Showing posts with label Video. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Video. Show all posts

Friday, July 19, 2013

Honda Asks Twitter Want a New Car? Responds with a Get a New Vine

On Monday July 15th, Honda launched a social media campaign using the short-form video application Vine as a way to reach people expressing their frustrations with their current car. They noticed a lot of people in social media share their daily vehicle problems, which could open up an engaging opportunity to help promote Honda’s Summer Clearance Event.

Prior to the day, they shared this video promoting what the social media team intended to do. Basically they would respond to people with car issues by creating a 6-second Vine video using the hashtag #WantNewCar.

Monday came and Honda created several Vine videos showing dealership sales people in khaki pants and blue shirts filming whimsical videos at Honda dealership.  They responded in the following way with people in need of a new car.

So how did it do as a way to increase social conversation for Honda? 

The following three charts show a couple things.  The first looks at the use of the #WantNewCar hashtag, with most of the activity coming from the paid Promoted trend on Honda bought on Twitter July 15th. 

The second chart looks at mentions of “@Honda” to see what kind of lift came from people talking about the brand account or retweeting content from the campaign.  The top piece of content shared was this Vine using YouTube sensation Rebecca Black that received 34 retweets and 25 favorites.

The third chart looks at overall mentions of “Honda” in the last 6 months. Ignoring the April spike due to the Boston Police looking for a Honda sedan at one point during the bombing manhunt, the conversation around Honda didn’t really move much and was normal during this past week’s vine event. This comes as no surprise as a lot of engagement on the #WantNewCar hashtag focused more on people wanting some other car than a Honda; though, quite a few people did ask Honda for a free car.

Mentions of "#WantNewCar"

Last 6 Months Tweets Mentioning "@Honda"

Last 6 Months Tweets Mentioning "Honda"

The campaign did provide some decent lift and received positive response from media and social media fans.  Plus it’s a fun creative execution that tried to engage Twitter users in a playful way.  That said, the hashtag might have been more of an issue with this campaign.

The night of the event I followed the conversation closely and came away with three common responses from the online community.
  • Most people who engaged with #WantNewCar thought Honda was asking them to share a negative experience with their current car (or lack of owning a car) so that they could win a free car from Honda.

  • Those who were hoping for a new car for free asked more often for something other than a Honda.  Pick your favorite aspirational sports car and that was likely what people were tweeting about.

  • Finally for those who found out that they were not getting any possibility of a free car, and may only get a free vine video, well that didn’t go over so well.

And while the Honda Vine videos were not as revolutionary or compelling as some other campaigns, the company did recently release this brand video showcasing Honda’s history in a fascinating way.


Monday, March 25, 2013

Video Recap of Geneva Auto Show Social Media Activations

I woke up this morning to a pitch on my twitter account.  Unlike most 'hey can you post this on your blog,' requests this one is pretty good.  There are some good examples of social media activations happening at the Auto Show including uses from Nissan, Hyundai and Mercedes-Benz. There's even a little dig at Citroen who allows for email sharing only on a build application they have on the floor.

Anyway, thanks to Patrick Sweeney for some good content.

Oh and here's the pitch (and yes I'm following @PJSweeney now on Twitter.


Thursday, December 20, 2012

Rapping White Parents are Viral Video Gold

I loved Toyota's Swagger Wagon when it came out back in 2010. It provided some much needed entertainment in the difficult minivan space where a lot of buyers felt they had to defend their purchase of a minivan against a slew of cooler SUVs.

That was almost 3 years ago and it's been awhile since we have had an automaker try the formula:

Parent(s) + Kids in diapers + Toys + Car + Casio Keyboard Synthesizer + Rap = Viral Video Gold

The parent rapping formula definitely works, Toyota's video has over 11 million views. Then there is a recent addition from the comedy team Bluefish TV that has over 1.6 million views.

Fiat decided to enter this genre and has netted near a million views already; though, it's unclear how much media is behind the success.

"Word to all the mothers out there. This one goes out to you..." reads the YouTube video's description.

It is what you expect a lot of hang wagging, complaints about spit up, rhymes about life before being a mom, a mention of snot, and an attractive upper-middle class mom doing the simplest rap tempo.

The ad, called "The Motherhood", promotes the British release of the Fiat 500L a car we cannot currently get in the States.  If you are familiar with automotive naming, you can quickly figure this is a Fiat 500 "Large" basically Fiat's answer to the MINI Countryman. It made it's debut a few weeks ago at the Los Angeles Auto Show.

