners. They had a small blurb about the winner of the challenge that has gone on since July 28, 2009 and ended December 31, 2009.

I’m not sure how this contest was promoted or who it was supposed to reach. There was an event logged by the Mini USA Facebook administrator but it only registered a few participants. The Mini USA website still has an active link to the Open One Challenge under the top navigation Play menu item (see image at left.)

Since this was a contest only owners could participate in, I would guess enrollment was mainly done via email or owner website outreach to get people interested in the prizing.

Mini’s press release stated, “MINI customers who entered the contest were asked to personalize a profile page with photos of their Open Motoring experience. Photos of all the participants’ journeys.”

There was a minor appeal to get non-owners involved where people could create their own photo gallery to post their own “Open Road adventures with a camera.” The Mini press release says their were some 400 participants but from what I can tell only 115 actually logged hours against their top-down driving.

The site is still up even after awarding the prize February 4, 2010; even the link is still live from the Mini USA website navigation. Content hasn’t been reworked to appeal to those who didn’t participate in the contest. Perhaps it will remain live as a site for a while. One wonders though what appeal the site has now that the contest is done? Unfortunately, the content isn’t very interesting to anyone except for those who played the game.

If you want to see several screenshots from site please check out the Behance Network’s site.


Thursday, April 1, 2010

Jeep and Nissan Take to the Streets of New York

With Day Two of the New York Auto Show, there were a couple of public street installations out in New York. The first was a giant sand pit erected by the Jeep marketing team for a 7am five person dig to see who from Jeep’s Tweet-to-Win Twitter contest would find a small Tiki Idol and win a Jeep Wrangler Islander edition. The other installation comes from the Nissan marketing team to promote their Journey to Zero website.

I decided to follow the Jeep contest thanks to a web link they provided to watch the event on a live web feed. Unfortunately, I had to create an account to view the feed and there was no chat offering, which has become pretty standard for live webcast events. Also, it was unclear how many people watched the live feed but at 7am and with few people at the live event, besides some media and a bunch of Jeep PR people it was probably a small gathering online too, not that any event like this attracts a lot of people for any brand.

The video with the most views from the dig on Jeep’s YouTube channel had 80 views when I looked late this afternoon. Though, they did get some nice coverage from the Detroit Free Press and the Naples News too.

The bigger news from Jeep is that this was the kickoff of their next giveaway. Mike Manley, President and CEO of the Jeep brand, mentioned at this morning’s event that Jeep is giving away three more Jeep Wrangler Islander Editions as they place three Tiki Idols in hidden spots across the United States. Tips to where they are will be made available through a site he said was live this morning, unfortunately the site is still not live and I will continue to check it to see how the site is laid out and communicates the contest. So stay tuned for an update on that.

Environment to be Saved By Zero

Nissan, however, has their website live for the Journey to Zero marketing campaign. This is in alignment with Nissan’s coming LEAF all electric vehicle that is changing the mobility equation. Visitors can get to the LEAF U.S. and Japanese websites through the About section of this campaign site.

The site features TED organizer and speaker Richard Saul Wurman. Content is all about a world with zero CO2 emissions and what that means to global environmental impact.

This one completely missed my radar even though I’ve been to the Nissan LEAF website, I’m part of the email curriculum for the campaign, and belong to their Facebook and Twitter communities. I’m really not sure how one finds out about this effort and judging by the views on the campaign’s YouTube Channel, not many others found out about it either; though, a Fast Company blogger did. Perhaps more will get to know about it as they wonder the streets of New York where Nissan has several rows of front and back seats ironically lined on a city bike path with a sign promoting the Journey to Zero message.

Looking at the web experience the campaign was probably marketed to niche creatives and greens who might have the patience to put up with the frustrating web experience that causes the page to float everywhere as one’s mouse is moved across the page. The navigation also is hard to use as it appears and disappears quickly if one doesn’t hold one’s mouse to the most left area of the page.

