Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Introducing the All-New "Doug" to Yahoo! Mail Users

I really like the ad unit Yahoo! started last year on their Yahoo! Mail website where a company can purchase the entire login page's background. It has a crisp, generous look and the ad never gets lost in the typical clutter of ad banners, typical of other Yahoo! web properties. Today Ford decided to run a full page unit for the Ford Focus. Or did they? It seems like that was the plan until someone, or is it some thing, decided to takeover the promoting of the all-new Ford Focus.

That "thing" if you haven't heard of it by now is Doug, Ford's Spokespuppet. And yes, "spokespuppet" is not a real word; instead, it is a whole new concept in automotive marketing lingo. Doug and his human sidekick John are bringing some humorous snark to the launch of the Focus. It's almost a little sad that the focus (pun intended) here is an orange puppet when Ford has an amazing new re-introduction of the Focus, having finally brought over to the States the European model that many have been asking for for years.

Back to Yahoo!

Ford's ad unit brought significant awareness not to the car (well indirectly it did), but to a puppet. All of the calls-to-action for the ad unit go to Doug's Facebook Fan page where one can "Like me. Love was not an option." Not one link goes to the Ford Focus website to learn about the car.

It's an interesting decision and perhaps a wise one as one website put it, "Ford Profit Fueled in Part by Social Media".

I can't think of any situation in the almost 4 years I've been writing this blog where a major ad buy from a car company drove entirely to a puppet on Facebook. Sorry, "spokespuppet."


Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Nissan Blows Smoke at NYIAS Cars, Even Its Own

This is a great out of home billboard from the recent New York International Auto Show (NYIAS) done by TBWA\Chiat\Day LA for Nissan. It's a great way to make a strong selling point for the Nissan LEAF.

The LEAF, of course, is Nissan's all-electric vehicle and while the rest of Nissan's own floor at the auto show blows a lot of smoke around, the billboard still makes an excellent point about what differentiates the LEAF from competitors, including its strongest competitor right now the Chevy Volt. The Volt still has a gasoline engine and is not a full-EV (Electric Vehicle) so the point is still a valid one as these two battle it out.

Nice work here and thanks to for blogging about it. Credit goes to this post.


Friday, April 22, 2011

Lexus Sponsors YouTube's Indy Film Content

YouTube is making a play for developing custom content or content that can't be found elsewhere online as it defends its competitive video position against rival Hulu. Part of that defense is the YouTube Screening Room which has been around since 2008, but appears to be making a comeback with YouTube finding new sponsors to promote the films.

What is the Screening Room? From the channel's description, it features "top films from around the world to find the audiences they deserve... While the majority of these films have played at international film festivals, occasionally you'll find films that have never before screened for wide audiences."

Today American Express is sponsoring the Screening Room, but last Tuesday Lexus did its marketing sponsorship duty and brought the Screening Room content to the YouTube audience with a front page banner ad, intro commercial before the film played, and some banners promoting the all-new CT200h filled the screen.


Thursday, April 14, 2011

We're Talkin' Imported from Brampton, Ontario

I had a great time last week on the Adverve Podcast (Show #71: Autobahnned) hosted by Bill Green and Angela Natividad where we discussed quite an interesting blend of topics including Chrysler's Imported from Detroit campaign, the recent Buick NCAA integration, some stuff on what I do heading social media at AT&T, and to start it all off we talked local food and gas station tacos for half of the show (checkout my latest blog: for more information about that.)

Please follow both of them on twitter and subscribe to Adverve on iTunes, it really is a great show and both Bill (@mtlb) and Angela (@LucktheLady) have a sharp wit and great perspectives on the marketing industry. I listen to their show often and can't recommend it enough.


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.


Automotive Facebook Fans by Brand: March 2011

March was a rather subtle month without a lot of on-site fan growth ads from the automotive brands, but it was the first month a new brand returned to the United States. It’s been 27 years since Fiat has sold a car here. They returned with the Fiat 500 and I have added Fiat to this list. Like BMW, MINI and Mercedes, Fiat also has a USA-focused Facebook fan page, but like those brands I am reporting on the global brand’s Facebook fan page, but do record all of the USA-focused fan pages.

Meanwhile, Acura continued to run and promote their “Compete Like a Pro” contest for the all-new TSX Sport Wagon (as an interesting side-note, the TSX Sport Wagon is the Japanese Honda Accord wagon that everyone was hoping for back when the Honda CrossTour was announced last year causing quite an uproar on the Honda fan page.) The “Compete Like a Pro” contest is an interesting example of fan growth from marketing, CRM, and engagement.

Back in January they promoted the contest and bought some Facebook ads to support the effort creating a 23% increase in fan growth. In February, some marketing continued but most of the effort to promote the contest was done through Acura’s email communications (see image at left from a February 22 email) and there was some promotion by contestants to create interest (votes) for the contest that resulted in a 10% fan growth. As the initial surge of contestant promotion tapered, so did the fan growth, as it was only 5% in March when the contest was closing the voting.

Many of us see friends in our own communities promote – ask for – votes when they do an online contest. This initial surge in friend participation comes to an end rather quickly and then near the end of the contest, the highly competitive top people in the votes make an additional request for votes, but this is a much smaller group. What we see with the Acura contest is fairly typical and shows that the biggest impact in fan growth is still advertising to promote instead of counting on organic growth. The final 5% growth in March is a normal organic fan growth so the contest was doing very little in fan growth. Of course it might of (and hopefully did for Acura) create more clicks to and engagement which were probably the primary goals of the contest.

There was very little else going on in March for the automotive brands on Facebook. Lexus saw some positive growth with the biggest bump of 22% fan growth coming from their heavy media buys around the all-new Lexus CT200h.

Note: Unfortunately I missed a month in March, a first since starting this monthly post in November of 2009. I did record the fan numbers and you can see the early fan numbers from March in this post. I never did a February 2011 report, but have all the raw data if any one wants it. Please send me an email at if you do.


Wednesday, April 6, 2011

The Toyota "Force"

I'm sure many of you remember Volkswagen's "The Force" Super Bowl commercial. If you do not, you can read about it here. You know you made an ad that resonated with the public when you get some parodies on YouTube. The best one by far is this Toyota example that brings a bit of automotive recall hijinks to the mix.


Credit goes to @CGawley's blog post. Thanks Cameron.