I'm sure the 500L rap video will continue to gain views. Sadly this formula works. Fortunately, the world is ending tomorrow and with it hopefully the end of rapping white parents complaining about their trials raising kids. It was a creative and fun idea once. The copycats have been painful. Here, here to the Mayan Apocalypse!


Friday, December 23, 2011

The Germans Wish You a Happy Holidays

Everyone is doing their take on the Holiday celebration. While Lexus ties giant red bows on IS sedans, the German car companies are celebrating the holidays in a variety of ways. Volkswagen had some fun with their Facebook fans asking them to share their favorite VW-Themed Holiday photo.

 BMW is having fun featuring the new M5 that is on its way to the US soon. They decided to create "The Fastest Christmas Card in the World" where they sit an illustrator next to performance driver Urs Inauen, or "swiss stuntman" as his website refers to him.

The ad is a great example of appealing to your target audience with some custom web content. It's a simple idea: new M5 + race track + holiday = a ridiculous mess.

Mercedes-Benz created a 17 red car salute celebrating Christmas in their latest ad with an all red display for the holiday. Unfortunately, they don't make a red G550 so they shared the red peel coat paint job the marketing team needed to complete the red lineup. The video shows the excitement that goes into painting a SUV. If you don't have time to watch the video just imagine 10 seconds of Pimp My Ride without 40 speakers and gobs of fiberglass.

Audi decided to mock holiday tradition this year with its ad featuring boomer parents taking their son's new Audi A6 for a joy ride right as he arrives home.

 It's a bit dull and lacks some of the fun of recent Audi ads, but this critique seems a bit harsh though I do get the blogger's point. Christmas is about family, not superficial opulence. It is a luxury car ad so opulence is expected.

What are some of your favorite holiday ads from the automotive industry, past or present?

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.


Thursday, August 12, 2010

Dodge Wants Some Viral Appraisal

Dodge is extending their "Freedom" TV spot with a new online video that has an elderly woman stopping by antique stores to get an appraisal for a photo of George Washington and a few colonial soldiers posing next to a Dodge Challenger.

I do enjoy the attempt to extend the campaign online with a video that pokes fun at the absurdity of the commercial's concept and it does show Dodge has a sense of humor about the idea (how could they not?) However, I wonder if the video is funny enough to get any significant views.

It's charming for a second, but I'm not a die-hard Dodge or Challenger fan so I'm not really the target audience for the video. It had only 100 views when it showed up in my recent Channel updates screen on YouTube; though, the video has only been live since late yesterday.

Personally, I'm loving this Dodge ad more: Dodge Tent Event


Friday, June 18, 2010

Can We Please Permanently Getaway from Flash Mobs

Flash mob MINI - l'attraversamento più lungo della storia! from Alice Coppola on Vimeo.

Mini Italy proves we all need to getaway from doing any more flash mobs. There is a Countryman Italian site the flash mob is promoting:

P.S. - Sorry about Mini being the subject of the 3 of my last 4 blog posts.


Thursday, April 15, 2010

The 3 Minute Spot. The Norm for Super Cars

When you're a super car, the 60-second spot just doesn't give you enough time to showcase how awesome you are. The Pagani Zonda R released a new 3 minute video to do just that, showcase everything that is amazing about their latest sports car. Fortunately, if you produce lust-worthy, high-speed, rare vehicles the thought of getting someone to sit and watch 3 minutes of online video is not that difficult.

When planning a marketing video for online consumption, the length of the video is a very hot topic. Will people really sit through this? It's a valid concern and a lot of times most video marketing efforts could learn a lot from the brevity of Ernest Hemmingway, while the creative team gets lost in the complex expression similar to that of William Faulkner. Say things with fewer words, fewer images and more people will watch, unless you are a super car.

If you are a super car all bets are off. The advice of "keep it short" is nonsense. This video from Pagani could've been 10 minutes or 15 minutes and I still would've watched the whole thing. Unfortunately, most products don't elicit such dedication, patience or passion.

P.S. - I only did this blog post so I could talk about a sweet Zonda.


Friday, January 22, 2010

I'd Rather Loop than Drift

Forget drifting, looping is where the real fun is at.

The newest long-form product video for the lust-worthy Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG is a nice way to increase interest in the brand for enthusiasts. The car doesn't just roar down a winding road, no it hugs the concave of a cement tunnel in a bit of computer generated magic.