Fortunately some people did take the time to use the site and even enter a contest called “Inspired by Zero” that had artists submit works to express the idea of zero emissions. Winners have already been chosen with prizing being a couple cameras and an Apple MacBook Pro.

The site also features some social media outreach functionality allowing visitors to add flair to their Facebook pages or images to their Twitter profiles. One can even create their own poster to save and email to all their friends.

I wonder if anyone actually did any of this? It all goes back to consumer value and the site's social graffiti really doesn't have much of a benefit beyond promoting the Nissan site, which is really to Nissan's benefit not the site visitor's benefit.

Seeing how little was done to promote this site it and the effort launched over three months ago without much fanfare, maybe Nissan is now trying to breathe some life into the effort on the trendy streets of New York City causing the hip the take notice of how the LEAF is environmentally acceptable for our world.

- Photo of Journey to Zero seats on streets of New York City used by permission from

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Jeep Attracts New Twitter Users for Chance to Win, But Will They Stay?

The first phase of the Jeep “Tweet-To-Win” contest concluded last Friday. Five people were the first to answer trivia questions on Twitter before anyone else and thus won trips to the New York Auto Show. The five winners will now have a chance to search a giant sandpit to locate a Tiki idol that wins the finder a new Jeep Wrangler Islander edition.

If this sounds vaguely familiar, I covered this story before the contest started and now it’s time to see how the contest performed for Jeep on Twitter.

The contest ran from March 15-19. The first person to correctly Tweet the answer along with the hashtag #NYIAS (referencing the New York International Auto Show) was the winner that day. The Jeep Facebook page announced everyday when the trivia question was going to be asked on the @Jeep Twitter account.

I noticed several Jeep Facebook fans commenting how they were disappointed the contest was on Twitter and not Facebook. Some fans decided to join Twitter so they could participate and Jeep’s Twitter followers went from 2,307 on 3/14 to 3,646 on 3/20, resulting in an increase of 1,339 followers during the event.

Quite a few of the new followers are new Twitter users too. Several people joined Twitter just to participate in the contest. One contest winner even updated his Twitter profile after winning and Tweeting 17 times with the words, “I have stopped updating Twitter. Unfortunately I have better things to do. :)” Three of the five winners had never used Twitter before and a fourth had a dormant account that hadn’t been used since last December.

This all raises the question: If the contest generates a decent bump in followers, but ones who are not active in the community and are simply there just for your contest and once the contest is over they leave the social platform, was it really an effective way to build your brand's presence in the community?

Now I understand the contest isn’t just about more Twitter followers. It was also about the brand showing it can do social media and provided a platform to run a contest in a different way to further increase buzz and awareness for the Jeep Wrangler Islander product. The contest definitely facilitated those goals. It was also a way to get the word out about @Jeep being on Twitter since the account has only been around since December 23, 2009.

Jeep is definitely a brand to watch, as they have been very active in social media on Facebook and enthusiast forums for years. It’s also a brand with a passionate group of enthusiasts that can be tapped to engage in a way many other brands wish they had.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Kia Finds a Respectable Balance with Their Twitter Party

Kia threw a Twitter Party for the Mommy Bloggers Club last night. The Kia Sorento is building off their Super Bowl family-oriented TV ad that featured several kid toys including a Yo Gabba Gabba character Muno, a Sock Monkey and couple other random plush toys. It was personally one of my favorite TV ads from the Super Bowl.

The event was fairly well received especially by the women who participated. The “party” was basically a Kia Sorento trivia quiz with several prizes award randomly to those who answered the questions correctly during the allotted time. Questions focused on the Sorento vehicle and knowledge of the popular Super Bowl ad played into the quiz as well.

Participants used the hashtag #kiasorento to participate in the “party.” A hashtag is used in Twitter to conduct a threaded conversation so everyone can filter #kiasorento to see what everyone is saying in their tweets (for more on hashtags on Twitter checkout this article.)

