Saturday, December 31, 2011

Chevy's Virtual Arcade of Good Times

As I predicted back when Hyundai followed the latest trend in outdoor installation marketing, Chevy took their projection marketing shot with a cool claw game to Hollywood Boulevard's Roosevelt Hotel to promote the Chevy Spark.

This installation used projection imagery but with an added user participation twist.  People could interact with the projection using a large Chevy logo joystick and see if they could grab a Spark.  It is a great play on the projection concept since it combines the awe of projection marketing, which is relatively new, with the fun of playing a game right on the street for all to see.

I have to admit, I would've loved a try at Chevy's Claw Game since I never win at the arcade version and here I could play without the constant loss of quarters and for a free chance to win a car.

Gaming is a large part of the Chevy Spark's introduction. If you missed your chance to play claw, there is a site called that features all kinds of personal stunts people can submit for a chance to also win a car. 


Thursday, December 29, 2011

Chevy Goes Doritos

It appears Chevy is doing a version of Doritos Crash The Superbowl contest where video contestants can enter their 30 second spots for a chance to win an opportunity to be part of the marketing industry's favorite game - Ad Bowl. Unfortunately for the Chevy contestants the top prize is $10,000, not the potential for $1 million like the orange chip maker is doing; though, the million dollars is awarded only if the commercial "is awarded one of the top 3 spots (including ties) according to the USA TODAY Ad Meter rankings.

The Doritos campaign to win a commercial during the Super Bowl has been going on since 2007.  This is Chevy's first year.  Doritos launched their original campaign on YouTube while Chevy has decided to go with MSN's website for the hosting of their Chevrolet Route 66 contest.

Chevrolet coordinated film submissions with MoFilm, a crowdsource video site that caters to film students and pro-am video producers who can enter contests from a variety of top brands across the world.  MoFilm and Chevrolet received over 200 video submissions from the MoFilm site and then curated that list to 30 top finalists that people can vote and share from the MSN website.

It makes sense doing the voting from the MSN site, since MoFilm doesn't get the large general market traffic like MSN or a YouTube does.  Of course, if Chevy continues this contest for multiple years perhaps it too can have the elaborate experience Doritos now has with

Currently an ad called "Keys" featuring various keys and what they may or may not go to is leading. It feels very much like something Chevy's own ad agency could have created for the current Chevy Runs Deep campaign. Of course one wonders why Chevy is even doing a crowdsourced commercial?  Isn't this idea a bit dated and it feels more copycat than original after years of UGC ad contests. Perhaps Chevy's "happy with them in general" agency Goodby Silverstein & Partners issues go deeper than just some lack of "consistency"?

I'm personally voting for "Miss Van Der Volt!" It's so odd it is endearing and well a certain madman thinks it's worthy of a vote.


Monday, December 26, 2011

Fiat Sexes Up American Automotive Marketing

For the most part American automotive advertising has lost its sex appeal, fortunately or unfortunately the Italians have arrived with Fiat and are bringing back patent-leather clad models like Natasha Poly in the new Fiat Gucci print ads and with a sexually infused TV ad featuring Romanian model Catrinel Menghia.

I personally ran across the Gucci print ad at a hair salon looking through Details magazine. It certainly is a fitting ad placement and Natasha Poly definitely catches ones' interest immediately and well isn't getting noticed a good initial reaction? Of course just getting noticed only benefits the marketing if the reaction is positive.

Depending on your point-of-view, a top model leaning seductively across a car can be good or bad. The good is obvious when tastefully done. The bad however is a bit more complex. Honestly, cars with scantily clad women conjure up Snap-On Tool calendars more than tasteful advertising. However, I think Fiat gets away with this because...well because they are Italian. You kind of expect it. I'm doubtful someone like Ford or Nissan could pull this off.

My favorite quote from the Gucci ad creators is "Poly embodies the essence of travelling in style and living life at full speed." Okay, but doesn't 'life at full speed' sound a bit like fast cars, fast women?

The other ad featuring the Abarth is quite possibly my favorite commercial of 2011. It's sexy, fun, and demonstrates the passion many of us feel when we see a car that inspires automotive lust or what an old high school friend of mine once deemed as an "auto orgasm."

