Showing posts with label email. Show all posts
Showing posts with label email. Show all posts

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Pontiac Resurrects from the Dead Tries to Sell Me a Buick

Last Monday afternoon I received an unexpected email. Seems Pontiac is back. Well at least the former Pontiac eNewsletter is back and it no longer has a new Pontiac to sell me, but someone at General Motors feels a new Buick Regal is the new GM's answer to Pontiac.

I suppose the Regal is the right answer, since it is trying to position itself as a sports sedan capable of reigniting "Excitement!"

It's an interesting play with Pontiac owners/leasees probably on the hunt for a new car and GM obviously wants to keep Pontiac owners in the family so with the new Regal there is a decent replacement for these customers.

The email also promoted service for Pontiac owners and a new mobile app available for 2011 Buick, GMC, Chevrolet, and Cadillac models. It will be interesting to see how or if the Pontiac eNewsletter will promote other GM vehicles or if it will try to move Pontiac owners to the Buick brand.


Thursday, August 19, 2010

Volvo Asks to be Part of Your Social Connections

Volvo sent out a "Stay in the Loop" email that solely communicated connecting with the company on Facebook and Twitter. It's the first time I've seen any automaker send out an email communication out to their mailing list that only promotes the brand's social presence. Most emails are putting some sort of link to a Facebook page or Twitter account, but that is usually relegated to the end of a quarterly email communication.

There's nothing really significant here from Volvo, but it is interesting to see the brand solely promote its social links with zero promotion of a vehicle. What's nice is the call-to-action is straight forward, but do customers or potential customers really want your company sending them emails about liking them on Facebook?


Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Showcase Your Auto Enthusiast Prowess Win a NISMO

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

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

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

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

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


Monday, April 26, 2010

GM Markets Loan Payment News

At the end of last week, General Motors proudly announced they have paid off the $8.1 billion loans it received from the United States and Canada. To mark the momentous payoff that was made five-years ahead of schedule, GM followed the announcement up with a new TV commercial featuring CEO Ed Whitacre and an email to GM's customers or potential customers.*

GM had a rough last year after it went through two CEOs and a bankruptcy. Part of the bankruptcy has been a groundswell of people who are angry with GM's decision to ask for government money so it is no surprise the loan payoff announcement last week was big news to hopefully win back customers angered by the government handout.

But was it really a loan payment or simply "an elaborate TARP money shuffle," as Senate Republican Chuck Grassley claims?

The issue is in regards to TARP funds being used to make the loan payment last week. The Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) was designed mainly to give money to financial institutions in exchange for future equity that government hopefully can recoup in the near future. In GM's case stock shares are given as equity when the company goes public, possibly later this year. Basically, TARP is a loan against poor assets or to some a bet on future potential of the company.

Grassley and others think GM simply took $6.7 billion of its TARP money to payoff the $8.1 billion in loans it took. This is not sitting well with those who feel the company simply shuffled borrowed government money around to give the impression the government was paid back.

Of course, the email message above says nothing about TARP funds being used or that the government is still owed a significant amount of money it hopes to get some day from the equity the government know owns in GM.

Sorting this all out gets a bit complicated. According to the New York Times, "about $43 billion that G.M. borrowed from the Treasury has not been repaid because it was converted to a 61 percent equity stake in the company. That money can be recovered only through a public stock sale, which is expected no sooner than the fourth quarter."

So was this simply a government money shuffle and more importantly does it matter?

Looking at last week's news coverage and GM's email it appears the government has been paid back and GM can now rest nicely without a government debt hanging over them. Any questions regarding GM's debt can now be dealt with as GM has given the government equity in the future company which sounds a lot better than owing a loan.

I personally think the news went very well for GM and the email was a smart touch. The only issue is will people like Senator Grassley be able to make enough noise to cancel out the positive press?

* It's tough to say who received the email above, but I'm sure I did due to signing up on a vehicle site for updates or some other GM site that asked for my email. I am not an owner though.


Saturday, February 13, 2010

You Can Create Your Own Honda Groove
Just Don't Expect to Share It

“In September of 2008 we carved grooves into a quarter mile stretch of asphalt on the outskirts of Lancaster, CA. The goal was to create an experience that embodied the connection Civic drivers feel with the road.”
Honda’s creative musical road idea was an interesting, fun way to express the connection a car has with its road and what its drivers experience as road, car and driver connect in one simultaneous beautiful experience. To bring that experience to life, Honda cut grooves into a road in southern California and create a YouTube channel featuring the original TV commercial and several documentary short films explaining how it was done.

A new online experience on Honda’s Civic shopping website extends the idea in a new way. Website users can now create their own virtual musical road where they can plot different notes on a road and playback the version they made on the “Grooves Game” website.

