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Showing posts with label EV. Show all posts
Showing posts with label EV. Show all posts

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Audi Puts Claire Danes in Prison to Sell You Diesel


Audi just launched their latest campaign promoting TDI Diesel vehicles to Americans.  It's definitely not their first attempt to raise the profile of diesel in a market where gas prices are still in the $3-$4 range and more and more options such as hybrids, electric and high-mileage gas cars continue to provide choices for the fuel conscious consumer.

The latest campaign features actor Claire Danes in an Orange is the New Black prison inspired theme where Danes has her name mispronounced as the running joke in the long form ad. She imagines travel to an award show with a chauffeur. Or what a drive would be like solo in the new Audi A6 TDI.


All of it ends in the ability of the Audi to drive 700 miles using one tank of gas. It's a long three plus minutes to get to the final payoff with lots of beauty shots of the Audi driving the open road. Unlike a lot of fuel saving vehicle ads there is no information about how many MPGs the car produces or what benefits diesel may have over other fuel economical cars, just that it's better than driving with an odd over-sharing limo driver.

Today's Business Insider wrote about Audi ignoring the easy way to promote diesel, inspired after sitting through this celebrity inundated commercial. The writer suggests Audi should dump the ambiguous "TDI" nomenclature and just tag the cars as "Diesel" on the car itself. This simple move would show that diesels are quiet, attractive, and not smelly.

Personally, I like the ad "The Station." While it may not promote solid MPGs or tell me why I should buy TDI over EV, PEV, or a Hybrid, it definitely is memorable and tells me Audi makes diesel cars, not that an automotive enthusiast needs a reminder.

So what do you think? Do you like the Claire Danes ad and Audi's latest approach to selling diesel?

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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.


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Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Nissan Blows Smoke at NYIAS Cars, Even Its Own



This is a great out of home billboard from the recent New York International Auto Show (NYIAS) done by TBWA\Chiat\Day LA for Nissan. It's a great way to make a strong selling point for the Nissan LEAF.

The LEAF, of course, is Nissan's all-electric vehicle and while the rest of Nissan's own floor at the auto show blows a lot of smoke around, the billboard still makes an excellent point about what differentiates the LEAF from competitors, including its strongest competitor right now the Chevy Volt. The Volt still has a gasoline engine and is not a full-EV (Electric Vehicle) so the point is still a valid one as these two battle it out.

Nice work here and thanks to AdLand.tv for blogging about it. Credit goes to this post.


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Monday, December 7, 2009

Is Chevy Dorking Up the Volt's Vibe?




First it was the announcement of 230 MPG with a giant happy face outlet plug. Now it's a campy, Suzanne Vega sounding song with a lot of whistling that is promoting GM's buzz workhorse - the Chevy Volt.

Electric Vehicle (EV) technology is not easy to explain and is definitely creating a lot of confusion as companies promote ridiculous MPG claims and even crazier torque claims.
"Our goal is to craft that education in a manner that is family friendly (as it should be because we are America’s original mass /heart brand), entertaining and simple to understand for a rather sophisticated product.

A Volt song helps us to achieve those objectives. 'Chevy Volt and Me' explains what Volt is all about as a better EV in simple friendly terms," explains Maria Roher, GM’s director of global Volt marketing.
So let me get this straight. To explain the complexity of the Volt's three-phase AC induction motor rated at 120 kilowatts, or 160 hp, powered by a 6-foot-long, 375-pound array of lithium-ion cells mounted low along the Volt's floorpan requires a whistle laden, rhyme challenged song to help the common person understand what the Volt is all about?

Now what rhymes with lithium-ion? Conan O'Brien? Uruguayan? Scion?

I don't know. Seems to me the target Volt customer is going to be an early adopter and someone very knowledgable, well-educated and looking to better understand the details
of Volt's green footprint and technological advances. Perhaps a see through diagram of the powertrain from Popular Mechanics would be more helpful.

Nissan's LEAF effort is much more appealing to an educated audience looking for answers about this whole new Electric Vehicle segment. For the general population, Nissan went with a simple, concise video to educate new users about the vehicle.




Sure the LEAF doesn't get jammed in your head like a Lady Gaga song, but one quickly understands what it is, what it is not, and how it functions. For the more advanced mind, the LEAF site can be used to dive deeper into answers from the novice to the intermediate shopper.

Of course I understand the Chevy Volt song isn't the only effort Chevy is doing to promote the Volt. In fact, a lot is going on to share information about the Volt and the GM team has been releasing every minute detail about the Volt to keep the buzz going.

Chevy Volt has it's own presence on Chevrolet.com where visitors can get answers to several common questions about the car. A Popular Mechanics like diagram is also available to show how the Volt works. A few videos, images and even a full Volt Community called VoltAge is available to keep up with the latest on all things Volt.

I just wonder if a few of the marketing efforts like the "Chevy Volt and Me" song and the What Is 230? website will define the car in an unflattering way. And after the car sells to well-off early adopters, the Chevy Volt has to appeal to the general population in a cool, compelling way to make it as desirable as the concept car it originated from.

UPDATE: This is really getting weird. The GMVolt YouTube channel posted the "Chevy Volt Dance" from the LA Auto Show on December 13, 2009 complete with breakdancing.
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Wednesday, October 7, 2009

New York Times Gives Nissan LEAF Viral Push


Is the New York Times already bestowing viral marketing success to a campaign that hasn’t even launched?