The video appears to be developed primarily for online consumption where it was made available to various online publishers. It has yet to be added to Mercedes-Benz TV or the SLS-AMG site. Perhaps it will also be used for auto shows or other events. The video ends with a simple promotion for the http://www.mercedes-benz/sls-amg website. It's quick and type is small so you might miss it, but I doubt Mercedes really cares as long as you watch the video and see what the brand is capable of building.

This is more about lust and gaining interest in the Mercedes brand than irbid about selling SLS AMGs.

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.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

VW Eos Dodges Low Flying Pelican Birds

Volkswagen has a tradition of making it on the Favorite Website Awards (FWA) website which recognizes highly creative, also usually highly frustrating user experience websites. One site that showed up on FWA this year was Volkswagen’s Eos Open Cage site.

Eos Open Cage is a Brazilian online experience described as an “interactive short film.” It is that. Basically, a woman (the Eos target consumer, I'll assume) drives around in a top down VW Eos where she weaves around open roads avoiding Hitchcockian birds that are trying to disrupt her country drive.

Playing involves some keyboard keys to avoid birds where one can swerve away or speed up. It’s pretty simple stuff with visual cues when to press an arrow key. If user response is too slow, a warning pops up explaining how to play.

It is not a game as there is no score or timing, the site plays in the space of interacting with the film. The implementation is really simple and clean where video is used in a way that is more engaging than simply pressing a Play button. One challenge a lot of sites have is the overuse of video content with no interactive element. Here VW Brazil finds a way to make video more interesting.

What isn’t intended from the implementation is what the image of swooping birds mean to automotive enthusiasts. One of the bigger stories toward the end of 2009 was a story about a $1.6 million Bugatti Veyron super car wrecking into small pond in Texas after a “low flying pelican” distracted the driver. It’s a bit comical using the VW Eos site, dodging birds that you can’t help but think this is a game to avoid low flying pelicans.*

How Does It Reconnect the Shopper?

Linking to the main shopping site is easy and clear in the lower navigation. Also, once one is at the landing page for the VW Eos the video intro for the Open Cage site plays and there is a promotional box that lets users visit the Open Cage site. A Build & Price link is also conveniently provided as is a link to the Technology page of the shopping site where one can learn about the features of the car.

Overall it is a nicely done experience that doesn’t get too technical, too game oriented, and nicely extends the usually passive video watching behavior most automotive sites rely too heavily on. Now if only we can get VW to do a Bugatti version with one very aggressive pelican.

* The Bugatti story seems to have been staged as the “owner” owns a wrecked exotics repair company and was also the driver a “wrecked” Ferrari Enzo.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Kia's Moochie Needs Zhu Zhu If It Wants Mania

Sorry for another Kia blog post (really I'm not obsessed), but in doing research for the Kia Soul Collective an ad network media buy must have picked up that I was a Kia shopper and sent a Moochie expandable ad unit to a site I was viewing. A what? A Moochie.

ACR New York, a creative advertising agency produced six-webisodes for the all-new Kia Soul campaign in collaboration with the David & Goliath agency. The experience called "Moochie Mania" is another attempt to appeal to the youth market.

The six-webisodes feature three recent college graduate friends trying to save their pet hamster. The hamster not only talks, only the three friends can hear his words, but the hamster is dying of a heart condition. It’s a real tug at your heartstrings story that is well sure to appeal to… someone.

The hamsters have severed Kia well on the Soul campaign. With over a million views of their Hamster TV spot on YouTube, the hamsters are definitely viral (I added up several posts of the TV ad to get the over million number.) To further extend that viral interest, Kia’s marketing team is promoting the “Moochie Mania Webisodes” on YouTube’s Promoted Video area when you search for the Kia hamster commercial, plus they are running a media buy outside of YouTube.

The Staggered Approach

Episode One was launched two months ago and did generate a fair amount of traffic to the YouTube video with over 50,000 views that is fairly decent assuming a minimal advertising spend.

The other two episodes (#2 & #3) have considerably fewer views that are pretty common in a staggered strategic approach. It’s my professional guess that the remaining three episodes still to come will perform even worse.

Why? Because staggered video content strategies assume an audience is growing and that early visitors are likely to return. But my experience and watching similar efforts like Audi’s Meet the Beckers, shows that visitors do not return. So unless the media plan increases as episodes launch, the later released content will not generate as much traffic.

Staggering really doesn’t make much sense for the main reason that most of your media spend, for an attempt at a “viral” effort like this, is at the debut of the first episode or two. Beyond that the team waits to see if the effort catches on and if it doesn’t the campaign moves on to the next idea and lets the remaining episodes launch as planned without much care.

