Pages

Showing posts with label event marketing. Show all posts
Showing posts with label event marketing. Show all posts

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Will RFID be at Every Auto Show Display Next Year?



Radio-Frequency Identification (RFID) Facebook status updates are becoming the rage in social media event activations with the latest incarnation coming from Mercedes-Benz sponsorship of this year's PGA Championship in Atlanta, Georgia.



Recently Renault did something similar with RFID at an auto show last April which leaves me wondering if RFID Facebook updates are the next must have accessory for the coming 2012 auto show season? I'm willing to bet they are and with brands looking to activate what happens at an event to share in the digital world, RFID Facebook integration is a great way to extend a brand's investment in event sponsorships by reaching a person's online community too.

The question then is should the kiosks featured in the Renault and Mercedes-Benz examples be configured to support the entire event, where one can register a pass for the auto show and share across multiple brand stations? Or will an attendee after register at each brand kiosk to do whatever that brand wants the experience to be?



We'll probably see several of these RFID registration kiosks from a handful of brands; instead, of a more elegant register once with the event organizer - yeah I'm talking to you North American International Auto Show, New York Auto Show, and Los Angeles too.

No matter what happens, event planning teams across the automotive industry certainly are seeing these examples and the media coverage they are getting and will likely follow suit. So be ready to link your Facebook profile to a RFID card.




ShareThis

Friday, July 29, 2011

Chevy Pits Its 100 Years of Cars in a Bracket Challenge



Congratulations to Chevrolet as they get ready to celebrate their 100th birthday on November 3. As part of many festivities that are to happen until then, the brand developed an online experience that pits its 100 years of select models against each other. It is basically a bracket challenge where people vote for their favorite Chevrolet cars and trucks.


The 100 Years of Chevrolet website combines several social media connections with the brand where people vote by clicking a Facebook like button all to answer the age old question "What's the best Chevy of all time?" I know I wasn't asking that question either, but it is fun choosing which car or truck you like best in each round.

Most votes have a clear winner in the first round, but the 1970 Chevelle SS convertible and the 2010 Camaro are in a pretty close match with only 100 votes separating the two cars after almost 4,000 total votes in the match. Psst...I voted for the Chevelle SS.

I'm already a fan of Chevrolet on Facebook, but if you are not you need to be to cast your votes. Unfortunately, once you are a fan the experience got a little spammy after I went back to my Facebook profile since the Chevy 100 website doesn't tell you that every vote is published to your Facebook wall (see image on right.)

Other than the minor publishing to Facebook situation, and yes I get why they did it that way as it creates interest to my friends on Facebook and hopefully more traffic for Chevy's website, the experience is solid and focuses more on people's love of the current lineup and their love of Chevy's prolific automotive history.

So go and vote for your favorite Chevrolet vehicles!


ShareThis

Monday, April 11, 2011

Is 3D Projection the New Flash Mob Marketing Event?




I've watched a few flash mob marketing events on YouTube and wonder why am I watching this. It's interesting for maybe 10 seconds but a 1:38-minute video of Can't Touch This... Is this really a good use of my time? I find I have the same experience with the latest trend in event marketing - 3D Projection Imaging.

Just like flash mob videos, 3D Projection Imaging videos always show the people at the event with their mobile phones capturing the moment and being in awe of what is happening where they are. That experience doesn't translate well for someone watching it happen on a YouTube video while at their computer. I guess you just had to be there to really get the experience.

3D Projection Imaging is cool looking and it is certainly more likely to get shared than say the typical TV ad or other attempt at social content, but that's a guess as I don't have any deep dive analysis into whether that is true or not. What I do know is that interesting content that is promoted effectively is likely to see more shares than stuff that is boring and/or has no media push.

Hyundai comes with the latest attempt at trying to capture interest with their Accent promotion and even include a Making of Film. The execution is nicely done with the suspended vehicle looking as if it is driving in multiple scenes there on the building. And even if 3D Project Imaging is starting to get old (see several automotive examples below), it is something fairly recent here in the States and showcases Hyundai's tag line "New Thinking. New Possibilities" in a creative way.

For more examples of how automotive marketers have used 3D Projection Imaging in campaigns, please checkout the following examples from Volvo, BMW, and Volkswagen.