The experience is an interesting way to bring new life to the original idea and bring an user generated, interactive experience to make the idea more personal. Of course, to make your own song, that’s worth listening to, it helps to have some musical experience. My ability to create a musical road sounded as muddled as the thuds I hear on my daily “musical” expression on the pothole-ridden roads of Michigan each morning.

Supposing you can actually create a new tune that’s worth listening to it is a shame the Honda Grooves Game doesn’t let one share their creation. The only share that can be done is an email sharing form that sends the website link for friends to create their own song.

In an age where most sites share through social media properties, it seems odd that Honda didn’t allow for an easy way to make that happen or a simple way to share a person’s own musical road. This would have made the experience more interesting. Perhaps budget or timing prevented such expression.

Overall, the idea is great way to extend a real-world idea to a digital idea. Unfortunately, without some stronger social sharing or allowing people to express their own musical roads, the site loses its power to be more compelling.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Subscribe to this Blog's Email Newsletter

I've added a new feature to the blog: Email Newsletter Subscription. Emails are sent once a week on Monday mornings. It will only send the stories from the prior week and just like the blog, there is absolutely no advertising nor any list building from me. This is just a simple way to stay engaged with new content.

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Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Is the Buick Regal a Departure or a Band-Aid?

Today I received the first email communication for Buick Regal handraisers. The vehicle just debuted two weeks ago at the Detroit Auto Show. Or is it still the North American International Auto Show? Either way, the Regal is the latest injection of sporty European car design coming to America via the Opel brand.

The Regal is an Opel Insignia re-badged and reconfigured to meet U.S. taste. It is definitely an interesting car and won the highly prestigious European Car of the Year award back in 2008.

What’s most compelling to Buick fans and others interested in GM products is how the Insignia, sorry Regal, is a sport worthy sedan. To some extent, it fills the enthusiast hole left when GM pulled the Pontiac brand and its G8 from the product portfolio.

The Regal’s “Its Arrival Will Be A Departure” message communicates the redefining of the brand that has been underway since the Buick Enclave and, more recently, Buick LaCrosse.

Regal is a more complete departure from the brand’s image of big cars with soft suspensions appealing to elderly American drivers. This new entry brings a more sport tuned suspension, European handling and Brembo brakes, at least on the car shown at the Detroit Auto Show.

In a way Buick is becoming what Saturn always wanted to be, a stylish European answer within the General Motors lineup. Is the Regal the first of many Opels on its way to the States? European products tend to have more upscale appeal to American taste and upscale premium is where GM wants to go with the Buick brand.

Is this a departure Buick will continue to take? Or is this just a quick one product injection to show consumers there is a "New GM" in 2010?

UPDATE: Seems I might be on to something here. Just a little after I posted this blog, GM Inside News (@REALGMI) just reported that the coming Buick compact car is a slightly reworked Opel Astra sedan.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Lexus GX: Girl Power Promise Deflated

I received the above promotion for the All New Lexus GX in my email last night. It shows a Victoria Beckham / Grace Jones Super Woman who is identified as "The Driver: Trusted transporter of precious goods." It's raw girl power aged 20 years to fit the middle-aged target consumer. It's tough, stylish and strong.

Sure it's a bit funny coming from what most people consider the boring Luxury brand that builds quality vehicles, but this is marketing to the edgy luxury consumer and another example of luxury female focused marketing, similar to the recent BMW 5-Series GT.

Unlike the 5-Series GT marketing where the email marketing leads the interested to a site matching the email creative, Lexus brings the consumer to a brochure-ware site experience that leaves out all of the girl power messaging. Instead the consumer is showed a product demonstration overview video and provided several links to learn more about the car. Pretty stale stuff after the rock star promise.

So what happened to Victoria Beckham / Grace Jones Super Woman? She's gone and so is all of the "transporter of precious goods" messaging designed to appeal to the target consumer. What a shame because there was so much scrumptious fun that could have been if Lexus continued through with its creative idea.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Show Your Commitment for the Sauber F1 Team (Because We Are Not)

Almost two weeks after announcing they will leave Formula One, BMW Lifestyle’s email marketing group decided to promote the Sauber F1 Team's merchandise. So while they are no longer interested in supporting the team and they have a bunch of inventory to clear out, it’s time to get the fans to empty the warehouse.

My favorite line in the email comes from the subject line: “Fuel Your Enthusiasm”, which should have been followed by “…Before Our Tank is Empty.” But the worst part of the email was the fact that BMW failed to give any price discounts on the products which obviously will go on fire sale mode in less than three months after the Formula One season comes to an end.

So why is BMW leaving?

BMW’s press statement claims the reasoning is as follows:
"Premium will be increasingly defined in terms of sustainability and environmental compatibility. This is an area in which we want to remain in the lead… Our Formula 1 campaign is thus less a key promoter for us."
Most feel it is more about disappointing results. The results of the Team have been poor as they have failed to win the world championship like Director Mario Theissen, who runs the Team, said they would do in three years. So it hasn’t been the best time for the Team, especially after an awful 2009 season. Mercedes has particularly made BMW look bad in the sport and so maybe BMW is just backing out under the guise of the move being a strategic refocus on environmental sustainability.