The better idea is to have all the content available at launch for people to engage with and hopefully share if they find it compelling. The best idea is to plan your media spend in a staggered way too. Spread the media spend so that you spend say 30% at start and then spread out the other 70% as episodes are released, changing up where you buy as you learn what buys are performing best for this sort of content. Kia may be doing this for all I know, I'm just assuming their approach is similar to most. Spend the wad early and hope for a viral spark to ignite interest.

Moochie Needs a Viral Partner

Maybe Moochie could catch the enthusiasm of a popular kid’s toy that is all the rage this season – Zhu Zhu. Kia’s hamster looks very similar to the Zhu Zhu toys and there certainly is considerable buzz around them. It would’ve been pretty funny seeing a co-marketed product where one can buy a Zhu Zhu with a toy Kia Soul he can drive. Maybe that will cause some buzz even beyond the buzz of the original TV commercial.

Short of a major marketing alignment with a popular Christmas toy, the Moochie Mania probably won’t be much of a mania. It takes considerable, consistent ad spending to generate enough interest in a campaign like this and with all of these various efforts for the Kia Soul -- launch site, Go Hamster Go game on Facebook, Kia Soul Collective, this and I’m sure others efforts – it is probably a good guess that the marketing budget is getting spread pretty thin.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Audi's e-tron Concept Hopefully Not the Future of Website Navigation

I wonder if some sites ever went through usability testing. The Audi e-tron concept website definitely suffers from some significant design issues. First of all it contains no obvious cues about what one gets when clicking on the icon based navigation elements.

There are four key video content elements in the right-hand navigation featuring futurist diagrams and computer-generated imagery (CGI). Navigation includes design, technology, the intelligent automobile, and interior concept all visually demonstrating the e-tron’s features. The problem is each link is a tilted image not easily showing what the image is or what one sees when it is clicked on. In fact, the titled image navigation doesn't even seem like a navigation, you only know because your mouse changes its icon.

One demonstration is a nod to a future interior concept that seems very close to what might happen in the next few years. For example, a “Streets of Tomorrow” demonstration shows how the navigation of the future will tell us when we need milk as we are passing a grocery store. I think I heard this idea in 1998, but hey it still has never been done and people keep suggesting it. Telling me it is an idea no one wants, but keeps coming up in brainstorming or there is some technical barrier, I'm guessing the former. Another example is the car diagnostic system showing actual psi ratings of the tires is far more advanced than the Tire Pressure Monitoring Systems (TPMS) of today.

The footer of the site features a share on Facebook, a 360 view and a film of the product unveiling at the Frankfurt Auto Show. Another link shows the conversation that is ongoing across multiple social network properties featuring a count of YouTube, Flickr, Twitter and blogs covering the vehicle. The conversation section is very well executed and makes for an interesting way to showcase social dialog. This technique is becoming a standard approach as it was recently featured on the TDI site Audi recently launched.

When a social conversation is selected, Audi returns a very nice card that shows the social media content and allows the user to view it on its source site or one can Tweet the content if they so wish. The execution is very nice and one of the best implementations of social media content integration and sharing I have seen. Audi truly is on to showing all sites a very effective to show buzz and allow further sharing through a clean, well-designed interface.

It’s too bad that the Audi e-tron site suffers from some difficult navigation. Some proper usability testing would have corrected many of the apparent issues here. Of course, I haven’t put the site through testing, but having done testing on many sites in my decade plus experience, I’m sure the site would have some major hurdles for all but the technically adept or ultra-patient.

The big message here is the electric engine in an Audi R8 and whether Audi will really ever build an electric super car, especially after Audi President of North America Johan de Nysschen recently called anyone who buys a Chevy Volt a car for idiots.

Where the Audi campaign really shines isn’t this site. The really great work are the viral videos that were created to promote the site. There is a YouTube Channel housing three videos produced to launch the e-tron concept. All three are performing very well for a concept launch. The videos are getting over around 200,000 views each, which may sound low, but relative to most automotive content of similar nature the numbers are pretty good.

It’s great having this amount of content for a concept vehicle. Few concept vehicles get this much attention and I'm sure the agency, Venables Bell & Partners, had a great time concepting the effort. We had a similar effort done for our Lincoln C Concept car at the 2009 International Auto Show and it was very well received. I think car companies can benefit by extending the concept experience to a digital space, especially when the vehicle showcases some compelling exterior and interior design elements and technology advancements. The only caution with all of this futuristic design is that website navigation is still constrained to the usability best practices of today and designers should consider the aggravation complex site navigation can cause the average visitor.