Volvo gave it a try in Frankfurt, Germany on September 2009:



BMW's execution May 2010 in Singapore:



Volkswagen Polo showcased their attempt in April 2010. Be forewarned this example shows what one can do without a big budget:



Thanks to the Digital Buzz Blog for covering the Hyundai example. Checkout their review here.


ShareThis

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Consumer Electronics Show, Different Kind of Auto Show



Unfortunately I missed this year’s North American International Auto Show, also known as NAIAS, after attending it every year since 1997. Fortunately, there was another “auto show” going on the week before in Las Vegas. Did I say auto show? Oh I meant International Consumer Electronics Show (CES) where they show off a lot of technology and some of it featured on four wheels. Ford and Audi both keynoted at the show. Nissan had a local LEAF drive and Automotive Rhythms hosted a Nissan LEAF “Electric Party” at The Palms. Nvidia brought the Tesla Model S for a quick show-and-tell. There was even an in-vehicle technology track for those who wanted to know more about the latest automotive technology.


I spent some time at the show watching Audi’s keynote. They came with their R8 E-Tron Spyder Concept and the Audi A7L.

Audi showcased their relationship with graphics chip maker Nvidia Corporation. “German engineering meets Silicon Valley,” Audi CEO Rupert Stadler shared with the crowd of a couple hundred people who watched him roll out onto stage in the revised E-Tron concept.

Nvidia founder and CEO Jensen Huang joined Stadler on stage where they shared the latest Navigation system and coming in-dash LCD instrument panel. The graphics definitely wowed the crowd and showcased how the merging of technology and automotive engineering can come together to really impress an audience who can respect what it takes to make such an impressive computer on wheels.

CES even had an automotive reveal at the show – The Ford Focus EV. My flight left right as Ford’s Alan Mulally took the stage to reveal the new electric Focus. Ford made a big splash at last year’s CES with the debut of their MyFord and MyLincoln Touch systems.

It may not be as comprehensive as an auto show, but CES is finding its own niche in the automotive world. Now next year if only I can find a way to get into the Automotive Rhythm’s party and better plan my travel to stay around to hear Mulally speak, I won’t feel so bad missing NAIAS again.


ShareThis

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Sponsorship Marketing: Ford's Activation at BlogWorld



I’m at BlogWorld this week. As an avid blogger and someone who has experienced the amazing impact blogging has had on my own professional career and personal relationships, I love what blogging means to social media and in an age where everyone talking social media usually talks Facebook and Twitter we are all reminded, here at BlogWorld, that blogging is a major, major part of social media.

But this is an automotive marketing blog and like any good blogger I better know my audience and you didn’t come here to hear me wax poetically about social media; instead, I’m going to talk about a brand I have an affinity for – Ford.

As a Gold Sponsor, Ford is everywhere. They are one of three Gold Sponsors with the other two being Mandalay Bay and Kodak. Of course Scott Monty (@scottmonty) is here and so are some people from the Ford social media team including Brian McClary (@brianmcclary). The brand is present with large Ford logos throughout the building on several posters that communicate the way to rooms and featured behind speaker panels. The program everyone carries also has a healthy Ford logo on the cover.

Where it gets interesting is with Ford’s experience approach to social media. One of the things Ford does very well is create experiences with their products in a way that gets people talking – and blogging – about their immediate reactions with the brand. To do that at BlogWorld, Ford is hosting test drives with a full range of vehicles. Yes! I finally get to drive the new Mustang GT 5.0.

BlogWorld brings together an audience that loves to publish, by definition everyone here is a self-publisher, and here Ford is tapping into that natural instinct with conference attendees and they don’t need to do it with win a free trip or here is $5,000 for the best uploaded YouTube video; instead, the community responds by participating and then sharing their experience. This is true User Generated Content.

Ford is using a couple tools to promote their test-drives. The hashtag #FordBWE (BWE – stands for Blog World Expo and is being used by the conference as #bwe10.)

The test drives are being done via registration using the social media tool PlanCast and Tungle.Me. Both are simple applications that use existing social media log-ins (Facebook and Twitter) where people can “Count Me In” or sign-up for a specific date and time appointment.

