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, 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 (
2011 Ford Explorer REVEALED: Can This New Model Save The SUV? (PHOTOS) (
Ford Shows Off New Explorer to Facebook Fans with Full Day Of Content (
Ford to unveil 2011 Explorer on Facebook (
2011 Ford Explorer Changes The Game (
Ford to unveil redesigned model on Facebook (
Scott Meis: Ford Facebook Reveal Day = Smart Digital Launch (
Ford unveils lighter version of Explorer (
Inside the 2011 Ford Explorer Facebook Reveal (
OMG LOL: 2011 Ford Explorer to get Facebook reveal (

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Harley Davidson Takes A Right Turn

Dave Nottoli alerted me to the fact that “It appears Harley-Davidson advertising has yanked the brand far to the right. In a full page ad appearing on the back of today’s USA Today sports section, the American motorcycle company has chosen the risky strategy of embracing political speech. The ad, whose copy reads: “It’s A Free Country. But Have You Felt Like That Lately?” continues in red and blue typeface over an image of a biker flying the Stars and Stripes “Has the torch of liberty gotten a little dimmer? Is it starting to feel claustrophobic inside the safety net? Do we still live in the home of the brave?”

harley davidson right wing crazies


Interbrand Report: The World’s Most Valuable Brands (
Harley-Davidson cutting more jobs (

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Automotive: Fiat, Fiesta

This Fiat Is Very Unreliable
This Fiat van spotted in London by Ben over at Noisy Decent Graphics demonstrates the power an irritated conumer can wield. Says Ben: “I bet Fiat hate it if he turns up at the local dealership. And it’s highly visible on the road, and now thanks to me, on search engines”.

Ford Flickrizes Fiesta
Ford’s European division chose to launch an all-images consumer generated thing that lets people contribute to and change a Fiesta covered with a collage of images. People can rate the images they like, dislike or add their own. I would like to think that this is innovative comms planning rather than a generic Yahoo offering…

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Hipsters, GTbyCITROEN, Photomake, Gates v PC, TV Ads Work

Hipsters Will Save Our Economy

In a rather striking article this week, Forbes recognizes hipsters as possibly the one demographic group that’s still happily consuming, at least in the retail sector. The article argues that while hipsters – here very broadly defined – might not make a lot of money now, they are a huge, powerful consumer group, and marketing dollars spent to capture them now will likely pay off in the future. Not to mention the fact that, even today, retailers which cater to the “creative class” are thriving while the rest of the retail industry struggles:

The gaming world merged with reality this week at the Paris auto show with the unveiling of the GTbyCITROËN. The sportscar is the first ever car to be specifically designed to bring the virtual and real worlds together. The French car maker partnered with Polyphony Digital Inc, the creators of the Gran Turismo series to stretch their creative vision.The exterior design of the car is a modern look at a racing coupe. The concept uses sharp body lines and dynamic shapes to communicate performance and speed. In the game version the car is powered by a zero emission fuel cell and electric drivetrain. There’s no word on if the physical prototype runs. For now the ‘Citroën GT’ represents one automaker embracing the gaming world and testing out how to potentially integrate it into product development.
Photomake is a very cool web service that will translate line drawings into solid objects. Like a 2 dimensional version of Shapeways, the site makes it really easy to create unique objects. All you have to do is draw something, scan it – or even take a photo of it, upload it to the site, and in a few days you’ll have a custom item. They offer a bunch of different subsrtes including 17 different colors of acrylic, styrene and plywood. People have been making all kinds of interesting objects with photomake, like jewelery, furniture and art sculptures.

Why Microsoft’s Gates/Seinfeld Went Viral and ‘I’m a PC’ Ads Didn’t
According to Visible Measures, which charts online video viewing trends and has measured the videos associated with Microsoft’s $300 million ad campaign, the Seinfeld/Gates ads are squashing the “I’m a PC” ads by a margin of 4.3 million viral video views. Both ads had about equal video placements (about 75 each). Visible Measures points out that while the Seinfeld/Gates clips came out two weeks earlier than the “I’m a PC” ads, Seinfeld/Gates drew twice as many viewers their first week in market than the PC ads did. After two weeks in market, Visible Measures says, “Seinfeld/Gates was still collecting more than 700,000 views per day, while the ‘I’m a PC’ clips had tapered off to less than 50,000 views per day.” Why might this be? Microsoft sparked a dialogue in the Seinfeld ad that isn’t there in PC ads.

Now a neuromarketing study finds that viewers aren’t zoning out, but actually pay attention to ads when hitting their fast-forward button. “Our conclusion was that people don’t skip ads,” said Carl Marci, cofounder and CEO of Innerscope Research. “They’re just processing them differently.”

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Automotive marketing “sub optimal” … and here’s the figures to prove it …

I experienced a mix of emotions when I read the headline “Automakers Underspend on Media that Influence Buyers”. I think it was maybe a feeling of frustration that this seems to have been reported several times before, and yet nothing seems to change … relief that it is once in again in the spotlight … and then possibly the wry reflection that probably still nothing will change!


It appears that “top automotive advertisers” spent by far the greatest percentage of their media dollars on TV in 2006 (surprise) which is an incredibly unbalanced media spend compared with influence on purchase (approximately 40% of spend vs. 17-18% of influence). The analysis comes amid reports of automakers’ reallocation of more dollars to digital advertising, but those moves “may not be going far enough…”

I have a few issues with the research … for example, what of the myriad other “connections” (if I can use the word without being sued) and influences outside advertising, that affect people’s decisions?

I was initially dubious of the AOC’s title this year “Why Don’t People Get It” … reading the above research I am starting to come round to the idea!

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