Showing posts with label Scion. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Scion. Show all posts

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Scion Gets Its First Halo Car

It is great watching the low-end sports car market heat up. To think one can buy a V6 Mustang, a Hyundai Genesis Coupe and now a Scion FR-S in the mid $20k range and get a lot of performance and fun plus great fuel economy.

FR-S is an acronym for Front-Engine (F) Rear-Wheel Drive (R) Sport (S). It also shares many of its components with the co-developed Subaru BRZ.

Agency ATTIK, the same agency that brought us the Scion iQ Babes 'N' Donuts [and milk] ad, developed the first spot launching the FR-S.  Its quick paced, high energy performance shots are a bit unexpected from the Scion brand, but this is a new era for them. "The rear-wheel drive sports car is the brand's halo car," states Jack Hollis, Vice President, Scion.

It isn't your typical halo car either.  With very few options available, one is left with few interior options a $26 ash tray or a $95 carpet trunk mat. Sorry no leather but you do get a leather steering wheel, power one-touch windows, and remote keyless entry. Also included standard are front, side and curtain airbags and iPod connectivity.

For the low-end consumer sports car market there is a lot of car here, unless you want some higher end options.  Perhaps some additional trim levels and engine options will make it even more desirable for those who love the look, but want more halo.

The ad does what it needs to do. It appeals to the TopGear oriented sports car fan who loves tight wheel shots, burnouts, and RPM gauge closeups. It becomes interesting when "Scion" flashes on screen as that is the most unexpected moment of the ad. If this were a Mustang or Camaro ad the impact would be minimal as it is expected. When it comes from the company with the xB, xD, iQ, and tS it becomes disruptive... in a good way.


Monday, October 11, 2010

Automotive Facebook Fans by Brand: September 2010

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

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

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

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

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


Monday, August 2, 2010

Automotive Facebook Fans by Brand: July 2010

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

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

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

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

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


Sunday, June 6, 2010

Automotive Facebook Fans by Brand: May 2010

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

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

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

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

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

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


Sunday, May 2, 2010

Automotive Facebook Fans Likes by Brand: April 2010

Welcome to the all-new less committal Automotive Facebook “Likes” by Brand monthly report. In case you haven’t kept up with the monthly changes in Facebook-land, the company decided to remove the Fan distinction and move to a Like action that people can do on a brand page. So that Ford Mustang you were a huge fan of, guess what? Now you just “like” it.

Oh well, maybe one can show their enthusiasm in other digital ways, perhaps by doing something we all did long before Facebook existed – add a picture of their favorite car to a computer’s wallpaper. Now that’s being a fan!

So who convinced the social community to really, really Like them the most in the month of April? Two brands definitely standout and both are very new to the Facebook fan page world so they have some major growth percentage-wise mainly because they are starting from such low fan count numbers.

Scion had a user community fan page converted to “Unofficial Scion” last month only to come out with their own page in March. In April, Scion drove up fan numbers running some simple Become a Fan ad units; thereby, increasing their fan count by 780% in April.

So who beat a 780% growth in one month? Some big trunks with menacing grilles: Ram had 1,029% growth with 18,894 fans added in one month. Ram also had Become a Fan ad units run in April to help generate such impressive growth. All of the Chrysler brands are making a strong push to advertise for fans over the past several months with major ad buys from Ram, Dodge and Jeep.

The remaining brands experienced typical fluctuations in growth. Most double-digit increases can be accounted to product releases or news. Toyota meanwhile continued with their video ad unit to showcase their response to the recall news. ‘

Other than a lot of changes with Facebook’s change from Fan to Like, the month was mostly uneventful for the automotive world on Facebook.


Sunday, February 28, 2010

Scion tC RS 6.0 Series Site an Epic Fail

Site Reviewed: Scion tC Release Series

Most online consumer experiences market a combination of style and attitude about a product while showcasing why the product relates to the target consumer and imparts information on the strengths of the product.

Rarely does style overtake substance so much as it does in the latest effort from Scion. “Get Inside the tC Release Series” website experience, developed by marketing agency ..and company, is an extreme example showcasing all things not to do in a social media, Facebook-enabled automotive marketing experience.

The site invites the user to immediately “start” an inner exploration by first asking to share Facebook content back and forth with the Scion tC site. If one doesn’t “connect” the site doesn’t let the user through the home page. Users who are fine with letting Scion publish and take anything from their Facebook content are allowed to continue. (Fail #1: Not allowing an experience to those who don’t accept the Facebook Connect prompt.)