I’ll be there tomorrow at the driving event and hope to share how Ford setup the event Mandalay Bay Casino. So, expect some impressions from me about the new Mustang GT 5.0 if you follow me on Twitter (@cbaccus.)

UPDATE:
Unfortunately I attempted to drive a Mustang GT 5.0 but failed. When I went down for my allotted time someone took another half hour in the car and I was tired of waiting so I decided to come back the next morning, but didn't get a chance then as the morning ended up being fairly busy.

Ford did one other thing I noticed Saturday morning. They decided to use a Promoted Tweet in the #bwe10 Twitter search thread. What this does is anyone following the hashtag #bwe10 (BlogWorld 2010, in case you didn't get the meaning) will see the Promoted Tweet on the top of all Twitter searches for that hashtag. I personally liked this approach since conference attendees are the ones most likely following the hashtag and it gave Ford an easy way to remind event goers that they were holding test drives at BlogWorld.

Full disclosure: I used to work for Ford at their Agency of Record Team Detroit doing Digital Marketing Strategy, but left there three months ago. I was not involved with this event or any of its planning before I left.


ShareThis

Monday, February 22, 2010

Volvo and Chevy Take Very Different Roads



Volvo just wrapped up their very successful virtual road trip where online teams were to “drive” a C30 DRIVe from Sweden to Egypt. Each team member would “pass” the car on to the next participant who lived as close to 1,333 kilometers as possible, the number being the distance the car can drive on one tank. Friends were competing to be first to complete the virtual journey around the world in 80 days.

It was another example of six degrees of separation where teams were formed virtually using a network that extended beyond just the team member’s friends, but further to their friends’ friends. The teams competed to win to have 15,000 Euros donated by Volvo in their name to a wind farm project in Turkey. Not exactly the most exciting prize, however, it is a positive prize for those interested in more altruistic Facebook activities, which are very popular on the site.

A Success

"To be number 17 on the list of most installed Facebook applications and number one among branded is great and more than we ever expected", says Lukas Dohle, Live Communication and Social Media at Volvo Car Corporation in Gothenburg, Sweden. They had over 63,000 teams play the game. Of course, a team could’ve been just one person installing the application and doing nothing with it after the initial install. Even so, the application definitely reached a very broad global audience and lead to some great press coverage too.

What I really like about this example is that it found a way to integrate well within the Facebook community and by doing so it reached a lot of people who might have otherwise never become familiar with Volvo’s C30 product. The charitable element also works very well in the community and I’m sure led to participation from those not really interested in anything about a new car.

Real Butts In Seats Road Trip

"Whither goest thou, America, in thy shiny car in the night?"
- Jack Kerouac, On the Road

Another marketing road trip idea was announced a couple weeks ago from Chevrolet. It isn’t a virtual road trip; instead, Chevy put together 8 teams throughout the U.S. to compete in road trip scavenger hunts as teams travel to the popular South by Southwest (SXSW) music, film and social media event in Austin, Texas.


Named the “See the USA in a Chevrolet: A SXSW Road Trip” -- I’m hoping for a challenge to include Dina Shore or Pat Boone somewhere in the trip -- the teams will compete for social media views through Twitter tweets or other social media comments and views. Chevy has even setup a Posterous website to house the content developed along the way. They’ll also showcase the road trip using a feed on GM’s well-known Fastlane Blog.

This social outreach concept is developed around the idea that if you get enough influencers your marketing idea will develop a buzz around it that will extend beyond just the people participating in the road trip.

GM’s example is reaching out to social media influencers; mostly Public Relations and marketing professionals who have some decent connections on social media sites. Since the participants have significant social followings, the brand is counting on the buzz to build across the participants’ network and further to other networks that will follow along or participate (one form of participation right now is having people suggest what activities the teams should do on the trip.)

The Real Challenge: Relevance Beyond Participants

It will be interesting to see how the Chevy SXSW event develops. The hardest part is creating interest for those not participating in the event. There will be a lot of buzz shared by trash talking and co-promotion across teams, but will those not on the road trip care to share in the conversation?