Determining if the Twitter Party with the Mommy Bloggers Club was successful is a bit difficult without knowing the goals established by the marketing team. There were about 40-50 unique people who participated; though, there really isn’t a baseline to understand if this Twitter contest performed well. Engagement was high but that was by design as people were answering quiz questions to win a prize. There were a few comments where people expressed their love for the Sorento ad or the vehicle.

Reach is always an interesting thing. I pulled some random profiles from those who participated and most of the women had decent Twitter followings and even some good engagement metrics when analyzed against the stats provided by the website Klout. The good news is that Kia definitely reached their target by having the Mommy Bloggers Club promote and co-host the event.

Twitter Spam

Many also feel in the Twitter community that this kind of contest turns the people one is following into spammers. So there are some negative side effects too when considering this tactic. I personally feel it is pretty much pointless spam banter for the followers not participating or caring about the “party” going on, but this is the case with many hashtag campaigns.

One campaign recently held by a major automaker caused me to temporarily unfollow several people because it was becoming very annoying seeing twenty of the same messages getting retweeted every 10 minutes. Fortunately, there is a tool called TwitterSnooze to turn this stuff off for people not interested in such Twitter noise.

Brands definitely need to be aware of the impact of such tactics. The good thing about Kia’s approach is it only lasted a couple hours instead of multiple days like other hashtag events.

Kia definitely raised some awareness about their brand and found a fun way to extend their popular Super Bowl commercial to an online, social media adept crowd who definitely seemed impressed with Kia’s effort. Overall, I’d say for a Twitter contest this one was managed effectively and was brief enough to not be a considerable annoyance that can lead to negative brand sentiment.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Lexus Wants You to be an Advertising Innovator

Think you can do automotive advertising? Lexus has partnered up with Current to have video content creators develop an advertisement for a Lexus hybrid vehicle. The prize is $2,500 for the winning VCAM (Video Created Ad Message) selected by Lexus. Plus the winner’s commercial will air on Current TV in the U.S.

Current has been doing these VCAM contests for about four years and this is another innovative effort with their advertiser/sponsors. The VCAM program is a way to get novice, semi-professional video producers engaged with brands in a new and innovative way.

The marketing team is reaching out to film students and have held a couple chats on Current’s website to get people excited about the contest.

Last week Lexus and Team One, Lexus’ creative agency, held a chat session with those interested in participating. You can listen to the chat via a MP3 file. There were about ten people on the January 8th call.

I do love how the creative team and brand held open conversations with people who may be participating in the contest. It gives participants a chance to ask questions about what the brand is looking for and why the brand decided to do a unique approach like this.

The approach also allows the creative to get more “unexpected” as one of the agency leads pointed out in the goals of the program during last week’s chat. Producers can do something that isn’t the typical car ad. It will be interesting to see how those not in the automotive industry will interpret an automotive product. It will be interesting to see if that nets something beyond what we all normally see in automotive marketing.

Contest Requirements:
  • Your VCAM should start with a sentence relating ‘h’ to your subject: ‘h’ is _____________” (e.g. “h is building a better mousetrap”) You do not have to use the Lexus ‘h’ icon.

  • Incorporate the Lexus endtag below at the end of your VCAM.

  • 60 second maximum (including endtag). Remember, longer is not necessarily better.

  • Showing a Lexus Hybrid vehicle is not required.

  • Upload deadline: Monday, February 1st at 12pm (noon) Pacific Time.
More details here.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Auto Marketing Blog To Giveaway Free Car if @auto Becomes #1 Account on Twitter

Mahalo CEO Jason Calacanis is trying to make his Twitter account @auto become the account on Twitter with the most followers on the site, that position is currently held by Aston Kutcher (@aplusk). To get people interested in following @auto, Calacanis is offering to giveaway a real Tesla S model to one of his followers if @auto reaches the #1 Twitter spot.
, a site that calculates Twitter follower growth trajectory, predicts it will take over 4 years (1542 days) to reach a number slightly above the current amount of followers held by the current Twitter follow count champion @aplusk. Of course this estimation assumes @auto continues to grow at the same rate it has in the past 6 days from 0 to 5.497 followers. It also assumes that Kutcher or some other account won’t add any more followers above the current 4.2 million Kutcher currently has.

