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Friday, November 26, 2010

GM's We All Fall Down Imagery Doesn't Fit



General Motors gave thanks this holiday week to the millions of taxpayers who helped bail them out last year. The timing of the ad is at least better than Chrysler's failed attempt at thanks in 2009 when they thanked people using a full page advertisement in the Wall Street Journal and USA Today right after they received the bailout money. At least, GM had the sense to wait for a thank you the week after they went public with their IPO and return to investor financing.

I see two desired outcomes GM wants from this particular ad. One to energize people who like the brand. Second is to get people to see GM has a fighter that didn't just lay-down after it got its money. They want people who have lost faith in GM to know the brand is getting up, not giving up and wants to be seen as a survivor and champion.

The imagery used in the ad is all about not giving up. It shows several historical and socially recognizable clips when it looked over, but the people in the ad did not give up and found the strength to win.

The biggest criticism I can see from the imagery used is that all if it showcases individuals who got back up using their own freewill and not through a helping hand. No one gave the boxer a 5-hour energy drink, shoulder massage and pep talk to rise up from the mat. Sure someone helped Evel Knievel up from his accident but he got back on the bike himself and kept going.

The Henry S. Truman image makes no sense. That was just the Chicago Tribune showing how low their opinion was of Truman. There was no falling down, just miscalculation.

Perhaps Popeye is the most relevant image as he gets his boost from an outside source - spinach. But unlike Wimpy, Popeye probably didn't have to borrow the money today with the promise of paying it back Tuesday. Cynics might think Wimpy was the better image to use..?

It would be interesting to see how they tested this ad. Did GM bring in people upset with the bailout or did they focus test against people open to seeing GM as independent again. My guess is more the latter. Perhaps it has a chance of getting people 'on the fence' to see GM as a fighter and survivor.

Personally, I think they are fighting the good fight. GM has not laid down and they are trying hard to win back public opinion. Unfortunately, this ad falls down in its ability to recycle history as a way to repair GM's image. Fortunately, their new products are giving them a true fighting chance.



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Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Ford Enters the Sarcastic Electronic Greeting Card Industry



If you are not familiar with someecards.com, checkout the site now. It's a brilliant site that takes a sarcastic stab at the greeting card industry.

Ford has become the first automotive company to sponsor someecards eCards. The Fiesta launch gives Ford a youth oriented product where it can have some fun with its media communications. Two eCards are now available on the someecards.com site that feature automotive messaging along with a "Sponsored by 2011 Ford Fiesta" label. It's a playful way to have some fun with the product and tap into the existing viral success of the someecards website.

The Ford Fiesta sponsored eCards are accompanied by a couple banner advertisements from the Fiesta campaign to help strengthen the alignment with the vehicle's marketing goals to drive consumers to the FordVehicles.com shopping site.
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Monday, November 8, 2010

Toyota Highlander Takes a Shot at Frugality



Jalopnik summed it up pretty well yesterday when they posted an article entitled "The Toyota Highlander Is Breeding Assholes" about the new ad campaign for the Highlander. It's a bit harsh, but it gets to the point and made me wonder if right now is the best time to be promoting obnoxious, stuck up children who look down on others in older cars.

The premise of the ad is that a child does not want their parents picking them up from school in an old station wagon. It's embarrassing when a dad pulls up in a Buick Roadmaster while the Toyota family's child has a shiny new Highlander SUV to brag about.

What Toyota forgets is that a Buick Roadmaster can be very cool. In fact, really cool in a fun car enthusiast way; hence, the headline slam from Jalopnik.


What bothers me most about the ad is its timing.

At time when frugal spending is in vogue, it is a bit counterproductive to insult families who are being sensible driving used, most likely paid off, cars. Though, I'm not surprised a car company is promoting buying a new car. Increasing used car sales or promoting keeping a car that is a decade plus old isn't good for business. Insulting frugal families isn't good marketing either.


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Toyota Wants Your Ideas with a Twist



When I first caught the news of Toyota launching a new site called "Ideas for Good", I thought it was your typical request for consumer ideas much like My Starbucks Idea or Ford's Your Ideas. However, Toyota is taking an unusual, though complicated, twist on the concept.

Toyota wants people to generate ideas from a handful of their technologies. If you are not familiar with Toyota's technologies that's okay as they provide links to details. For example get to know more about T.H.U.M.S.:

T.H.U.M.S. (Total HUman Model for Safety) is an advanced injury-simulation software that measures more than the conventional crash test dummy can.

It's an interesting approach. Here is a technology developed by Toyota now tell us what we should do with it beyond its original automotive application. So far there were no ideas posted on the site, but that probably has more to do with today being the first day of promoting the site.

Toyota is promoting the ideas site using television ads which is also a different route than Ford, Starbucks and BestBuy who kept their idea sites to digital promotional channels, not TV.




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Sunday, November 7, 2010

Automotive Facebook Fans by Brand: October 2010



BMW continues to rack up Facebook fans quickly. They were near 3 million fans at the end of October and a now over 3 million as of early November. What’s interesting isn’t BMW’s continued rapid growth nor is it Audi following close behind; instead, what’s interesting is another German luxury marquee has decided to play the Facebook fan game. Mercedes-Benz grew an astounding 65% in October and surpassed their own first million-fan milestone.

This month Lexus and Toyota both redid their profile images to include additional messaging. Lexus is cross-promoting their Twitter and YouTube accounts while Toyota takes a page from Dunkin Donuts, but with their own twist by featuring a fan’s vehicle. Toyota is also promoting a new shopping application for mobile phones called mLot.

Some brands kept up their brand page marketing as Cadillac continued to run reachblock ad units featuring their new Cadillac CTS Coupe that drove fans to the main Cadillac fan page. Volkswagen also promoted their brand fan page. The VW ad units featured the new Jetta that launched last month. What was interesting is that VW used to promote vehicles and bring people to their vehicle fan pages, not the main VW fan page. Seems they are making a change and focusing on the main fan page, not surprising as most of the action is on brand pages not vehicle pages.


Also interesting is quite a high number of fan pages seeing 20% plus growth in one month. Several of the brands didn’t seem to have ad units running in October yet they experienced some rapid growth typical of buying media.




Download the Excel file: Facebook Auto Fan File (October 2010)


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