The connection with the SXSW event should help extend the buzz beyond the teams, since the SXSW event attracts most of the social media elite who might help promote the Chevy road trip and this goodwill should increase interest just because some social media expert is talking about it.

It definitely is a strong event tie-in for a road trip that is meant to gain interest using social media tools and behaviors. Everyone can follow the teams using the hashtag #chevysxsw on Twitter and at the Posterous website Chevy is setting up for when it kicks off the week of March 8. I’ll definitely be following to see if it extends reach beyond just the participating teams.

Conclusion

It would be great to know how much Volvo spent or Chevrolet will spend promoting and implementing these road trips. Reach is definitely an important aspect of the road trip marketing idea. Getting people interested in participating on virtual teams or promoting real teams all add to the word of mouth of the projects and hopefully reach consumers who might never pay attention to a TV ad or online banner.

The important ingredient is making the events relevant to consumers. Volvo did that through a contest where a charitable donation was tied to the goal. The Chevy event will have a more difficult time extending the interest beyond those participating.

Here’s to viral magic whether it’s virtual or real.
“We had finally found the magic land at the end of the road and we never dreamed the extent of the magic."
- Jack Kerouac, On the Road
ShareThis

Monday, February 15, 2010

BMW Spreads Its Olympic Joy, Audi Tries Squashing It



BMW is marketing its largest ever brand awareness campaign during this year’s Winter Olympics. The “Story of Joy” campaign is built off the early foundation first started with the launch of the BMW Z4 campaign.

The ads focus on new products, drivers and one TV spot showcases the compelling BMW Vision EfficientDynamics concept car that debuted last August at the Frankfurt Auto Show. From BMW’s Press Release about the campaign, “Story of Joy” introduces a new creative aesthetic characterized by strong, colorful images often conveying people and their experiences with the subtlest of references to BMW products.”

Brand messages encompass everything from emotional responses about the product line making drivers feel youthful and inspired. The campaign also dips heavily into BMW’s heritage of driver events. It’s the second time in the past two years BMW has highlighted the Southern California Bimmerfest event, which is one of the largest gathering of BMW owners and fans. The last time was in a spot for the last 3-series sedan.

Audi Begins Its Latest Brand Campaign Too

The new brand campaign comes at a time when BMW’s most aggressive competitor Audi is launching its own brand campaign mocking BMW for falling behind Audi in “three straight Car & Driver comparisons.” The Audi spot is entertaining, but the BMW brand ads appeal to those who are advocates and satisfied owners of BMW products.

Showing images of happy owners, enjoying their vehicles is nice feel good marketing, but is it effective? This is a difficult question to answer and depends on what BMW is trying to gain from the spots; sales of course, but I’m sure some positive brand awareness is in the mix of campaign goals too.

The issue is that the ads are forgettable and barely interesting enough to share from a brand enthusiast perspective. Unlike the 3-Series ad from 2008 that brought together a strong emotive response from many BMW brand advocates and fans, the new Olympic spots fall flat giving people little reason to talk about the ads or promote them to their social network.

The Audi ads have a more interesting message; though, I’m personally not much of a fan of mentioning your top competitor in your marketing, since you’re just giving your key competitor free advertising. That said the Audi ads are at least memorable and interesting enough to share. They're definitely not forgettable.

The BMW Joy campaign is pleasant and aligns well with an Olympic games feel good message. It’s just that the ads will probably be lost in the marketing clutter.

BMW Olympic Ads:





BMW's 2008 Summer Olympic Games 3-Series Ad:



Audi's Brand Ads:



ShareThis

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Audi and Infiniti Debut New Vehicles on Facebook


A lot is going on when it’s Auto Show week. With the Los Angeles Auto Show in full swing, automakers were looking for ways to involve those who couldn’t visit the land of swimmin’ pools and movie stars.

Audi and Infiniti decided to bring their reveal events online to the popular social networking site Facebook. The Infiniti event was an online look into the reveal happening in conjunction with the LA Auto Show. The Audi event was held on the opposite coast in Miami with some additional corporate promotion. Both events used the same template construct with a live video feed and Facebook chat.