Be cool, just don't be difficult.

Monday, July 6, 2009

And Yet Another Movement Begins

Apparently you need a movement to get Americans to understand that diesel technology has vastly changed since the days of great, but stinky cars like a 1984 Mercedes 300 Turbo Diesel. Audi is the one leading the movement with their new campaign “Truth in Diesel”; a variation from their multi-year brand campaign “Truth in Engineering”.

Before we get into the “movement" and its merits, let’s first discuss what perception Audi is trying to change and why a movement is even necessary.

Diesel, A Dirty, Stinky Word

We Americans think of foul-smelling public buses and interstate 18-wheeler semi trucks spewing gobs of black smoke when we think diesel.

I had a neighbor recently who owned an early 1990s Ford F-250 diesel that he would run a remote starter on during the winter months in Michigan. In Birmingham, where I live, the homes are very close – think forty-foot wide lots right smack next to each other. Well the smell from the neighbor’s diesel truck would leave a lovely odor in our home after about three minutes of the truck running. My wife hates, hates diesels because of this neighbor. She is the perfect person that needs convincing that diesels of today have changed and hence diesel’s perception issue is now Audi’s issue as they launch the diesel Q7 and A3 vehicles.

One of the great things about my experience on Twitter is finding advocates out there who really live their passion. One such person is Daniel Gray (follow him @mpgomatic) who runs MPGoMatic, a blog about cars and the energy they use. Daniel wrote an excellent article asking if there is an anti-diesel conspiracy since so much of the automotive press ignores diesel as a viable way to gain better MPGs in today’s cars. For some reason, diesel gets no respect from journalists either; though, the article does mention some positive coverage of the VW Jetta TDI which got through the clutter. Audi’s movement must address the diesel bias that still permeates most fuel efficient discussions.

Truth in Diesel Movement Outreach

So what makes up the Audi “Truth in Diesel” campaign? A website, of course, and some TV spots that show rolling oil barrels returning to the oil tankers that bring them to the US shore. The current home page of the Audi USA site prominently features the video and the new campaign. So much so you wonder if it is distracting shoppers interested in other Audi vehicles?

The Diesel: It’s No Longer a Dirty Word page features a Join the Conversation message that features all of the “conversations” going on across Twitter, YouTube, Blogs, and Flickr. Here you can click on oilcans that show a popup where you can read a Tweet and even “Tweet This”. Its your typical search a keyword feed pulling “Audi + Diesel” terms from various open social network sites that then display how you are connected to the “conversation” going on in cyberspace.

Once you get beyond the social media oilcans, there is a very rich site that includes some demonstration videos showcasing the Turbo Direct Injection (TDI) diesel engine with a stodgy voiceover; I guess that’s luxury education for you. Not very engaging, but informative.

You can also explore “The Truths” which are various facts about better fuel choices and how diesel is an excellent decision for green consumers. Fuel economy savings, impact on environment when fewer fossil fuels are used, and less dependence on foreign oil are the key messages in the Truth campaign.

We Want You to Join the Movement By Us Donating a Dollar, Huh?

You can join the movement by joining Audi’s cause application that contributes donations to the Nature Conservancy. From the cause:

“From now until July 23, Audi will give $1 to our Tensas River Basin voluntary carbon offset program for each and every new member to our Facebook Cause! You've just earned us $1 -- Now, invite your friends to our cause to help us reach our goal of 25,000 new members by July 23!”

It’s a nice link between fuel economy and supporting a green organization like the Nature Conservancy. Unfortunately, joining the cause in Facebook brings you to a donation play that does nothing to help people understand and promote the improvements in diesel technology which is what the Audi campaign is really about.

Nothing is really wrong with the charitable cause approach, except it misses the real point, which is educating the world about clean diesel and what the new technology has accomplished. Just seems to me someone in campaign brainstorming said hey we are doing something Green and we want to be on Facebook so maybe we should do one of those cause thingys since they're so popular.

Perception Change Missing

What is still missed, however, is how the new diesel isn’t the diesel of old and this message is still lost in all of the positive fuel benefits. I think most know, especially higher income Audi consumers that fuel benefits exist when going diesel, but they are still not educated on how diesel is cleaner in today’s new engines; hence, perception change is lost in the campaign.