Whatever you personally feel about the launch of Fiat in the US, it definitely is bringing sexy back to American automotive advertising. One wonders if others will follow or will this just be something those Italians do? Time will tell.


Friday, December 23, 2011

The Germans Wish You a Happy Holidays

Everyone is doing their take on the Holiday celebration. While Lexus ties giant red bows on IS sedans, the German car companies are celebrating the holidays in a variety of ways. Volkswagen had some fun with their Facebook fans asking them to share their favorite VW-Themed Holiday photo.

 BMW is having fun featuring the new M5 that is on its way to the US soon. They decided to create "The Fastest Christmas Card in the World" where they sit an illustrator next to performance driver Urs Inauen, or "swiss stuntman" as his website refers to him.

The ad is a great example of appealing to your target audience with some custom web content. It's a simple idea: new M5 + race track + holiday = a ridiculous mess.

Mercedes-Benz created a 17 red car salute celebrating Christmas in their latest ad with an all red display for the holiday. Unfortunately, they don't make a red G550 so they shared the red peel coat paint job the marketing team needed to complete the red lineup. The video shows the excitement that goes into painting a SUV. If you don't have time to watch the video just imagine 10 seconds of Pimp My Ride without 40 speakers and gobs of fiberglass.

Audi decided to mock holiday tradition this year with its ad featuring boomer parents taking their son's new Audi A6 for a joy ride right as he arrives home.

 It's a bit dull and lacks some of the fun of recent Audi ads, but this critique seems a bit harsh though I do get the blogger's point. Christmas is about family, not superficial opulence. It is a luxury car ad so opulence is expected.

What are some of your favorite holiday ads from the automotive industry, past or present?

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Autoweek Launches Car Show at Historic Detroit Garage

I really like the work Autoweek is doing upping its content game on digital and now on TV with a new show Autoweek's Vinsetta Garage that launches January 3rd at 8:30pm EST on the Velocity network (formerly Discovery HD Theater.)

The new show features Courtney Hansen from TLC's Overhaulin' and several other auto related shows and appearances. I had a chance to meet Courtney briefly at The Woodward Dream Cruise last summer in Detroit and spend sometime at the gutted out Vinsetta Garage where Autoweek hosted a Dream Cruise party that day.

The Garage is an automotive icon. For years, I'd drive down Woodward Avenue always looking to see what classic cars would be in the lot. Being a former 1965 Mustang owner, I'd always perk up when a classic Mustang or classic roadster (other love) was there.

The Vinsetta Garage owner sold it early this year. It is the oldest garage west of the Mississippi and many were wondering what would become of the place. That's when Autoweek's Curt Catallo and Crain Communications'  KC Crain bought the garage to turn it into a restaurant.

I'm not sure what's going on with the restaurant news that broke in April, but for now Autoweek will be hosting their new show Vinsetta Garage from the place that shares the show's name.

It's great to see a host of automotive shows arrive recently including Adam Carolla's Car Show and BBC's Top Gear America. After years of only having Motorweek on PBS, it is refreshing to see some more enthusiast focused shows.

Find out more on the Vinsetta Garage website or checkout this teaser video.

In full disclosure, I did get a free burger and beer at Woodward Dream Cruise earlier this year. Is that covered under FCC Blogger Disclosure rules? Edible swag counts I suppose. ;)

Monday, December 12, 2011

Ford Ad Enters the 2012 Presidential Primary (Sort Of)

I can't recall ever seeing an automotive ad get the political campaign treatment, but there is always a first.  Last week Ron Paul's campaign decided to use the same visual and audio style of the current Ford F-150 truck campaign.

Unfortunately, Ron Paul apparently didn't pony up the bucks or got turned down by Dennis Leary who does the voiceover for the F-150 ads.  That aside the Ron Paul ad is definitely borrowing heavily from the Ford ads.

Take a look.  Here's one of the F-150 ads:

Here's Ron Paul's ad:

And as if that wasn't enough, here is Conan O'Brien mocking the Ron Paul ad:

If only Ford would throw in a rusty pipe, I might consider a F-150...