I was left with this question after reading a short article about the Nissan LEAF’s “Viral Excitement”. According to the article Nissan has launched a successful marketing campaign by “enticing bloggers” with a video of the LEAF’s electric power train that is filmed in a style reminiscent of another viral video “The Story of Stuff.” Unfortunately, following a format that worked one time doesn’t mean viral success a second time. Isn’t odd to anyone that the New York Times thinks that having a video on YouTube will “entice bloggers”? How funny is that? Fortunately, the team doing this also setup Facebook and Twitter accounts, so that should help… uh-huh.

Seems the team at Nissan, along with their word-of-mouth marketing agency Zócalo Group, is about to embark on a promotion of the new electric car using social media engagement while driving across the United States, which apparently is the latest trend in brand experience marketing: BF Goodrich’s Nation of Go, Summer of Taurus and Scion x-Perience.

What’s most interesting is what’s missing – the actual car. Nissan will not be driving the LEAF so you won't see things like the cool interior (see image at right.) Really? Yep, they will be driving a Nissan Versa with the LEAF’s electric power engine inside. So probably beyond the usual sticker cladding that is sure to let everyone know this isn’t any normal Nissan Versa, it is missing the essential ingredient -- the actual car it is trying to promote. Looking at a Versa with a sparse engine bay isn’t as exciting as looking at an actual LEAF, which looks to be a an interesting design (see images here on Flickr.)

To be fair, we don’t know what Nissan will do at these marketing events and maybe they will spark a viral response. Hopefully the car will be a bit more than a Versa with a vehicle wrap and it remains to be seen how the marketing team will extend the US drive to a digital space. Of course the LEAF marketing team knows setting up Facebook and Twitter accounts and posting a video isn’t enough, but the New York Times thinks it is enough to build excitement.

Fortunately, the campaign has an excellent pre-reveal experience website at Nissanusa.com that highlights the vehicle’s vision, technology and battery design. There is a very interesting and well-done feedback mechanism right on the site that lets visitors ask a “Nissan expert about LEAF”. Site visitor questions are moderated and responded to openly on the home page. You can also look at questions by topics like charging, environment and features. It is a very cool implementation for a site where the product is a year away from launch.
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Tuesday, July 14, 2009

MINI E Ignored on the Street But Not Online


The MINI E is “an experiment of sorts”, according to MINI’s own website. 500 people were given the opportunity to lease a fully electric MINI E for $850/month for 12 months where the cars are undergoing a real-world experiment. The field trial was limited to only California, New York and New Jersey dealers.

Like most experiments, some things go according to plan and some do not. From USA Today, one owner had a major glitch. “The car's motor shut down on his wife, Suzanne, while she was driving on the freeway, apparently having overheated. The car restarted a few minutes later.”

The idea of getting vehicles into consumers hands is an admirable one and one that will help BMW, who owns MINI, get a solid understanding of the challenges involved with supporting an electric vehicle (EV) product.

A Hurried Experiment?

Some wonder though if MINI rushed their experiment. BMW had to meet a hard date to obtain the important California Air Resources Board (CARB) credits earned from a Zero Emissions Vehicle (ZEV). To meet this date, it seems the vehicle wasn’t ready for primetime and some bad press has ensued around two key EV topics: vehicle mileage range and charging time.

It was taking a full day for MINI E owners to charge their new cars due to some issues with the 120-volt cable that comes with the car. Estimated charging time was supposed to be in the 4-hour range.

Estimated range on the vehicle was 156 miles when released, but MINI USA has been re-stating the range as 100 miles. Some owners are of course seeing lower or slightly higher mileage ranges, but well below the initial estimate of 156.

Combined these issues were best summed up by an automotive enthusiast friend of mine, Mike Juergens, who commented, "they are like the RC cars I had growing up. I'd wait all day for it to charge to play with it for 10 minutes."

Getting the Word Out

There is some significant coverage of the MINI E in the blogsphere, especially when compared against a similar social media effort like Ford’s Fiesta Movement; though, the Fiesta Movement is more Twitter, YouTube and Facebook and less about blogging. The graph, at left, does show the MINI E is getting its message out in the blog community.

With so much attention, the MINI E is an important test for all EV cars. It is a test to see how consumers enjoy them on a day-to-day basis and what issues may arise for all EV manufacturers. Releasing the car too soon to consumers is a gutsy move and one wonders if this trial will negatively impact the marketing of the MINI E going forward.

One lesson MINI is sure to learn is that green vehicles need to be unique to be considered differentiating to the public. Even with some decals and other visual cues from a gas MINI, the new MINI E doesn’t scream look at me.

One of the things I have found most interesting about the MINI E blogs out there are the number of owners concerned that the MINI E car itself is ignored. It isn’t the visual status symbol a Prius is. And considering that a MINI E is fully electric, it should be a level up in Green status from a hybrid car but no one is noticing the full electric merits of the car.

CNW Marketing Research has an interesting finding on top reasons customers bought a Toyota Prius. "Makes a statement about me" ranked as the highest reason owners bought the car (granted this is Q2 2007 data and I'm sure fuel-economy has surpassed it but its very telling how significant this reason is.)

MINI E drivers also are doing it for the self recognition and other more altruistic reason too I'm sure. How do I know? Here are some quotes from various MINI E leasee bloggers:

“It’s been almost a week and a half and hardly anyone noticed I’m driving an electric car. Not even other MINI drivers acknowledge the MINI E.” - stuartistry.com

“I've been disappointed that no one seems to notice there is anything special about this car so I added some vinyl lettering to the car, "100% Electric" for over the front window, and "Just Say No to Gas" for on the rear.” - mini-e.blogspot.com

“I get more questions when I walk my labradoodle.” - minielectricandme.com

So perhaps the first lesson is to make the car look entirely different than its gas counterpart.
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