Ford is the first car manufacturer to use Facebook rather than an auto show to reveal a new model, its Explorer SUV. Prior to the reveal, which took place online today (26 July), Ford had been using the Ford Explorer Facebook page to gain publicity for the car and now has more than 46,000 fans. A series of videos and events, including conversations about the new car with Ford executives that replicate the experience consumers would have at an actual auto show, are available to watch through a live video link on the page. As part of the campaign, Ford will give away an Explorer to one of its Facebook fans, picked at random.
The Megane Experiment
Renault marketing strategy associates Renault with Gallic culture, akin to its “Nicole and Papa” ads of the 80s and 90s. The aim of the campaign is to improve UK sales of the Megane saloon. Ads will contrast the Côte d’Azur resort of Menton with Gisburn in Lancashire to establish which has the greatest “joie de vivre”. The tongue-in-cheek spots will compare a swimming pool in Menton with a puddle in Gisburn, and show a French couple at a sunny seaside restaurant and a British couple outside a pub in bad weather. A 10-day teaser TV and print campaign, launching this week, will claim Menton contains more than 21 Meganes, while Gisburn has none. Consumers will be directed to a website at themeganeexperiment.com, which will follow the journey of Claude as he drives a Megane from Menton to Lancashire. From next month, a follow-up TV, print, radio and digital push will follow Renault’s attempts to give Gisburn greater joie de vivre. Extra content will be avail-able on YouTube and Renault TV. I disagree that the French have “joie de vivre” though: generally they are chain smoking, shrugging and miserable.
Fiesta Movement Reaps 50K Potential Buyers on $0 Ad Budget Ford evangelist Scott Monty‘s sent AdRants some stats on the progress of Ford’s Fiesta Movement, whereby 100 social “agents” drive around the country in Euro-spec Fiestas and complete appealing monthly missions related to volunteerism, adventure, style and design. According to Monty, brand awareness for the Fiesta has riven to the equivalent of models that have been on the market for two to three years.
“Our goal of rapidly increasing our volume in a mature market requires the Volkswagen brand to evolve into a more relevant mainstream choice,” Tim Ellis, VP-marketing at Volkswagen of America, said in a statement. “The Volkswagen brand needs to inspire our base of enthusiasts as well as reach out and captivate those in mainstream America. Therefore, we are re-evaluating all areas of our business and after careful considerations have decided to take the necessary steps to ensure we have the right agency partner in place.”
There’s long been talk among insiders of senior management in Germany preferring the idea of a global agency, which Crispin cannot yet claim to be, despite having established some overseas outposts. Secondly, there’s the marketer’s outsize ambition — to triple U.S. sales within the next 10 years. “Our goal of rapidly increasing our volume in a mature market requires the Volkswagen brand to evolve into a more relevant mainstream choice,” said VW’s Tim Ellis. And mainstream is one thing Crispin isn’t. Stir in persistent business problems at VW, a major acquisition and a recent round of marketing-department musical chairs, and you have a classic recipe for a review.
Kerri Martin to Head Marketing at Electric-Car Maker Coda
Kerri Martin, once a high-profile marketer who did stints at BMW Mini and Volkswagen, will join electric-car maker Coda Automotive next week as its first chief marketing officer. Industry observers will be watching Ms. Martin, 39, to see whether she can make marketing lightning strike again. She and Crispin, Porter & Bogusky, Miami, created non-traditional blitz for the U.S. launch of the Mini small car in 2002 that was unique for the auto category, received rave reviews from industry pundits and created the concept of “motoring” for the brand. This time Ms. Martin will be working on the launch of the Coda sedan, the Santa Monica, Calif., company’s first car, next year.
Electric cars could comprise 64-86% of US light vehicle sales by 2030, provided that consumers don’t have to buy the high-priced batteries themselves and an infrastructure can be built to maintain and manage them, according to a new study from the Center for Entrepreneurship and Technology at University of California, Berkeley. To build the infrastructure for battery charging and swapping systems over the next few decades, the cost may exceed $320 billion, the study (pdf) found. However, that cost could be offset by societal health-related savings of $205 billion, as less vehicle pollution reduces the incidence of asthma and other respiratory diseases, writes Environmental Leader.
Ford’s Next Experiment With Sustainable Materials: Liquid Wood
Recently, scientists have been touting “liquid wood,” a bizarre pikecrete-like new material which some think could become as ubiquitous as plastic. Ford, eager to burnish its green credentials, took notice: One of its research wings in Germany has just inaugurated a three-year, $1.4 million program to figure out if liquid wood can be used in their car interiors and engines.
Further to McDonald’s “green” prototype restaurant in Chicago and now we see the burger chain is attempting to expand its positive, environmental footprint. In addition to the eco-friendly policies like LED light fixtures, drought resistant plants and special hybrid parking – the new Golden Arches opening July 14th in Cary, North Carolina will feature an electric vehicle charging station, part of NovaCharge’s ChargePoint Network – a connected model that provides subscription-based access.
This week marked the global launch of the second generation MINI R57 Cabrio, drawing on the 2004 launch theme Always Open. The campaign encourages MINI drivers to leave the top down whatever the weather conditions. Berlin based agency Plantage has put together a fully integrated offering as its first global campaign for the brand, incorporating TV, online content, print ads and a brand book. There’s also a YouTube MINI Channel.
Jalopnik found a new mini site Ikea has launched to showcase the reveal of a ‘concept car’. The wrapped vehicle is called Leko. Jalopnik translated some of the French on the intro page which says the concept car is a modular design which can operate as a coupe or as a convertible, and has the full backing of the World Wildlife FundFrance. Rumor is that the car will be sold flat-packed and assembled with only an allen wrench. The site counts down to a few moments before April 1st.