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.