Jason Calacanis is an interesting person. He once tried to get Wikipedia to put ads on its site. He also offered Twitter $250,000 to have his @questions Twitter account become a “suggested user” on the site. Jason also had an issue with Apple’s App Store review policy and publicly criticized Apple for their process.

Nothing is wrong with any of these past efforts; rather, they illustrate that Calacanis is an interesting person who loves to test the boundaries and status quo of the web. His free car giveaway seems like an attempt at inexpensive buzz, which this blog article is now contributing too. So it is working to some extent.

But why bother with all this? Is it just an attempt at some PR for Jason or creating "reach" for the @auto account without any marketing spend or hard work? It's probably a bit of both, plus it's also got to be a fun game watching people get all excited about a free car.

Besides the game/contest factor, it really has very little business value. It reminds me of sweepstakes companies run. What you learn is that you get tremendous unqualified response. By unqualified, I mean people who could care less about your brand or products; they simply just want to win something.

@auto essentially becomes an account with a bunch of followers whose interest is only free stuff and that is a tough audience to engage with unless you continue to offer free stuff. Beyond that the audience is untargeted and untargeted marketing is very, very low in its effectiveness.

I personally have significant doubt Calacanis will ever have to part with a Tesla S. In fact, I’m willing to giveaway a car too if Calacanis is able to obtain the #1 position on Twitter. Now I don’t have a Tesla S to give, but I do have a slightly-used beautiful car I’m willing to giveaway.

So here is the prize, I’m willing to give one of my Twitter followers a free Porsche GT Carrera remote controlled 1:18 scale model car if @auto becomes the #1 account on Twitter. In the meantime, we can follow @auto, not to win a free car, but to see if anything worthwhile will be done with the @auto account beyond a cheap contest follower grab.

UPDATE: Looks like I probably will keep my car as the @auto account is sputtering out in its follower mission to become #1 on Twitter. With 10,383 follows as of 1/6/2010, it will take about 4,600 days to catch up to Ashton's current total or roughly 12 1/2 years. So good luck!

UPDATE 1/21/2010: Oh well, it looks like the free car giveaway has sputtered to a halt. There ended up being only 10,730 followers that actually believed they could win a car that has yet to be built. Funny thing is the last Twitter post from @auto is this one about how well the contest is going that Jason Calacanis felt he would start a new contest for a free Nexus One cellphone.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

What Drives Edward? The Volvo XC60

It's highly unusual for a car company commercial to generate any buzz, but team up with this Fall's most buzz worthy film and people start watching and commenting about your ad. The latest movie that uses a car as star in a film is Twilight: New Moon. A Volvo XC60 is driven by the film's protagonist, Edward, and with fans eagerly waiting for the film's debut this Friday, the commercial is satisfying some of that need with over 240,000 views and 160 comments on YouTube. And the hysteria is reaching epic proportions with comments like this from fans, "SEXY CAR DROVE BY A SEXY˛ˇ MAN !!" Way to go Volvo, your SUV is "sexy!"

What's most intriguing about the Volvo promotion is that it extends beyond the normal email or online marketing campaign for a contest. In this case, the contest is further promoted in a TV spot which by most contest standards is quite unique. But with a popular film to tie it all together, it's providing some excellent awareness for Volvo's first entry-level luxury SUV.

The promotion online includes a sweepstakes and contest with the contest requiring visitors to solve six phases, each borrowing knowledge from fans of the Twilight series. The first to solve all six phases wins a brand-new Volvo XC60.

