Autmotive v Social: Ford Facebook Explorer, The Megane Experiment

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.

Ford Reveals 2011 Ford Explorer on Facebook (offonatangent.blogspot.com)
2011 Ford Explorer REVEALED: Can This New Model Save The SUV? (PHOTOS) (huffingtonpost.com)
Ford Shows Off New Explorer to Facebook Fans with Full Day Of Content (insidefacebook.com)
Ford to unveil 2011 Explorer on Facebook (reviews.cnet.com)
2011 Ford Explorer Changes The Game (ridelust.com)
Ford to unveil redesigned model on Facebook (newstatesman.com)
Scott Meis: Ford Facebook Reveal Day = Smart Digital Launch (scottmeis.com)
Ford unveils lighter version of Explorer (kansas.com)
Inside the 2011 Ford Explorer Facebook Reveal (mashable.com)
OMG LOL: 2011 Ford Explorer to get Facebook reveal (autoblog.com)

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Design: GQ Car, Dieline

GQ, the men’s lifestyle magazine brand, is teaming up with Citroen to launch a concept hybrid car. The car, called the GQ, is the brand’s latest extension, with styling by Citroen designer Mark Lloyd. GQ is marketing the car as understated but desirable – in keeping with the magazine’s style. French Centerfold: Citroën teams up with GQ and Savile Row tailors for new concept.

The Latest Top 5 Package Designs From The Dieline
The Dieline’s Latest top 5 Package Designs, as voted on by Dieline readers over the past week. More packaging inspiration on TheDieline.com.

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Automotive … Fired: Crispin … Hired: Kerri Martin

“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.”
crispin porter + bogusky
crispin porter + bogusky
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.

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Automotive: Kerri Martin and Coda, OCC and Siemens, Honda Eco Grand Prix, Mustang 2010

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.
coda-electric-car-front
Siemens has paired up with Orange County Choppers, the custom bike building outfit of TV fame, to build a one-off electric chopper. The “Smart Chopper” showcases Siemens technology, boasting a 60-mile range and a 100 mph top speed compliments of a 27-hp electric motor. Charging time is anywhere between 1 and 5 hours depending on the voltage available. In addition to leveraging Siemens electric technology, the bike also features LED lights compliments of Sylvania, a Siemens subsidiary. The bike has OCC’s characteristic flair, the least of which is a rear tire that wouldn’t look out of place on a car. The Smart Chopper will be making its way around the country for the balance of 2009 and is slated for auction in 2010.
Unveiling of Siemens first electric green chopper, made with Ora
Honda Formula E is an advergame launched in Japan to teach people how to drive with an eco-friendly attitude. In the game you don’t have to use the steering-wheel, but just the brake and accelerator to find the ideal speed to drive in the city, saving gasoline, and therefore saving the planet.
Firstborn are attempting to build a community around the (probably poor-handling, low miles-per-gallon) Ford Mustang 2010. Presenting a very powerful car-configuration tool, you can customize a template Ford Mustang the way you want or even customizing collaborating in real time with some people, in the end it’s about “experiencing” the car and also sharing it to the gallery (almost 2k submissions in a week) or, the main purpose for sport cars fans, downloading the image to use it as a wallpaper.
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Automotive: Electric Cars To Dominate by 2030, Meantimes Ford Gets (Liquid) Wood

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.
eco-cars-electricity-powered-lynx-offers-a-safe-ride-01

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.

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Green Marketing: Starwood Chargepoints, Tesco Allotments, ReBurbia

Element Lexington Tells Hybrid Drivers to Plug It In
Starwood has partnered with Carbon Day Automotive to install a ChargePoint™ Networked Charging Station at Element Lexington. Hybrid-driving guests and travelers alike can charge their vehicles via the unobtrusive station, equipped with a universal plug-in for all kinds of electric vehicles, including cars, buses, Segway scooters, and bikes. Drivers can use Google maps to locate the station and determine whether it’s unoccupied.

Tesco has stepped up its commitment to environmental issues by announcing plans to create allotments for recession-hit customers who want to grow their own vegetables. The supermarket giant has applied for planning permission for the 30 allotments on land next to its Southport store in Lancashire which, if granted, will see the sites rented out from next spring.

tesco allotment

Calling all future-forward architects, urban designers, renegade planners and imaginative engineers:
Show us how you would re-invent the suburbs! What would a McMansion become if it weren’t a single-family dwelling? How could a vacant big box store be retrofitted for agriculture? What sort of design solutions can you come up with to facilitate car-free mobility, ‘burb-grown food, and local, renewable energy generation? We want to see how you’d design future-proof spaces and systems using the suburban structures of the present, from small-scale retrofits to large-scale restoration—the wilder the better!
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Inspiration: Cool Japanese Tin Toys

Cool tin cars from Japan. This selection from the Tanaka collection features 70 cars, airplanes, buses, spaceships, speedboats, and helicopters that provide a fascinating overview of the postwar Japanese tin-toy industry—a symbol of Japan’s startlingly rapid postwar rebirth—and of the Golden Age of automobile styling in the United States.
jap cars
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