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...