Sunday, November 27, 2011

Badge Me! Ford Enables Online Pride

Ford recently launched a new social media badge program.  A what? Technically they are called "Online Badges" according to Ford's Facebook page.  The badges are images that Ford fans can use to identify themselves with Ford products, history, personal connection, or affinity for the brand. 

People select badges where they can download the badge image which can be used as a Facebook profile image, this is pretty normal behavior from what I've seen the past few weeks, or one can share their badge by posting to a major social network like Facebook, Twitter, and even Google+.

Scott Monty, Ford's Head of Social Media, recently shared on The Bean Cast marketing podcast that the current badge program is just the first phase of a larger effort. 

The larger effort becomes apparent after selecting a badge where users are asked to join Ford Social. Access provides the following according to the Facebook application: "you'll get exclusive insider goods: access to contests, games, vehicle reveals and way more."

So what is Ford Social?  At first it is a redesign of the former Ford Story website, but that's just part of the change.  According to a post on the site:
Ford Social isn’t just a new name and a new look. It’s an innovative program that will cross all kinds of platforms, online and offline. In short, we’re on a mission to celebrate the people who love Ford.

Back to the badges.

I just want to know where is the "I Drove One" badge? Fortunately, Ford thought of that angle too. When clicking on a badge you can select whether you currently own one or not; though, clicking no doesn't really mean you were previous owner, but rather is an opportunity for them to sell you on becoming an owner. Take for instance clicking "no" on "Own one?" on the Fusion badge. It tells you, "You want to know the cure to this so-called 'sedan envy?' It’s called DEALERSHIP."

Okay, not exactly the most compelling call to action ever, but certainly one way to say here's how to own one.


Friday, November 18, 2011

Lincoln MKS I'll Never Forget the Memories We Shared

MKS was my first product launch when I joined Team Detroit back in 2007. It's been 4 years since we all worked diligently to launch the Lincoln MKS reveal way back then. Seeing a banner ad promoting the MKS today caused me to reflect on how monumental that project was.

The MKS back then was the beginning of the new design direction and Lincoln's first step away from its Reach Higher brand campaign.

Today's Lincoln MKS reveal shows a car that's evolved, gracefully. The new design looks a bit more elegant, a bit more aggressive - particularly the hood, and loaded with more technology. It's a nice refresh.

Some changes are happening since 2007 with digital marketing. Lincoln now has a Facebook and YouTube icon on the new microsite, including a large tile on the bottom right inviting people to "Like Lincoln MKS on Facebook."

Social is definitely a part of the equation. The rest of the content is typical reveal fare: large beauty shots, information about new features, 360 views, and several video clips explaining key changes to the car.


Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Chevy Is Featured in WSJ Klout Story

Chevrolet gets some attention in the Wall Street Journal's video showcasing several brands using the online influencer ranking tool Klout. Chevy did a Klout Perk earlier this year giving some people in social media a few weekend with a Volt.

Unfortunately, the video doesn't share any results of what comes from participating in a Klout Perk and if that truly leads to any goals a company has when going this route in social media. In other words, did someone tweeting about the Volt, influence purchase or increase awareness in a way that was worth giving the car to said influencer for a few days?

If you are interested in improving your own personal score, you might be interested in a blog dedicated solely to that activity and possibly you too can get a car for the weekend or some cooking tongs from Bravo simply for having a high score.


Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Jennifer Lopez Is this Generation's Celine Dion

It's football season and that means my time watching  automotive ads on TV has taken a dramatic shift upwards. One of the more frequent ads that come across the screen is the Fiat 500 spot featuring Jennifer Lopez. It features her song "Papi" with a storyline of every male in the city comes chasing after Jennifer as she drives a pearl white 500 with cuts of copy on black screen with white lettering reading:

Like the car?
Go online
Like JLO?
Get in line

At this point Jennifer is lifted out of the car's roof and starts dancing with all of the men laying down in the street.  Why are they laying down? I don't know. Exhaustion after chasing a car? Possibly blown away by her hip shaking dance moves?