Audi’s Miami Talk Show

“Since our inception, Audi has embraced progress in the quest to create groundbreaking technologies and deliver new ideas to the road. Just as artists make it a mission to work for the untold future, so does Audi design to be relevant not just today, but for many years to come,” said Rupert Stadler, Chairman of the Board of Management, Audi AG

That statement is representative of how painful it was to watch the Audi A8 reveal on Facebook last Monday evening. Just imagine that language repeated ad nauseam for 30 minutes and you'll understand why the chat participants on Facebook started to get a bit rowdy.

The event started nicely enough with TV and film star Lucy Liu welcoming everyone to the event and sharing how Audi is entrenched in design and why they were making the U.S. debut of the new Audi A8 at the Art Basel Miami Beach.

A welcoming is nice and expected, but then things got a bit weird. Lucy invited several people up to discuss design and the Miami community’s commitment to art. The discussion went on and on and on like a Sergio Marchionne press event. Chat participants started mocking the Miami community, Lucy Liu, and were getting very frustrated with Audi wasting everyone’s time talking about things they didn’t care about. I was personally waiting for an artistic discussion on chiaroscuro and its meaning in Hieronymus Bosch’s “Garden of Earthly Delight”.

Eventually Audi revealed the A8, but it was too much of wait for me personally as I had things to do with my family that evening. My wife’s patience was really being tried and well she wins. I caught the photos of the car on Jalopnik that evening and everything looked pretty good and mostly followed the Sport Back Concept Audi showed last January at the Detroit Auto Show.

Infiniti Shows Us How It’s Done

Last night was the second Facebook vehicle reveal, this time from Infiniti. They showed off some minor changes to the G sedan and were mainly promoting the unveiling of the 2011 Infiniti M.

Maybe Infiniti watched the chat discussion from Audi’s event and decided it was best to keep things on topic. They welcomed everyone sans celebrity, showed off the G sedan, then briefly talked about the key message for the M, and pulled the car cover off the new M. All of this took 16 minutes from start to finish. It was short and sweet.

Conversation at the Infiniti event mainly stayed on topic, because it was respectful of people’s time. Most importantly the presentation was all about the cars. Simple. Effective.

While companies may want to make their online reveal more of an event by having a celebrity host and tying it in with some philanthropic effort, it is best to keep the event to the reason why people came. Watching something like this on the web is not the same as being trapped in a seat at a Miami auditorium. Internet users can come and go very easily. Plus they didn't get any hors d'uvres or have an incentive to stay for a picture with a Charlie's Angel.
ShareThis

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

New York Times Gives Nissan LEAF Viral Push


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

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

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

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

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

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

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Is a Station Wagon Desirable If You Call It a Sportback?


Smaller brands lack the big budgets to develop creative-rich launch web site experiences, but this can be a good thing. There’s an efficiency that happens when constrained and that can evolve into some clever, effective content that a large budget, heavy Flash site may lose in all its clever transitions.

Mitsubishi’s team put together a few clever ways to engage site visitors with the launch site for the new Mitsubishi Lancer Sportback. The primary message for the vehicle is its versatility. To communicate what it can hold, site visitors can drop various “items” into the cargo area. You can move a bike, soccer ball, bulldog, or even attempt a pachyderm if you dare to see what can fit in 52.7 cubic feet. It’s a simple way to communicate versatility. The only issue is that the items themselves fail to communicate what space they are taking up. It might have been a bit more interesting to calculate down the amount of space dynamically showing cubic space left as items drop-in. It still does add some simple engagement that lets the user play around.

There are some nice touches that message the vehicle in some unusual places. For example, the site’s 360 has rotating messaging when you click different angles to view. Some messages promote the engine or stereo system while other messages communicate to the target consumer with “Hello sexy! Lancer Sportback’s European styling makes it stand out on any road.” Cheesy, sure but it also helps put a little fun into something as boring as looking at a side profile of a hatchback.

One of the disappointing things about constrained budgets is the minimal use of product feature communication using video or CGI demonstration. There are a lot of advanced features on the Lancer like RALLIART, their advanced all-wheel-drive system that isn’t effectively communicated in a small paragraph of copy and could’ve benefited from some instructional, detailed video.