Well you can’t really blame the BMW Lifestyle marketing team for trying to dump a bunch of product before the Team’s final season wraps up. Some discount would’ve been nice as I’m sure the Sauber Team fans all know the Team is dissolving soon.

All I can think is that marketing doesn’t know the Team is coming to an end, because a lot of people in marketing pay more attention to Click-Through-Rates and less attention to industry news. I’d guess that without a discount the merchandise will sit since who really wants to support a Team with such a short time left. Now, if only I can get a deal on a 2008 Sauber F1 child's car seat...

Friday, April 24, 2009

Is GM Marketing Trying To Kill Two Brands?

First, AgencySpy had someone share a ad placement sponsored by Hummer promoting "Green Is Universal" on Thursday's homepage. Green + Hummer? Okay, that has to be just about the worst sponsorship buy decision, couldn't the GM Total Confidence team bring Chevy Volt into the sponsorship? Or is this a way to further kill Hummer as GM sheds its brands under restructuring? Who knew online media was part of the plan to bury the Hummer brand.

Then tonight I received an email marketing message from Pontiac with the subject line "Pontiac: Drive with Total Confidence", this on the day every automotive news outlet is reporting GM to "Kill Pontiac", not exactly the most confidence inspiring action to lure new drivers.

Maybe GM marketing is not very happy about the announcement of 20% of GM's marketing department to be laid off?

It's a sad time for General Motors and I really do wish them all the best, especially Pontiac as I love the new G8 and feel the brand has a lot of equity in the performance space, when given the right products. Unfortunately, GM doesn't do the brand much justice with products like The Vibe or G3 and the marketing team isn't doing GM justice by associating Hummer with Green and Pontiac with Total Confidence (at least this week.)

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Who has the Biggest Stimulus Package?

Now that the word bailout has been replaced with the friendlier stimulus word, marketers are ramping up on their messaging to work stimulus into their ads. Hyundai and Volvo are the first automakers to adopt the term.

Volvo is running Tier 2 TV spots for regional dealerships with the language “Stimulate Your Stimulus”. Not sure what that means since no one is really getting a stimulus unless you are AIG or a major financial institution, that issue aside, it does seem like a very weak message. They are also using the phrase in their email marketing efforts.

Hyundai is simply adding some stimulus language within their online media efforts to promote their well-received Assurance program.

Unfortunately, there is a logic issue with the stimulus language for marketing purposes. The stimulus effort is a policy effort to help stave off unemployment and foreclosures. Adding a car payment to one’s financial situation is counterintuitive to the whole concept of a stimulus. Of course, I understand the language in the ads is to promote cost savings by putting money on the hood and reducing financing rates, but with so much contempt for buying big ticket items it seems attaching the word “stimulus” to your message to get people to spend $20,000-$40,000 is not a compatible concept.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Handcrafted AMG Snowflakes for the Holidays

Every snowflake is unique. Mercedes-Benz wants it’s customers to know that every AMG engine is unique too. Using engine parts, visitors to the new Mercedes-AMG Snowflake Creator, can move around engine parts into various repetitive designs to generate their own snowflake to send it to their friends along with a message. I’m thinking I should send one to my wife letting her know what I want for Christmas – a $194,700 AMG SL 65 Black Series. She can skip the giant red bow.

The snowflake creator is a somewhat interesting execution. It’s not particularly entertaining as you only have five auto parts and an AMG logo to create your masterpiece, but adding more parts isn’t really necessary.

What is interesting is taking the idea expressed on the homepage, “’One Man – One Engine.’ This is one of the signature components of the AMG philosophy, speaking to the unique hand-craftsmanship utilized for every AMG Mercedes built.” We all know snowflakes are unique. (Or are they?) Bringing together an idea we all understand, take a symbol of the holidays, and mesh it together back to your brand’s desire to communicate the uniqueness of your product. It is a compelling message and a great way to reinforce the special quality of AMG.

Sending an email works well at a time when people are exchanging e-cards over the holidays. I like it when companies can find a way to make the holidays relevant to their marketing efforts. Besides, I’m sure it’s more welcome than getting this e-card.

The site doesn’t let you save your snowflake as an image or post it on your social networking page, but that doesn’t seem necessary as this is a holiday card application and who really needs an picture of your “unique” creation. It’s about creating a card that is uniquely you though it isn’t communicated to the person receiving your e-card that the snowflake is part of the AMG philosophy of being handcrafted and unique. It just looks like the typical Christmas e-card with some strange looking circle floating down to the hood of a Mercedes. So, the message of the site is lost when sent along to your friends.

Overall, it’s a nice execution and a timely way to demonstrate the uniqueness AMG is reinforcing about their products. more.