All of this dancing and celebrity awe reminds of a time past when Celine Dion was the female musician of choice for the Chrsyler brands. She promoted the Chrysler Lebaron and Plymouth Laser and later the Sebring, Town & Country, Crossfire and the rest of the Chrysler portfolio.

With that said, I'm looking forward to seeing more JLO. Perhaps she can takeover where Eminem left off and promote some Chrysler cars too.


Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Chevy Blurs the Line Between EV and Gas

The Chevy Volt has been out for awhile now and unfortunately Chevy is losing the sales battle against the Nissan LEAF.  Sales are a bit slow for the Volt and some of that may come from the difficult positioning challenge the marketing team has had marketing an electric vehicle that still can take gas, but isn't a hybrid.

In their latest campaign, part of the Chevy Runs Deep brand campaign, the Volt team has some fun with the confusion the car's power sources cause. "Whoa, what are you doing? Thought these were electric," exclaims a gas station customer confused by the Volt owner going to pump gas into an "electric" car.

I had a Volt for eight days in early July.  There is nothing confusing about it, but there are some things a lot of people didn't understand about the car I was driving. The Volt's electric engine gets about 38-43 miles on a full charge.  This pales in comparison to the 100 mile (most say it's an 80 mile) range the Nissan gets.  Fortunately, I have a short commute of only 11 miles each way to work so the 40 mile range was perfect.

Also a bit confusing is the sophisticated display that informs you what your fuel economy is.  It bounced from 250+ mpg to 52 mpg during my eight days of driving.  The vehicle's "lifetime" fuel economy was 56 mpg. Of course this was a media car so it really wasn't my lifetime mileage.

My longest day of driving came on a Saturday when we drove from one part of town (Mesquite, TX) to the opposite part of town (Grapevine, TX) racking up 78 miles that day. In a LEAF we might of decided to skip a trip to Grapevine and save it for another day in case we pushed the car too much to its battery limits.  The Volt however just cleanly transitioned from electric to gas mode with only the display sharing what was going on.

It's a difficult message for Chevy's marketing team to get across and being in the car is the real test of what driving a Volt feels like.  I have to confess I really did love it and do get a bit jealous now when I see one on the road.

Power modes aside, the car had an impressive interior and I was really in love with the seats and our twin 5 year old boys loved the room in the back.

The Volt really impresses. It's not a cheap car, but cutting edge first generation technology is rarely affordable. Hopefully, simplifying the complexity of the Volt to the masses will attract more buyers.

Disclosure: I did receive the Chevy Volt for review purposes. I was given the car for eight days at no cost to me, though I did pay for gas and electricity during the time I tested it.  Opinions here are my own.


Saturday, October 1, 2011

Automotive Facebook Fans by Brand: September 2011

 September was a fairly quiet month with only a few decent bumps in fan growth. I'm also seeing a lot less automotive fan driven ads from automotive brands. That's not to say the OEMs are not advertising on Facebook, it's just their ads are driving to the brand's website instead of a Facebook fan page.  Perhaps we are seeing a move away from the importance of fan growth to drive to transaction or consideration at a brand website that hosts content relevant to purchase.

It's been awhile since we've seen a brand lose fans in the span of a month. In fact, the only time it's happened since tracking this data in April 2009 is when Infiniti had lost fans due to their over promotion of a circ de soleil event they did one month where their sponsorship team posted too many photos of acrobats to the annoyance of its fans.  This September Kia dropped 8%, the largest negative drop we've seen in one month. There is nothing blatantly apparent why they had a negative fan growth, perhaps it's due to their younger audience who may have fanned the page due to their hamster Soul campaign only to unfan later once the interest waned?

Mercedes Benz is driving consumers to a social campaign they are running on Facebook. The C-Coupe Your Week contest will give 10 of its Facebook fans a C-Coupe to drive around for a week. Fans will also be featured on the Facebook page and given $2,000 and camera equipment to capture their week. Contestants must complete a form and upload a video by October 14. 