The vehicle is being promoted jointly with a VANS shoes Los Angeles skateboarding event showing that Mitsubishi is trying to attract a young, active audience. As a former skateboarder, I would’ve loved a Lancer Sportback, if such a car existed and I wasn’t broke in 1986.

Overall the launch site provides some effective content and tries to find low-cost ways to effectively communicate the benefits of the Lancer Sportback to potential buyers.
ShareThis

Friday, April 17, 2009

Volvo's YouTube Ad Integrates Twitter Live Feed


Volvo is the latest brand to integrate Twitter into their online media campaign. They did a highly visible execution that allowed people to Twitter Volvo that showed the Twitter feed in their YouTube homepage ad. They also set up a way for people at the NY Auto Show event to Twitter their immediate feedback after seeing the car.

Today, Volvo is sharing on Twitter that “[they’ve] been overwhelmed by the response to our YouTube ad from Wed.” A lot of the overwhelming response is due to coverage in the media space where several marketing Twitter users have inundated Volvo with requests to see the ad they missed last Wednesday. Fortunately, Volvo created a mirror website showcasing their ad at http://www.thevolvotwitterad.com/.

I did not catch the ad on its live day, so it is unclear to me if the Live Twitter feed was filtered before appearing on the YouTube ad. After watching the recent Skittles experiment, that made the Skittles homepage their Twitter profile page, the Volvo feed talked just about the car and the Volvo execution. It didn’t turn into comments like “Hitler loves Skittles” or similar nonsense Skittles had to deal with before moving their homepage to their Facebook fan page. I’d be surprised if Volvo didn’t moderate comments before they appeared on the YouTube advertisement.

Overall the Volvo YouTube ad is an excellent integration of their live event at the New York Auto Show and allowing Twitter users to share their comments too. It gave the ad an interesting appeal from an innovative perspective and, more importantly, from a credibility perspective. Why credibility? After looking at some of the Twitter comments, many people shared their personal experience with the Volvo at the NY event. This, of course, is much stronger than Volvo telling you in an ad that their City Safety system is great or their interior is luxurious.

Here are examples from the Twitter user comments:

“City Safety should be on every car!”
“It was mean son. It officially stops. The car STOPPED. I’m in!”
“I saw the commercials & wondered how it worked. It was cool.”
“The car is cool inside.”

More information about the execution can be found at ClickZ.com.
ShareThis

Sunday, December 21, 2008

I Guess the Idea Sounded Better on a PowerPoint


Hilo Chevrolet, of Hawaii, decided to roll-over their Asian competitors Honda and Hyundai by throwing monster truck wheels on a Chevy Suburban as a way to crush the competition. Unfortunately, the demonstration backfired when the Suburban blew a hydraulic hose and leaked vital fluid while the Honda remained waiting for more.

This just a week after a Ford dealer in South Carolina insulted Asians with his rant about Japanese cars being "Rice Ready, Not Road Ready." I get the not road worthy part, but what the hell does "Rice Ready" mean? It's another example of a gregarious dealer trying to show his triumphant patriotism in an idiotic manner.

With all of the fear and worry mounting from a month of bad Big Three press and questions surrounding a Bailout (that thank heavens finally came through), it is of little surprise that local marketing departments have lost their minds. The problem is neither of these two examples help the U.S. auto cause and, at worse, backfire. American cars have a poor history that many of us remember who owned 1970s and 1980s models. Repairing the reputations has been a tough road, but the good news is that quality issues have lessened dramatically, high safety ratings are not exclusively denominated by any country, and style is improving.

I'm personally excited to see such cars as the Pontiac G8, the 2010 Ford Fusion, the new Mustang, and great little roadsters like the Saturn Sky and Pontiac Solstice. These are all products I would love to have in my garage and are far more fun and interesting than a bland Toyota Camry or Honda Accord (though both are fine cars.)

It's just sad that some dealerships are losing their minds and making their brands look as bad as the all the complainers against them. What the U.S. auto manufacturers need is more myth busting around poor quality and less patriotic flag waving. People who do not work for a brand buy a car because it is the right choice for their needs and expanding some minds by showing American brands are worth looking at, because it's not 1985 anymore, is a good thing and good for a healthy competitive marketplace. So please park the monster truck and no more name calling.
ShareThis