This all brings me back to my wife and her hatred for the diesel truck next door. I asked her if she would buy a diesel Audi Q7, a SUV I know she likes, though the non-diesel version. She said, “whenever I see a diesel car; I wonder why they would drive diesel? Just to be different?” What she considers confusing is why drive a stinky car and one that’s gas usually costs more than non-diesel fuel. Neither of these issues are addressed by the Audi campaign, at least yet. We do learn in the Wall Street Journal article about the campaign that what is out now is phase one of the campaign. Hopefully phase two addresses some more pressing concerns.

Daniel Gray shared with me some of his thoughts on the topic. “America's acceptance of Clean Diesel passenger vehicles is inevitable. The truth can only be suppressed for so long. Eventually, word on the street will make it known that modern clean diesel engines aren't just remarkably fuel-efficient, they're a joy to drive.”

I think Daniel is right. Whether the Audi “Truth in Diesel” campaign speeds up that acceptance remains to be seen, but I hope it does. The new diesels are not the diesels of old and they should be considered part of America’s move to more fuel-efficient vehicles.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Hell yeah! Changed My Mind About Drifting

Alright this isn't automotive marketing, at least in the sense of this blog's usual coverage. The content here is from DC Shoes. Yet, it really energized me to look into a Subaru WRX STI. Forget the shoes, this commercial is all about drifting as a sport featuring professional Subaru Rally Team USA driver Ken Block.

What is drifting? It's basically burning through 50,000 mile tires in 5 miles. Checkout the following video for a high-octane demonstration. Gymkhana is a special type of drifting sporting event that is done in an open space littered with cones and obstacles. The Gymkhana drifting is featured in this video and truly showcases how cool and intense this sport can get.

Ken Block is a professional driver, but he is also co-owner of DC Shoes and Gymkhana Project is in its second phase with this latest "infomercial." You can see the original site here. The whole project showcases the power of Ken's skills but it is all about style and performance something DC Shoes wants to convey and something the Subaru Rally Team has no problem showcasing. And even though this about shoes, it's about the car too. The site features specifications on the highly-modified Subaru WRX STI. It really becomes a great showcase for the car.

It would've been nice some collaboration with Subaru, beyond what already exists with the clothing being promoted for the Subaru Rally Team USA.

The DC Shoes site is great at providing some extensible content through its blog which effectively communicates the events held around the Project. Access to the products being promoted in the DC store are easy to access and shown in clear, large images. The digital team also put up some excellent screen shots form computer wallpaper to keep fans in constant awareness of the promotion, well at least until something else fills the fan's computer screen.

The intensity of the performance video is very cool and something that was all the buzz when it was release a couple weeks back. I saw a coverage from all of the major and most of the minor automotive enthusiast blogs. Maybe next time Subaru can engage better with the DC content; though, to be fair that could distract from the DC Clothing being promoted. Done tastefully, some content extensions with the Subaru brand would be a good thing.

Monday, June 1, 2009

The "New GM", Believable on Day One?

I remember when I used to work for the world’s largest Pharmaceutical company and how we were ranked as one of the most disliked industries right behind tobacco. I wonder what the most disliked industries list looks like today? I’m sure financial is pretty high, automotive must be gaining in the country’s dislike as Federal bailouts of GM and Chrysler are not very popular, especially when you look at consumer comments on articles covering these companies.

Looking at GM’s latest attempt to improve its image with the debut of the “New GM” one minute commercial, on Autoblog it is obvious that consumer feelings are running pretty extreme. A couple examples:

“Oh how cute! I want my money back you thief's [sic]!”

“ehh… I don't see it doing much to bring buyers back into the showrooms.”

“Leaner, Greener, Faster, Smarter… uhhh, How about Profitable?”

Leaner. Greener. Faster. Smarter.
That’s the mantra of the new GM. The issue many citizens are having with it isn’t that it’s the wrong direction. It’s the right direction. It’s just why wasn’t this happening for years before June 1, 2009?

That’s the tougher question to answer and one a company doesn’t want to address as it wants to focus on the future and not the past. Who could blame them? GM certainly doesn’t want to talk about its overcapacity dealer network, its hindering union obligations, and its production capacity issues. Pundits like Thomas Friedman, in his book Hot, Flat, and Crowded, blame most of the issues on auto companies lobbying Washington to keep CAFE numbers low and fought alternative energy initiatives.