Subaru's 25% increase in fans for September was the largest gain. Their push was most likely driven by their charitable campaign Share the Love Charities where fans voted on several organizations resulting in Make A Wish as the winning charity for the Facebook fans. People who purchase a car between November 19 and January 3 get to choose where to allocate $250 to one of five organizations. The campaign resulted in 183,000 likes demonstrating fans responded positively to the effort. 

Finally in my evaluation of this month's fan growth several fan pages operated outside of a secured connection causing Facebook tab experiences unavaiable if a user has security settings active (use of https.) Odd because this is a fairly easy situation to get around with a good tab development team.  


Friday, September 30, 2011

They're All a Little Different Just Like You

A while back Toyota asked its Facebook fans and others on the web what to call the new line of Prius cars. They finally launched their first TV spots featuring the variety of cars available in the Prius lineup under the tag Toyota: Prius Goes Plural.

The new spot called "People Person" is quite interesting with a man getting ready for work built out of of several people. I say "interesting" because the ad is visually unique and catches your eye with its bright colors, light charming music, and you wonder what the man built out of men and women is doing. It's this creative interruption that makes the ad work. 

Toyota ends the spot with a line, "they're all a little different just like you." The "man" separates and people scatter to each of the different Prius cars showcasing the variety for different needs based on size and energy source. It's also the first time we get to see the Prius plug-in.

It's some great work from Saatchi & Saatchi. You can also see how the ad was made.


Sunday, September 11, 2011

Automotive Brands Commemorating 9/11 on Facebook

I was curious what messages brands were putting out there today regarding the 10th Anniversary of 9/11.  Only 15% of the 45 automotive Facebook pages I reviewed marked the day with a somber, respectful message.

The good news is that I only caught one minor spat in comments on the Mercedes Benz USA fan page where one fan said it was "an inside job."  Other than that, people responded with positive appreciation or their own memory.

I definitely had a certain lens on when looking at each of the brand pages. It was just a little odd seeing the most current post promoting a new car, handbags at NY Fashion Week, or something unrelated.  Of course there is the flip-side argument where brands should just leave the topic alone and let individuals have the conversation in social media. 

Fortunately, the seven brands that did mention 9/11 did so with respect. There was only one slip-up by Acura who had a nice simple message, but then added a link to their home page which had nothing to do with 9/11; instead, it brought the user to the latest promotion for the "Newly Refined 2012 TL."

Here are the status updates from Acura, Cadillac, GMC, Infiniti, Lexus, Mercedes-Benz USA, and Toyota.


Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Who Will Exploit 9/11 for Their Own Brand Benefit?

Found this out-of-home ad from MINI.  Not sure when this ad was live, but It's interesting as the 10th Anniversary of September 11th gets closer will any automakers use it as a way to promote their products or link their brand to the event.

Please share any 9/11 automaker marketing efforts you see.

Hat tip to bNet for their article: 10 Advertising Exploiting the Sept 11 Attacks to Push Their Brands


Monday, August 29, 2011

The Hamster Car Dances with Halo-Like Warriors

A couple weeks ago at the Woodward Dream Cruise I overheard a couple talking with a friend of theirs after they parked their new Chrysler 200.

Friend: "So you bought the Eminem car." (laughter)

The driver, looking down at the ground: "I didn't buy it for that reason, but yeah it's the 'Eminem car.'"

Recalling the Chrysler 200 conversation, I have to wonder if Kia Soul owners get "is that the hamster car?" And does it leave people feeling pride or shame.

Good thing for Kia their young demographic probably doesn't remember much of the Richard Gere hamster/gerbil rumor.

I'm guessing most of it is pride since the campaign has been very well received and reading the YouTube comments on this latest ad shows people love and defend the hamsters.

Hat tip to AdWeek. Click here for their thoughts.


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.


Thursday, August 4, 2011

Automotive Facebook Fans by Brand: July 2011

The struggling brand smart grew more than any other brand, at least on Facebook where their global page had a 109% gain of 25,821 fans while only selling 327 cars in the United States in July. Therein lies a problem that is growing in this report. Several European brands have created USA based pages, smart being one of them. BMW, Audi, Mercedes, and Volvo all have USA pages now and perhaps it is time to modify this report to show a United States view of fan growth by brand.

