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Showing posts with label Lexus. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Lexus. Show all posts

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

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


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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

Hyundai – All for One | Watch the Video

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Cars.com – Confident You Watch the Video

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Suzuki – Sled Car featured: Kisashi | Watch the Video

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

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

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

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

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

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

Bridgestone – Performance Football Watch the Video

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

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



Lexus – Beast Car featured: GS | Watch the Video

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

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

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

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

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

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


Bridgestone – Performance Basketball Watch the Video 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Acura – Transactions Car featured – NSX | Watch the Video 

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

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

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

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

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

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

Toyota – Reinvented Car featured: Camry | Watch the Video 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Chevrolet – 2012 Car featured: Silverado | Watch the Video 

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

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

SHE SAID: Drama! The ad was great, don’t get me wrong. I just think that it would have had a stronger impact if Chevy didn’t single out Ford in such a negative way. After all, Ford isn’t the only other automaker competing in the truck market. Disclaimer: The author of this post provides strategic communications services for organizations that represent the auto industry, including many of the car manufacturers featured in this blog post. The views expressed in this post are solely the author’s and were not solicited by any third party.
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Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Automotive Facebook Fans by Brand: June 2011



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

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

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

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


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

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




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Friday, April 22, 2011

Lexus Sponsors YouTube's Indy Film Content



YouTube is making a play for developing custom content or content that can't be found elsewhere online as it defends its competitive video position against rival Hulu. Part of that defense is the YouTube Screening Room which has been around since 2008, but appears to be making a comeback with YouTube finding new sponsors to promote the films.

What is the Screening Room? From the channel's description, it features "top films from around the world to find the audiences they deserve... While the majority of these films have played at international film festivals, occasionally you'll find films that have never before screened for wide audiences."

Today American Express is sponsoring the Screening Room, but last Tuesday Lexus did its marketing sponsorship duty and brought the Screening Room content to the YouTube audience with a front page banner ad, intro commercial before the film played, and some banners promoting the all-new CT200h filled the screen.


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Monday, April 11, 2011

Automotive Facebook Fans by Brand: March 2011



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


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

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

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

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



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


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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.


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Sunday, November 7, 2010

Automotive Facebook Fans by Brand: October 2010



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

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

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


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




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


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Sunday, September 12, 2010

Have We All "Like" Lost Our Minds




I was clicking through a Lexus ad for their new IS "Wield Precision" campaign when I noticed on the landing page at Lexus.com that I could "Like" the page. The hero image area of the page showcasing the car driving down a road had 167 'Likes' already. 'Like' of course is Facebook nomenclature for 'engaging' in an activity demonstrating one enjoys a piece of content. What started as a way to like someone's Facebook status update or like a photo posted has turned into 'Like' anything fever.

I just wonder what's the real point? Have we lost our minds as marketers thinking if someone clicks a 'Like' button that there is somehow more value to that view than just a page visit? Or have we as consumers lost our minds thinking someone cares we visited a web page and now we must show our satisfaction?

Even if someone does 'Like' the Lexus IS page it barely registers it on Facebook where the brand gets a small one line message that I did something. What I liked isn't even very clear (see image at right.) To clarify, I'm not picking on Lexus. I'm just using this latest example from the Lexus IS marketing team.

In the end, it really doesn't matter because Lexus did get a few more people to share an experience with only the cost of having a developer add a Facebook Like button.

Now please 'Like' this blog post... :)


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Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Automotive Facebook Fans by Brand: June 2010



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

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

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


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

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

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

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


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

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

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


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

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Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Lexus Goes Dark Green with Its Latest Hybrid



The Lexus CT 200h hybrid hatchback is being marketed under “The Darker Side of Green” campaign and realized by a new interactive online game called “The Dark Ride.” Game players ride shotgun and get a good look around the inside and outside of the CT 200h.

Several action packed moments take place to showcase how cool and fun the CT 200h is provided your idea of fun is driving to avoid bad guys and sharing a car with Tony, Lexus’ star bad boy in the Dark Ride.

“With ‘Dark Ride’ we are creating a unique virtual test drive opportunity so consumers can experience this hybrid, that is like no other, months before it is available at dealerships in early 2011,” said Dave Nordstrom, Lexus vice president of marketing. “In it, consumers play a co-starring role as the fun-to-drive Lexus CT 200h is put through its paces. By guiding the driver and the CT through a series of adventures, customers will be exposed to ‘The Darker Side of Green,’ which is completely different than the way hybrids are usually portrayed.”

The only real issue I have with the site is the time it takes to start the game. Setup involves allowing access to a webcam and talking into your computer’s microphone. Talking into a microphone isn’t very work environment conducive so that causes some delays.

Also the game is really more of a movie where you click or talk to engage decisions. The car is driven by The Boondock Saints actor Norman Reedus who does an excellent job keeping the energy up. As the participant, it is a bit more of a passive experience though still more engaging than simply watching a video.

After the experience is over, Lexus showcases a couple music artists from the soundtrack that link out to iTunes. People can also enter their information up to three times to either stay informed about the CT 200h, win a CT 200h, or if they have whatever a “Dark Card” is they can enter information to get invited to special events that will happen in Miami, New York, Chicago, and Los Angeles.

There are of course the usual social sharing links to Facebook, Twitter and email. I did the Facebook share and the automatic text reads, “Check out my Dark Ride Trailer.” Unfortunately, the trailer isn’t custom to the person and comes off a bit odd. As my little sister commented on Facebook, “Why is this YOUR Dark Ride Trailer?”
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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.
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