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Showing posts with label upper funnel. Show all posts
Showing posts with label upper funnel. Show all posts

Thursday, November 6, 2008

When Your "Best Side" Is Under the Hood... You're Ugly


There have been numerous debates about how to properly advertise a car. Some of the most infamous include Infiniti's debut campaign that never showed a vehicle or when Range Rover took a "risk" showing a vehicle caked with mud, at a time when every vehicle was always shown as if it just rolled off the showroom. But I have never seen an advertisement that shows only the engine cover as its beauty shot. Enter the Kia Sorento. While reading the NY Times this evening, I noticed a rather puzzling shot of an engine block cover to the right of the article. Having removed an engine cover or two in my past, I knew what it was. But I doubt most people do, since very few of us open the hood of our cars.

There is no call to action or no message surrounding the engine cover image. Instead, just a price and the vehicle's name. I wonder if many people would even know it was an advertisement for a car? On rollover, a message about the vehicle's horsepower is given. But is this for a car, truck, SUV, or crossover??? I doubt the click through rate on this ad is very high. It is being advertised in an upper funnel spot, outside of an automotive context, with an image that resembles the chest plate of some futuristic robot or some really expensive lawn mower.

When advertising outside of an in-market automotive context, it is best to engage and interest the consumer, but to do so in a way that communicates who you are or gets them interested in what you are saying. A stale image of an engine cover with no engaging copy is the worst thing you can do. Kia has a compelling, low-price 5 passenger SUV in the Sorento that could be much better communicated to a large audience. It's a value product in an financially conscious time, so sell it on it's merits as a good buy without giving anything up (like moving to a small car for example.) Performance is not the Sorento's segment advantage or the care of most 5-passenger SUV consumers: value, versatility, and roominess are. So promote it in a way that interests a larger audience.

Maybe when the Kia Soul gets released will Kia finally show a vehicle from outside its engine bay.
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Monday, October 20, 2008

Non-Automotive Video Content from Lexus L/Studio


What makes auto manufacturers think they make great film studios? I think all of this goes back to BMW Films and their well-received series from several years ago. Unfortunately, Lexus has decided to throw their hat in with L/Studio, a new web experience that features several unique webisodes and documentaries that is “an eclectic collection of unique perspectives meant to inspire you… and to help you innovate in your own way.”

Now when I think about innovation I don’t think smarmy, poorly written comedy webisodes staring Lisa Kudrow (of Phoebe from Friends fame.) Nor do I think about brief documentaries about high-heeled shoes, so it isn’t clear what inspires innovation from the content on L/Studio. There is one video called “The Long Run” that covers the conditioning of an ultra marathon runner but this is really more about motivation than it is about innovation. If inspiring innovation was really their cue, the documentaries provided by Acura on the Acura Advance campaign are probably more inline with Lexus’ goal. At least with the Acura site, one gets a glimpse into the lives of truly innovative people who are impacting our world and not just some trite attempt at comedy.

Besides content not really fitting the objectives set by Lexus, whom is this supposed to appeal to? Since this is a luxury brand, it must be trying to appeal to luxury buyers and content like the baby boomer Ray Manzarek from The Doors segments or the high-heel documentary certainly reach an older more established consumer. The high-heel documentary that is currently being run as an online media spot on YouTube with the message of “The Height of Obsession” and a pair of black stiletto heels appeals to any woman I suppose, considering I have yet to meet a woman who isn’t into shoes, but once consumers get to L/Studio do they ever go back?

Repeat visits is something Lexus is expecting since there is a whole registration process one can do where you can add friends from L/Studio’s current user community, recommend videos, or mark some as favorites. This part of the site is the most baffling. Am I really going to have any social network here? Most likely not. I found only one user of the site who made a recommendation of a video after looking at about 20 random profiles using the “Find a user” tool. A social community online is usually an expression of your offline world, you “friend” people you know and with some minor exceptions you reach beyond your real world social networks. The lack of any real networking on L/Studio is really not surprising since the ‘invite a friend’ capability is hard to find on the site and inviting friends to sites is something people rarely do. And if L/Studio is all about attracting a 30-40 something luxury consumers, inviting friends and engaging in a social network on an automotive funded video site with limited content is even more highly unlikely.

So, what should Lexus have done with all of this content? They at least should’ve made the video content more viral by allowing viewers to post the videos within social networking sites instead of assuming people would become part of a L/Studio community and invite all their friends. The video content should’ve also been posted on YouTube to get the content into a place where video is most expected to be on the web. So, extending content into more likely environments instead of driving consumers to a campaign site with an unknown, vague brand like L/Studio seems futile.

I also think the mission of L/Studio to “inspire innovation” is really lost by the content that was developed for the site. The content is just all over the place and really there is no common thread or anything that really inspires one. Most of it is contrived, sitcom-like content that looked like a way to keep writers busy during the 2007-08 writers strike and the documentaries really are not that captivating, and I’m a huge fan of documentary film. So content alignment to the goals of the site really needs to be addressed. Is it entertainment? Is it motivation? Is it for musicians? What is it? It isn’t clear and unfortunately leads to a site with no defined audience, which like most sites with undefined audiences will live a brief life since it will fail to gain a vibrant audience.

<Visit Lexus L Studio>
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