My only issue with switching to the USA pages is that the USA pages have much smaller budgets, lack a lot of the organic growth that happens. Why? Because people looking for a brand's Facebook page are far more likely to click on the one with the most fans and the cleanest page name. You follow BMW, not BMW USA especially when you see all of the fans and activity on the BMW page. This is a behavior I've seen for years on Facebook and so I tend to focus on the primary brand page.

With so many USA pages, is it time to switch this report to a USA focused report, especially considering I don't track non-USA brands like Peugeot or Citroen.

Let me know your thoughts. Should I switch to this tracking the USA focused fan pages?

One other thing of note last month is Mercedes-Benz overtaking Audi's page in the race for fans. One of the big pushes for the brand is their "Mercedes-Benz & Friends" event coming August 25-28 bringing together all international official Benz clubs.

But most of the fan growth likely came from the marketing efforts of their Drive & Seek game helping to launch the all-new Mercedes C-Class Coupe. The game is centered around the player being a special agent who is trying to outsmart a security system.


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!


Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Chrysler Group's Mopar Takes a Page from Ford and GM

The social media road trip/rally/race/whatever is so common it’s becoming a bit cliché and in my former days listening to media companies and social agencies pitch ideas there was always some effort that involved putting celebs, comedians or everyday people into cars to share their experience across social media by giving them a car and some challenges to do.

The latest example of this model comes from Chrysler’s performance division Mopar: The event is called Moventure. Get it? They had a call for submissions for filling ten teams that would drive Chrysler division vehicles from Detroit to Golden, Colorado at the NHRA Mopar Mile High Nationals, a “full throttle drag racing series.” The team with the most points stand to win $5,000 in Mopar parts and accessories.

Each brand (Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep, Ram, and Fiat) has two teams of two with challenges all along the way to the final destination, think something similar to Chevy’s SxSW Road Trip from 2010 and 2011. It’s kind of funny that my article on the Chevy event garnered a comment stating “*waits for Chrysler to emulate Ford’s Fiesta Movement, just like GM did? ;-p” Apparently the answer is July 2011, sort of.

This is coming out of the Mopar division, not the parent company, though looking how it’s being shared on twitter the Chrysler brand twitter accounts and Chrysler PR people are Retweeting content from the Mopar teams, similar to what happened with both GM and Ford events.

Fiesta Movement was very different from this model. It was 6 months with 100 cars given out that gave time for participants to build an audience. A more likely Ford use of this template was the Ford Fusion Relay Race that used similar teams on a short multi-day road trip.

The Mopar event participation is like others who have blazed this social trail. Most of the social conversation is from the teams with the brand (or agencies) supporting the conversation through Retweets and @ mentions on twitter. There is some video content too that’s being created but as you can tell (image at right) the views are pretty low even after 24 hours since posted.

I really wonder about if these events are worth all of the effort. I’m sure blog coverage is a big win for the organizers and for this Moventure contest. So far there has been zero coverage from the top two automotive blogs – AutoBlog and Jalopnik; however, there was coverage from Car & Driver, Torque News, and CNBC (they reprinted the press release verbatim.)

What is success and what is a good amount of social conversation and who it was from is rarely discussed because no one ever goes back and evaluates their effort against competitor efforts. This I know after actively following many over the years, it’s 90%+ people involved in the effort who discuss and socially share it (team members, brand, and agencies.) There is very little spillover effect unless you really invest big dollars engaging celebrities, philanthropy and market the hell out of it – think Mercedes Tweet Race – or you do something more involved like the 6-month Ford Fiesta Movement.

In full disclosure, I have some good friends that make up two of the teams on this road trip and I really do wish them well. From what I can tell they are doing what they can to generate interest and discussion about their involvement. It’s just that no one really cares, except those participating, when it comes down to it.

I’ve seen the output reports on efforts like this and everyone shows an impressive looking number of “mentions” and a summation of all the video views/comments/tweets, and then some screen-shots of blog coverage and well that’s it and off everyone goes to the next project. I expect Moventure is no different and that's not a criticism of the Mopar effort. It's more a result of how this model historically works.