One Autoblog commenter mocked the ending of the video where the announcer says, “because the only chapter we are focused on is number one.” The reader’s biting comment, “The only chapter you should focus on is chapter 11, Morons.”

It’s a tough road selling a bankrupt car company that is on the government dole.

I do hope GM becomes a leaner, smarter company but its products and organization will decide that, not one-minute videos. I would’ve personally kept the promotional video out of it right now. Let the re:invention site just communicate facts, responses, and how GM is moving forward with their plan (fortunately, that is what most of the site is doing.)

The video is good for an internal GM meeting to inspire those rooting for their company. Posting it online for the whole world to see, why? It really doesn’t change any minds. Those for GM will love it. Those against GM will criticize it. This is the problem. It accomplishes nothing.

What did accomplish something was the active engagement from the GM Public Relations representatives today sharing updates about the bankruptcy on Twitter. People like Christopher Barger and the team leading @GMblogs on Twitter are helping changing perceptions about GM showcasing how they are becoming at least a smarter company.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Nissan Rogue's Marketing Success Maze

I always love hearing case studies. Really. Must be a sickness, but there is something very cool about seeing how effective or ineffective things are within the business world, that’s why I was very intrigued when I received an email from MediaPost featuring an article entitled, Nissan's Agency Details Online Branding Success.

The article discusses some great strides by one of Nissan’s ad agencies, Tequila USA, made with a very limited budget to promote the Nissan Rogue SUV. They went the viral video route along with a video game featured on the Nissan USA website.

Two viral videos were done called “Maze Master” that featured the use of a wooden tilt-board game that was also turned into an online video game.

What’s interesting about the MediaPost article are the success claims by Kristi Vandenbosch, president at Tequila USA. The numbers just don’t ad up.

The campaign's results were so successful they even surprised Vandenbosch, she said. In four weeks, the YouTube videos were viewed more than 200,000 times.

I went on YouTube this afternoon and both videos had about 25,000 views each, putting the combined total 75% less than the claimed 200,000 views. I’m guessing the 200,000 number includes views of the videos on Nissan’s own website which really isn’t that surprising when you consider their web site has traffic going to it from all of their spend on media and search engine optimization.

"Many car dealerships were starting to see waiting lists to buy the car, which they hadn't seen in quite some time," Vandenbosch said.

Really? The sales numbers reflect a pretty steady sales volume for the Nissan Rogue. This is a good thing in a down economy where a lot of products were taking double-digit year-over-year sales hits (the Rogue only had one negative month in November with a –2.8% sales that month.) So, it looks like the car was beating the industry trend, but waiting lists? That’s pretty hard to believe based on the sales numbers and no significant jumps in sales.

Sales numbers not matching up with marketing success claims certainly isn’t news. I remember a good friend of mine at the Michigan MBA program who once told our marketing class that marketers just round to the nearest million. I just wish marketing case studies given at conferences were more reliable with their results. I’m always suspicious just as I was reading the MediaPost article today. Oh well, at least I learned something about Nissan’s marketing efforts with the Rogue and played a decent automotive video game that wasn't your atypical car race game.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Viral Fun? Four Guys Getting All Wet and Soapy

Mini Cooper's "Always Open" campaign for their new convertible is trying the viral video route by doing something every convertible lover wants to see - top down car washing. Whenever I get into my convertible I'm always tempted to press the automatic top button to see what will happen if I go through the wash sans top. Now I know. I'll get all soapy, wet and power dried.

Mini takes the fascination of convertible driving in a new direction as they show something that theoretically sounds fun and a bit rebellious as four guys video tape their drive through a car wash. The campaign team is definitely thinking this is something that could turn viral since it is video that probably wouldn't exist without marketing dollars influencing a local car wash owner to allow a drive top down. It, therefore, is unique video because I know I'm not going to payoff a car wash owner to try this at home. So unique yes. Viral?

This brings us to what makes a video viral. Unique helps, but it needs more to be viral.

Is driving a convertible through a car wash entertaining? It is, though, I'm sure the male demographic watching the Mini footage wishes it had some gender equality in the four seats. The marketing team knows this would definitely up viewer-ship, but at the expense of some negative press, especially from their 41% female owners (JD Power 2008.) Even so, they still could've included some women in the drive without it really turning into some salacious wet t-shirt contest brought to you by Mini. Editing people. Editing.

Is it funny? There are a couple moments. One guy takes a strong power jet washer hit and a back seat passenger puffs up while going through the drying cycle. Overall, it doesn't do much because it is so contrived and obvious the whole experience is a marketing stunt. Yet, it does have some interesting moments and is sure to get some circulation from the shear uniqueness of the content.

