Friday, December 24, 2010

Would You Pickup this Hitchhiker in Your Benz?

I love the truly bizarre marketing ideas. One of favorites was last year's An American Werewolf in Yaris. It has been replaced by an even stranger idea - this one from a Berlin street artist and photographer Stefan Gbureck for Mercedes-Benz. It's called "Tramp a Benz", and for those lacking a German to English dictionary "tramp" is basically German for "hitchhiking."

The idea comes from the German advertising agency Jung von Matt. The travels of street artist Gbureck are captured digitally via a blog and Facebook fan page, and what blog doesn't have a Facebook page these days - except my blog.

I wonder how this would translate in America. I'm guessing only hitching rides with Benz drivers would involve a lot of walking and wondering if hitching a ride with a Chrysler when Mercedes owned them would count.

The only time I ever picked up a hitchhiker was in high school at 16 when I saw two older girls (probably 18-20.) I cruised up in my '76 Chevy Vega and they giggled a lot at me, but fortunately didn't kill me and throw my body in a vacant lot which is pretty close to what my mom said would happen if I picked up a hitchhiker again.


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.


Luxury Site Offers Cheap 2011 VW Jettas

Luxury retail discount site Gilt is selling a few 2011 Volkswagen Jettas for the low, low price of $5,995. That's right, as part of the launch of the new Jetta, VW partnered with the luxury online retailer to help gain some awareness with the stylish Gilt customer base.

If you don't know what Gilt is here is some information from their website: "Gilt Groupe provides invitation-only access to highly coveted products and experiences at insider prices." Basically, the site (and new mobile application) offer discounted clothing, home goods, travel and its first ever car for sale. Brands are high-end labels - think Neiman Marcus or Saks Fifth Avenue customers on a budget.

The purchase experience is very similar to American Express when they offered a BMW Z4 for $5k in 2004 during their My Life My Card promotion. Like the American Express offer, the VW sale requires some quick clicking since only 1 lucky person a day for 3 days will get the deeply discounted price.

Overall, it's not a bad way to generate some awareness for a new car launch beyond a typical media buy. Plus the Gilt Group's exclusive audience (yes, I've been a member for a few years now) fits the VW Jetta target enough to warrant interest whether the Jetta shopper is looking for himself or one of their kids.


Tuesday, December 7, 2010

BMW Takes Branding to a Creepy Level

This is either really cool or kind of creepy. I'm in the latter group, but you have to give BMW props for taking cinema advertising to a new and rather interesting space.

The technique used is similar to when one looks straight at the sun and then closes their eyes. Once eyes are closed, an image of the sun is captured as an afterimage. Don't believe it? Try it when the summer comes out in six months or look it up on Wikipedia (remember that site? The one that now sounds like WikiLeaks.)

BMW took the afterimage effect to a new place where they quickly flashed a bright light during an in cinema commercial and then the commercial asks the audience to close its eyes. Those who closed their eyes saw the afterimage of "BMW". It's a pretty cool idea; though, it isn't something that is easily portable as the projection of the logo requires a full installation behind the movie theater's screen. So scale is an issue.

Fortunately, we can all enjoy the concept via YouTube even if YouTube is unable to burn the BMW letters into our eyeballs. Maybe someday...