Thursday, July 14, 2011

Toyota Targets the Backseat Driver

Here is one way to create early brand loyalty. Toyota Japan has created a game called Backseat Driver that gets your children involved in where ever you are driving and may be a good option after they've bored themselves of playing Angry Birds for the 1 millionth time in the car.

The application is available for download on iTunes.

To play the application you have to be moving because the app moves the car using your phone's GPS movements and when the car turns the car in the game turns too. I suppose you could walk your backseat drive, but sitting stationary results in a boring game.

Your child can even share their customized car on twitter, something my 5 year old twins will definitely not be doing.

It is a fun way to make driving a bit more interesting for your child and I can't wait to test how long it holds a 5 year boy's interest. We'll see.

Thanks to @SphereTrending for sharing this on Twitter.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Looking Into the Share of Voice of Volt and LEAF

This blog has followed a lot of the marketing efforts of two very compelling vehicles from the past several years: The Chevy Volt and the Nissan LEAF. Both cars are currently taking charge (pun intended) in the battle for green bragging rights with consumers and now Nissan has thrown a new punch at its Chevy competitor.

The new ads feature life with gasoline fueled appliances. The ads look into the continued dependence of gasoline engines as an old technology that is far behind the times, of course most of Nissan’s own portfolio of vehicles are hence old technology, but this is about green bragging rights and Nissan showcasing its competitive advantage.

Chevy has ensconced its Volt as a fighter of “range anxiety.” Range anxiety is the uneasy feeling that one’s all-electric vehicle may run out of charge before reaching the owner’s destination. Chevy has a backup gas engine to avoid such moments of concern, of course that’s pretty expensive backup plan but thankfully both the Volt and LEAF gain from current $7,500 government incentives to offset costs.

I wanted to take a look at how performance for both of these vehicles is doing online and worked with some great people from MutualMind here in Dallas who ran some social media analytics against the two cars for the week of May 29 - June 4, just to get a peek at what is going on in the social conversation.

IMG 1: Brand Hits refer to the Nissan LEAF, Competitor Hits to the Chevy Volt

It’s interesting to see they are both neck and neck as far as coverage, mentions of the two vehicles are with the Nissan LEAF having a slight edge, but that may be due mostly to the new ad campaign that is gaining some visibility internationally since it is creatively similar to a Renault ad running in Europe.

Sentiment is where the data gets a bit more interesting. Negative sentiment for the Volt is almost two times higher than it is for the LEAF, but that’s only half of the story. Positive sentiment is 34% higher with Volt than LEAF. What's this tell us? At least in social media conversation, Volt is a more polarizing vehicle meaning people are either defending it or criticizing it.

There are some rumors circulating around GM doing an all-electric Volt (GM has denied this.) It’s highly doubtful GM would use the same vehicle name (or even the same brand Chevy) to compete more directly with Nissan’s LEAF and Ford’s coming Focus EV. Like the hybrid market, the electric-vehicle (EV) market is sure to get very competitive and not be as simple as evaluating two primary competitors.

For now though, it is interesting watching these two solutions from two big brands battle for the hearts and minds of the green crowd as we move into the Post-Prius green vehicle movement.

Later this week I'll be sharing some of my personal thoughts on the Chevy Volt after driving one several days.

Thanks to Babar Bhatti from MutualMind for providing me with some great data. For more information, please contact:

Company: Mutual Mind

MutualMind is a social media management and intelligence platform that enables businesses to monitor as well as promote brands on social networks while providing actionable analytics and insights to increase social media ROI.

MutualMind offers a platform that allows users to aggregate and analyze feedback and conversations regarding their products or services on all of the major social media platforms. While many alternatives on the market today are limited just to listening or publishing, MutualMind’s has taken its value proposition further through the ability for users to actively engage with and manage the various social media outlets.

The functionality of this platform can be used for a myriad of business applications including: measuring market receptivity to products or services, tracking consumer or political sentiment, reputation/crisis management, generating sales leads, benchmarking versus competitors, and customer relationship management to name a few.