If one is fine with allowing access, they are immediately presented a 30 second or so video that shows all kinds of Vegas lights, concert marquees, and other cliché nightlife imagery. While the imagery plays, the user’s Facebook images and even names of their friends encapsulated in fake text messages that show up on screen. It’s content integration to give the illusion of personalization. (Fail #2: Facebook content is used not to enhance the experience but to simply repurpose it into a confusing video message. The site took users from my friends that I barely connect with and the images all looked out of place in the video content. For example, my twin boys and I on a concert poster looks really odd.)

Another Dumb Step

After the video plays the user is prompted to setup Dumb Step 360; I mean DUBSTEP 360. Once you setup DUBSTEP 360, whatever that is, it shows you a video of a dark nightclub with barely visual images of people dancing and hanging out. This goes on for about two minutes. It eventually stops prompting the user to share DUBSTEP 360. Oh yeah that was worth sharing? Is this the creative team a bit too in love with their idea? I’m starting to think so.

After publishing the share of DUBSTEP 360, the link showed up on my Facebook profile and when clicking on it the homepage of the Scion tC RS 6.0 site shows up with no information about what DUBSTEP 360 is. Now my friends have to go through the Facebook Connect Allow and navigate through the site probably forgetting all about DUBSTEP provided they actually moved beyond the home page which is seriously doubtful.

It's all very confusing especially considering the Facebook link on my account shows a DJ and nothing about Scion tC RS vehicle. It does say “Scion DUBSTEP 360” but that is still very confusing considering what a Facebook friend has to go through to get to see what the DJ was all about. (Fail #3: Facebook publish post takes long time to get to content that was shared thus causing confusion.)

No car. No idea what DUBSTEP 360 is (for those who don't know like me - yes I Googled it - it’s a style of electric dance music with roots in the early 2000s from the UK)? Hopefully people stay engaged. While the music video plays a hotspot takes the user to, which is no longer connected to anything about the tC RS 6.0. A hotspot to the Scion page makes no sense when experiencing a music video that’s part of the communication for the tC RS 6.0 vehicle, yet two minutes into the experience there is zero about the car and when clicking in the dance scene one gets taken to a completely disconnected jump to Scion’s main consumer site.

I’ve seen some pretty dumb stuff and have been involved with some poor user experiences, but the Scion tC RS 6.0 site is now the poster child of awful usability, an utter disconnect from product, and a design team completely in control of the experience rendering it virtually useless.

The team here must have been so in love with their idea to integrate Facebook Connect for reusing gallery images, profile pics, and friend’s names through Facebook’s API that the team forgot this was about showcasing a car, not how cool you can be at recycling all of the content on a person’s social site. (Fail #4: Lacks meaningful content about the product after several minutes of the site experience.)

If a user ever wants to learn anything about the tC RS 6.0 they must click an 8-point size text link in the bottom left center of the navigation menu labeled “Features+Gallery” that takes one to a completely different site! That’s right, if you want to learn anything about the car you have to go to a different experience, continuing to demonstrate how epic of a failure the tC Release Series 6.0 site is. (Fail #5: To view vehicle content, one must entirely leave the site to learn about the car.)

Building a Niche Fan Base While Ignoring the Brand

So the site is a usability disaster of epic proportions and lacks vehicle content. It must get something right, right? No. The other part of the experience is clicking the “Becoming a Fan on Facebook” link that takes one to the fan page, but not a Scion fan page; instead, the user is brought to a vehicle fan page for the Release Series. Sure there is nothing wrong with that connection or is there?

Scion lacks a real fan page. There is an unofficial one, but no brand fan page. Also the Release Series is a niche product line with a very limited production run of 1,100 units for the tC and few other units from past and future models.

Why not instead establish a brand presence on Facebook for all Scion fans and roll that out with the tC RS 6.0? This way the brand could expand it’s fan base to other vehicle fans and build an official Scion fan page with the release of this hot vehicle.

Seems like the brand is missing an opportunity to attract fans to the brand and start a decent following. Looking at the Release Series Facebook Wall one sees a lot of fans are there talking about all things Scion, not just the tC RS. (Fail #6: Builds fans on Facebook with one limited appeal vehicle while still lacking a brand Facebook fan page for all brand consumers and aspirationals.)

In Closing

This is an example of what not to do with one’s online site experience. I rarely am this rough with a site and apologize to the team involved, but I am pretty sure this site never went through usability testing with real users, the team was entirely led by creative whims not business goals, and the execution totally lost sight of the vehicle to instead focus on UK dance music.