The contest is the most confusing thing about the promotion. I have been getting emails from Volvo promoting each phase of the contest, but every time I click to "play the latest phase" I end up at the homepage of the site instead of viewing the instructions for the latest phase. Some deep linking into the What Drives Edward site would've been very helpful.

Volvo, probably realizing most Twilight fans are in their twenties and early thirties, decided to additionally promote their entry-level car the Volvo C30. Both in email communications and on the What Drives Edward site, there are side-by-side images of the XC60 and C30 for visitors to click-on to get more information about the cars. This is a nice way to extend the product portfolio to a more relevant product for site visitors, since the SUV may not appeal best to the contest participants.

If you wish to try your Twilight knowledge, there are a few days left to get the six contest phases solved or you can just enter the sweepstakes for your chance to win a XC60.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Vote For Your Friend's Lavish Lifestyle

A common theme lately is the marketing contest that asks you to engage your social network. A couple months back it was Maserati trying to get friends and family to vote for your garage so you could win a photo shoot with Architectural Digest. This time around it is Lexus generating awareness for their new luxury hybrid the 250h. But instead of some fame in a magazine spread, Lexus' grand prize winner will get the keys to a 250h for a full year.

So what's this all about?

The new contest idea is to get one person to enter the contest and then promote their entry in the contest by socially "advertising" their entry by getting their friends to vote for them. The early adopters of this approach are the photo contests. Over the past several years I have received a mountain of vote for my kid or pet requests from those in my social network. Well now automotive brands are adopting this vote for me and I can win something tactic.

From a brand's perspective, why just do the standard sweepstakes entry form when you can now tap into someone's social media network. It's better to get out into the social media environment through sites like Facebook where people probably have a similar demographic makeup with their network. This way, as a brand, getting one entry into a contest becomes a way to get their friends to visit your site, which generates awareness for your product, to a broader audience. It's a very attractive approach for marketers who are always trying to increase views and engagement on their websites.

Lexus has decided to follow this approach to promote their new hybrid. I noticed the contest from a post a former coworker of mine had on his Facebook news feed. He had a link to his entry for him to win a Lexus.

What really caught my eye though was the first comment someone left for him. "You kiddin'? More spam for you, no lexus for me? I don't think so!" This is what has always bothered me about the vote for me giveaway contests. What's in it for the voters?

To vote for your friend you must register your name and email on the Lexus 250h site. Sure you can check the box to not receive communications from Lexus, but this still creates a barrier for many and people still don't feel that comfortable leaving their contact information when their is no benefit for them.

Also, in a time now when luxury living is becoming less socially acceptable there is a concern that vote for me to get luxury item x is a bit of a repulsive proposition when your social network may have lost a job or home to foreclosure recently.

One ploy that does lessen the luxury-pampering stigma is when users or brands tie in some kind of charitable element to the contest. One Lexus 250h contestant claims she will give half of her financial benefit if she wins to a charitable organization. This way your contest voters are now doing something beneficial for all, not just for their friend who wants a luxury car.

Charitable pleas are rare, leaving the question: What's in it for your voters? This is the one fatal flaw of the approach. That may not matter though if the social media outreach is getting your product in front of others radar. And to that point, my former co-worker’s entry into the Lexus contest definitely made me aware of the contest and the vehicle which may not have happened through the typical banner ad.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Nissan SHIFTs Focus to Passion Integration

Nissan’s Shift campaign has extended to some target customer passion points, particularly exercise in the form of running, cycling, yoga and strength. The content on the Nissan: Master the Shift site is divided by experts covering each topic, they include:
Ryan Hall – Olympic marathoner and record-holder in half-marathon.
Tara Stiles – Yoga instructor and founder of Manahattan’s Strala Yoga
Eddie George – Former NFL running back and Heisman winner
Chris Carmichael – Former Olympian cyclist and coach to Lance Armstrong.
Nissan has messaged the content with their “Durability tested to the next level” tagline and integrated into their brand-level SHIFT campaign. The Nissan Altima was tested through some durability exercises that emulate the riggers of everyday driving: potholes, road debris, and extreme heat; though, the last one we don’t really get in Michigan. Unfortunately, the Nissan content on the Master the Shift site is very limited and only show photos with descriptions instead of video content proving out the durability. This isn’t a bad thing though since the content budget needed to focus more on content for the passion interest and less on the car, since the car can be discussed on the Nissan site.