Is it relevant to the customer Mini is trying to reach? Absolutely. This is where the video is most effective. It shows the car in something other than city streets or with the wind blowing in your hair in the night sky. It's playful too which completely fits Mini's brand promise. Lastly, it is right with the messaging of the current campaign. The Mini convertible is even "Always Open" even in an unexpected car wash drive.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Honda’s Brand Image Campaign Begins with Failure

Scientists talking about teleportation and magnetic levitation -- is there still room for such lofty brand building campaigns in a depressed automotive market? This is what the New York Times asks about a new marketing push from Honda.

Honda: Dream The Impossible

Honda says it is a campaign “focused on [their] values as a company.” The intro video talks about how it takes failure to get to success. Seems if this worked we wouldn’t need automotive industry bailouts and GM would be the most successful company ever.

Company engineers, designers, and executives share their optimism and enthusiasm for Honda as a company. To keep interest from waning, the film producers also found it best to include some celebrities like Danica Patrick, Christopher Guest and science fiction writer Orson Scott Card., not exactly people that generate a lot of buzz, but still better than an engineer talking.

The whole effort is an attempt to raise brand favorability. What seems odd about this is that Honda is a very successful brand that obviously put this work together in late 2008 before anyone expected a big drop off in industry sales. In fact, Honda was having a pretty successful sales lead when people started dumping SUVs and looking for fuel-efficient cars as an alternative lifting sales of the Civic without any need for brand marketing.

Perhaps this is Honda’s attempt to be positive and show how struggle can lead to positive things, a much better approach than Dunkin Donuts trying to communicate a “Kin Do” attitude.

I really don’t think much about these brand-lifting campaigns (see the Lexus L/Studio blog entry,) especially when they are more about the company talking to itself than its customers and this series by Honda suffers this issue. There is very little about product or expanding my knowledge about Honda’s products. Instead I’m left listening to some pretty boring diatribes on inner self and trying things over and over again, you know the kind of stuff that makes you feel good about buying a Honda lawnmower or $35,000 SUV.

The web site must be at an early stage as it allows users to browse the content. Today that content is three documentary videos: Mobility 2008, Kick Out the Ladder, and Failure: The Secret to Success. You can filter content using 12 content filter types and by most popular (I’m guessing that would be what ever video plays as the intro) and recently updated. That’s it. There is no other content on the site other than Subscribe and Share links in the top navigation.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Consonants HGTV and GMC Team Up for Some Nice Content Integration

Reaching your consumers through natural pathing is a goal of all advertisers. If there is one mantra I have come to use in online marketing that’s go to where your customers already are. There are many examples of advertisers, across industries, trying to build their own Facebook, their own Snapfish, or their own YouTube. There are also a lot of ideas out there right now trying to gain inclusion in people’s social networks. While all of this is important to evaluate when developing an online brand experience, one of the better ideas in online media has seemed to lost its cache and that is online content integration. I finally came across a good example from a recent email marketing newsletter sent to me by GMC.

GMC Trade Secrets on AOL Living brings together useful consumer content relevant to the passion points of its potential customers. The execution also brings in some HGTV celebrities: Eric Stromer, Kelly Edwards, and Curtis Stone. The AOL Living section provides some rich DIY content that was developed custom for this site and not just a repurpose of content. My favorite was “Fix Driveway Stains” a nice integration of automotive relevancy and homeowner tip that currently has over 800,000 views.

Some nice touches include the “Get Weekly Updates from the GMC Pros” email hand-raiser. GMC requests some information about vehicles people would be interested in, plus timeframe when they may be in-market, but it also lets the user Skip the form and just sign up for the Pros' email content. GMC is respectful that all of the visitors may not be interested in the vehicles so the Skip button is prominent.

The site also includes an Ask the Pros section under every video. Unfortunately, like a lot of content sites like this the replies to questions asked are non-existent. People left a lot of questions on the site but it seemed only about 1 in every 8 had a response; though, the response was typically from another user of the site, not the Pro.

Overall the site really meets the homeowner, do-it-yourselfer at a level that is worthy of their time. Even with all of the GMC ad banners on top and along the margins, the site features the Pro content without overly pushing GMC in an obnoxious way. Sure there is some quick pre-roll of the Pros driving a GMC vehicle before a video tip is given but at least it uses the Pro in the pre-roll and isn’t a 15 second GMC ad.