Talk about trying to be cool and not even coming close.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Kia Microsite and Tour Reaches for Gen-Y

“We got together with a group of really cool people to celebrate Music, Film, Design, Entrepreneur Spirit and Gaming. We call them The Soul Collective”
From this continues Kia’s marketing outreach to teen and twenty-something consumers. The Kia Soul Collective was a ten-city tour promoting the Kia Soul as it showed up at concert events where show goers could get more information about the car and if they arrived between 12pm-8pm could test-drive a car. The effort was run by Cornerstone, a full-service lifestyle marketing company.

The site is divided into a various artistic interests: Music, Film, Design, Entrepreneur. All of the representatives for each section are Gen-Y up-and-comers with some established credibility. They all appeal to the creative nature of the target consumer and attempt to bring some coolness to the Kia Soul product. “Each member of the collective was tasked with demonstrating ‘how they roll’ through creating original films, art, music and more,” states the Press Release announcing the series of free concert events and the Kia Soul Collective site.

The Kia Soul is in a battle of the boxes as it launched the Soul at the same time Nissan launched their aptly named Cube and Scion had recently redesigned their xB. Kia picked up some immediate buzz with their funky hamster TV ad, which was one of the more memorable commercials of 2009. They also received some decent blogger coverage from non-automotive writers.

The Kia Soul Collective effort nixed the hamsters for turntables and nightclubs. The nice thing is there is still a connection across all of the efforts – the slogan “a new way to roll.” Roll can apply in a variety of ways and throughout the campaign has brought together rolling wheels and roll as in attitude. Connecting with artists is a natural integration in showcasing interesting people who have chosen a path that is definitely relevant to the target consumers.

There is a Flickr account setup for the event. I browsed several of the photo galleries and couldn’t find one photo with over 20 views. This isn’t uncommon from what I’ve experienced looking at all kinds of event marketing efforts brought online to Flickr. It doesn’t seem to matter what brand or product, but few people ever view these photos and probably for good reason. They only matter if you attended the event. Watching people you don’t know sign in at tables, drive around in a car, and go to a concert you didn’t attend just isn’t that compelling. It’s probably not even worth the effort to put up these galleries for any brand. Unless you have some compelling reason to do so, like they’re the first photos of the car or a celebrity is involved; otherwise, it’s not worth doing.

What is worth doing that is in the Kia Soul Collective site is the “Click Here for Your Event Photo” section where if you did attend an event you can retrieve it at the site and hopefully learn some more about the Soul’s marketing effort.

One disconnect is that there is virtually zero product information on the site. Obviously, adding product information to a hip, creative site promoting concert events could turnoff the audience Kia wishes to reach; however, providing a simple call to action to learn more about the Soul, say in the right side’s Keep Informed section would’ve been an easy way to promote the car a bit more. There is a Soul logo that is clickable to the Kia site, but clickable logos are weak Calls to Action, something stronger would’ve probably helped with what I’m guessing is a very low click-through rate to product pages.

The other question that begs asking is should this effort exist as an unique site, separate from the Kia Soul Launch experience. The Kia Soul launch site is pretty odd in its own expression and the Soul Collective effort probably could’ve lived in the existing site; instead of creating a whole other web site for people to find.

In an article from iMediaConnection called “3 Reasons to Ditch Your Microsites” author Sean X Cummings states, “Microsites are orphans. The URLs are orphans. You have to keep feeding them, housing them and clothing them, even though no one really wants them anymore.”

Looking at all the effort put into getting people to the Kia Soul Collective microsite, I wonder if Cummings is right. There is no point now that the tour is over and the content is old. No one has a reason to go here, yet Kia still feeds the site by linking to it from their shopping site at Why? Why have potential shoppers go to the Collective URL where you may deter their interest in your product and forget they were even interested in a Kia Soul? Internet users are fickle and you are just a click away to the next attention getter.

That’s why it’s often a better move to integrate your marketing efforts into minimal destinations like the shopping site and a launch experience, and even that you may want to combine into one single destination. I’m personally a fan of having a site for the launch efforts that are not convoluted by shopping links. Let your main site be the destination for serious buyers or product researchers. Let the launch site familiarize visitors with the campaign and key messages you want the product to communicate, not everyone is ready to start Build & Pricing and trying to find a dealership.

Anyway, the Soul Collective is another effort to combine creativity, youth and event marketing. There is nothing revolutionary here, but for what it is it subscribes to most of the fundamental elements company’s have when approaching these efforts: microsite, Flickr and a Twitter account. Being more integrated to the online efforts already in place with the Kia launch site would have alleviated the need to maintain a distinct effort, plus integration with the launch experience would’ve brought more of the digital effort into a more impactful singular effort. It still is a decent effort to reach that coveted Generation-Y demographic so many marketers wish to appeal too.