Upcoming marathon events will having Nissan_SHIFT booths that promote the Altima and the Master the Shift website. People at the event will have pictures taken, I assume the picture is taken at the Nissan booth, that can then be viewed online if they stop by for a SHIFT_performance Passport card that has an ID number for retrieving photos. It’s a typical, but well-done execution to tie event and online marketing together. Besides any online media that is bought, it is sure to be the other main traffic driver for the site.

I learned about the site from an advertisement on Runner’s World website. The online media is prominently featuring the expert appealing to the site’s passion interest, as opposed to pushing the Altima in its imagery. The ad is well done because it is a strong awareness buy that is better placed with a consumer’s interest and through a special interest “celebrity” and I really like this approach versus a homepage takeover on a portal site like Yahoo! or AOL.

This site has content scheduled through March 2010, must be when the budget allocation for the campaign is set to expire or get re-approved, if the program is working well. How do I know this? Well, if you click on various “Channels” within each expert’s Master class, you are informed that various channels are coming in July, September, December, and all the way out to March 2010.

Since it is a staggered schedule for content updates, it would’ve been a nice touch on the site to place a “Sign Up for Updates” button next to the Coming date indicators. Other than entering the Altima Sweepstakes, there seems no way to sign up for future content changes. This approach works very well in the GMC Professional Grade site that is on AOL Living. They actually let you sign up for a newsletter that sends out regular content notifications as things are updated. It remains to be seen if the Nissan contest will do something similar, but there is still no updates link or newsletter you can request; too bad, since it is a site that has a strong editorial content plan.

Hopefully, now that Nissan has my name, they’ll let me know when new content shows up on the site; though, I still don’t know if they are going to do that, even after entering their contest. I could definitely use the content, as I’m about to finish my first month of running. Yet, I doubt I’ll need the advice of an Olympic marathon runner. My running knowledge needs are very modest, but it’s great seeing a site that features running right alongside of my favorite passion – cars, even if it is a rather sedate Nissan Altima.

Friday, June 5, 2009

The Pontiac G8 GXP Is Off to Car Heaven

Pontiac is beginning its final year since GM announced it was not continuing the brand and probably would not sell it off to another entity. So that leaves a brand to explore some interesting marketing ideas -- that may not have made it when everyone thought the company was going to stay around longer than a year. Of course, I’m being tongue-in-cheek as it is quite obvious the new Pontiac G8 GXP micro-site with MMA Fighter and Maxim Hot 100 girl Gina Carano was conceived well before the late April announcement prior to Pontiac getting knocked out of the “New GM”.

“I got your torque right here,” exclaims Gina as I was getting ready for the next round of the Pontiac Street Brawl. Apparently, a web street brawl involves you taking a quiz to vote if the G8 GXP or Gina Carano looks better in leather or which one has the best power combination. Gina is constantly throwing jabs at you while the Pontiac, for some odd reason I can’t figure out, has angel wings flapping by the side mirrors. Yes, this site is that odd.

All of this ridiculousness is just to get you to enter contest a contest and see what an angelic car the Pontiac G8 GXP is. It’s just a really weird site. I don’t know how else to put it.

You can be her “arm candy” at an upcoming MMA Fight. She is #16 on Maxim’s Hot 100, but for some reason I don’t get her appeal. That could be my issue as it took me forever to get Danica Patrick’s appeal too, until I saw her recent shoot for Sports Illustrated.

There is some unique content developed for the site featuring Gina talking about her history, showing off her skills, and filming of the marketing photo shoot. Unfortunately, the car gets very little content other than a simple 360 of the exterior. Of course, you can head out to to learn more about the car, but it could've been a bit more interesting pitting the speed of Gina's punches against some performance video of the G8 punching its rev limits.

The site is being promoted on the home page of the Maxim Hot 100 list and I received information about it through an email communication from Pontiac (I subscribe to their updates for the Pontiac G8 when it was launched.)

The G8 GXP is one of the better products at GM. Unfortunately, it appears to be heading to car heaven if this Street Brawl site's use of angel wings is any indication of the car's fate.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Maserati Wants Your Automotive Shrine

Just the word Maserati sounds cool. So where is the proper place to rest your Maserati when not on the road? That is what Maserati’s latest contest intends to find out. Their Design Driven garage contest, in collaboration with Architectural Digest, does just that by getting people to submit their garage photos and dream garage concept designs.

I love the concept; get people to showcase their automotive shrine. Prior to the recent housing bust, garage design was taking on new heights and some really cool spaces were being built. The assumption is that true automotive enthusiasts, with Maserati bank accounts, will design or have built some fabulous homes for their automotive passion. Fortunately, some of the owners found out about the contest and shared their auto residences online.

The winning existing garage will be photographed in an upcoming feature ad for Maserati in the October 2009 “Architecture Issue” of Architectural Digest. The winning concept garage will be “envisioned as an architectural model” that will go on tour across Maserati dealerships.

Unfortunately, the website design team missed some key elements to make the site a showcase and give contestants the tools to promote their entry. The biggest issue is that the contest is a voting contest where visitors can vote for a garage or garages they like best. Oddly, someone failed to allow for a direct web address to vote for or see a particular garage. So, when you tell others about your garage being on the site, they have to hunt for it using a few limited sorting methods, like highest ranked or newest entry. You can’t simply say, vote for my garage at a particular hyperlink that brings others directly to your garage. Of course, this could be intentional as the contest team wanted voters to vote for what they like, not what they were told to vote for by a contestant promoting his/her entry.

I found this issue particularly annoying once I uploaded my own auto shrine. There was no way to post the garage entry to my social network or even have a direct link to share it with friends. Instead, I had to explain how others could find my garage to vote for it. Clumsy. And who wants to feel clumsy when promoting Maserati.

Contest entries finalized on June 1 with voting ongoing through June 12. So, if you get a chance checkout entry #0162 (provided you can find it) and give me a vote if you wish. I’d love to see a photo shoot happen at my shrine.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Convincingly Hip Hense Kia Soul

You probably know what the Kia Soul is. It’s that cute boxy car with the head-thumping hamsters and lit up speakers. But who is Hense? Hense is an Atlanta born graffiti artist who created a Soul featuring Cartoon Network’s Adult Swim Aqua Teen Hunger Force.

It’s a nice product integration with a show that reaches Kia Soul’s target, hip 20-30 something consumers who see themselves as hip. Hense appeals to that same target in a way that is authentic, plus the car actually works as a rolling piece of graffiti; though, maybe it doesn't work if an un-hip 37 year old like myself likes the look of the finished product.

Today marks the start of the contest. A simple button to enter the sweepstakes was added to the promotion site, that launched in early May, showing what the contest is about and what inspired the artist.

Don’t think the contest entry form forgot about the hip audience. You actually have to check a box saying you “agree with all [of Hyundai’s] draining legal speak.” Dude.

And like a lot of contests lately, you can re-enter the contest everyday until June 28. Sure, the company already has your information and if you check the right boxes, can market you into oblivion, but they want people to reengage by getting people to keep coming back to think Kia Soul. You can keep coming back and everyday you’ll remember that hip Hense designed Soul that you could win and, if you don’t, hopefully you’ll buy one sans graffiti.