AutoGuide News Blog
The AutoGuide News Blog is your source for breaking stories from the auto industry. Delivering news immediately, the AutoGuide Blog is constantly updated with the latest information, photos and video from manufacturers, auto shows, the aftermarket and professional racing.
The side part is cool again. Skinny ties, narrow lappels and closely cut clothes make the man, albeit with much less cigarette smoking.
The internet has changed the ways consumers shop, and in the same fashion, short online videos have revolutionized the way companies advertise.
Advertising Age has named Chrysler the marketer of the year for 2012, thanks to the company’s growth which is attributed to its new marketing techniques.
The automotive industry is a global business that is constantly evolving and growing, and we here at AutoGuide know it can be hard to keep up sometimes. So here is a summary of the top stories you may have missed this week:
General Motors’ advertising strategy made headlines several times already this year, but the latest revelation just might be the strangest yet.
While General Motors is shying away from social media and advertising, its competition is taking the chance to fill the gap and get attention.
Bridgestone announced a development in tire printing technology last month that allows new stylistic possibilities.
White-wall tires and white lettering harken back to cars with cranks, though neither the tires nor the cars are common today. Bridgestone wanted to change that by finding a solution for bright designs printed onto the sidewall of tires that can maintain high durability, won’t discolor and require less weight added to the construction, thereby aiding fuel efficiency.
Multi-colored tires can further encourage vehicle personalization and offer a unique avenue for companies to take in advertising. Rather than tire shopping out of necessity, this may create a sort of customer that makes tire purchases for recreation.
Thanks to a new development in ink technology, unique multi-colored patterns or images from photographs can be printed onto a Bridgestone tire’s sidewall. These inks are extremely resistant to discoloration and are strong against external damage onto the tire’s surface. Bridgestone believes in a future of colorful, lightweight and fuel efficient tires that they think could change the tire industry.
Bridgestone has not announced when their whimsical wheel wrapping will be available but promises to bring this technology to market soon. Who knew that pictures could be the new black?
GALLERY: Mult-colored Bridgstone Tires
Edmunds revealed that the commercial showed the greatest increase of traffic to the models page on their site. Using measurements at 7 different points during Sundays game, Edmunds found that the Fiat section of their site had a 138 percent rise in activity at the end of the game.
The effective commercial follows Abarth’s “Small, but wicked” catch-phrase, and is sure to catch your attention in just 60 seconds.
The Abarth is going to be hitting North America some time this year, featuring track-ready performance and small car fuel efficiency.
Check it out in the video below.
The Lexus GS has been around for a while, and has often gone unnoticed. Maybe it just couldn’t compete with it’s European counterparts? Or maybe it just wasn’t advertised enough?
Lexus is hoping for the latter, and is aiming to correct that issue with a multi-pronged advertising campaign to help support the launch of the all-new 2013 GS (read our review here). The campaign will see the Lexus GS showing up in several media spots.
The new GS, which will arrive at dealerships this week, is showing off a different side of Lexus. The car is supposed to have a whole new approach to performance, technology, design and luxury.
The first commercial aired during the Super Bowl and three more are planned to circulate on national television.
In addition to the television ads, Lexus will be engaging viewers of TV shows using the Shazam mobile App. During certain episodes of popular TV shows “The Soup” “Psych” and “Being Human” the audience can use the Shazam app to get extra content of the show, and extra media on the Lexus GS. Users can even win a contest for a custom trip “Upgraded in GS fashion.”
This campaign doesn’t just stop at television though. In co-operation with Wired magazine, readers will have access to extra content using Near Field Communication (NFC) technology in smart phones.
Lexus is also going heavy on digital with their approach to advertising. A Lexus promoted radio station will be available on Pandora Internet Radio, showcasing artists, songs and albums which have revolutionized the music industry. Other websites including YouTube will also feature the new GS.
In the days leading up to the super bowl, Twitter users were spammed by a whole army of Toyota’s verified Twitter accounts. Users who tweeted anything in regards to the big game, especially with hashtags of #Giants, or #Patriots, were sent a reply by one of Toyota’s Camry Effect Accounts, informing that person about the contest. Even unsuspecting Twitter users were spammed; those who never even mentioned the Super Bowl.
Eventually, after many complaints, all but one of the Camry Effect accounts were suspended, and the remaining account was then switched to Private, making last night’s tweets only available to those that Toyota allow.
Later, Kimberley Gardiner, Toyota’s social media manager commented on the situation. “We apologize to anyone in the Twitter-verse who received an unwanted @reply over the past few days. We were excited to share the message of our Camry Effect campaign in a new way and it was never our intention to displease anyone. We’ve certainly learned from this experience and have suspended the accounts effective immediately to avoid any additional issues.”
Toyota is taking the blame, although it’s not entirely clear the automaker was in full control. Toyota employs the services of ad firm Saatchi & Saatchi, which in turn sub-contracts some of its work to social media marketing agency known as American Pop. A representative of American Pop has contacted AutoGuide to distance itself from the campaign, however, with Gipson Bachman, the Director of Digital Strategy commenting that, “our company was
not responsible for the tweets you received from Toyota’s efforts…”
Toyota will be launching a “Shazam Campaign” similar to that of The Camry Effect with the 2013 Lexus GS. The idea is that while watching TV, viewers can use the Shazam app on their mobile phone to gain extra TV content, media on the Lexus GS, and a chance to win “a custom travel package.” Hopefully, there will be less reliance on spamming twitter this time around.
Everything is big news in a small town, especially the chance at being featured in a Super Bowl commercial. For one small town, that possibility may become a reality if General Motors decides to run an ad they shot featuring Hamtramck, Michigan.
The little town of about 20,000 people is all a twitter over their chance at the spotlight. Chevrolet chose the town (where the Volt is assembled) to film a spot promoting the Volt, though they haven’t actually decided to air the ad during one of the most watched events on TV.
“We create a lot of different spots. The final decision will come in a few weeks,” said Patrick Morrissey, a GM spokesperson to The Detroit News.
If the ad runs, it means some exciting exposure for the town named after the first American commander in charge of Fort Shelby, the fortification of Detroit. In fact, Hamtramck is almost surrounded by Detroit, despite being an independent city.
From what interviewed residents can guess, GM is hunting for something to generate the same chest-thumping pride and patriotism Chrysler’s wildly popular “imported from Detroit” ad ignited last year. If you’ve forgotten, it featured Eminem driving a Chrysler 300 to the Lose Yourself track originally from the movie 8 Mile.
Even if the Hamtramck residents don’t make the Superbowl cut, GM says it plans to run it elsewhere. Apparently, the film crew spent enough time filming to “make a documentary” according to some residents. The real question now, is who will be featured in the final product? The final call about which ads will air might not come until right before game time. One thing is certain, Hamtramck is going to have Super Bowl fever this February.
[Source: Detroit News]
Audi knows a thing or two about thumbing their nose at the world. The question is if people generally take it in stride or take offense.
Their latest advertising escapade (shown above) is probably one of the more unabashed examples of their cocksure style. A Chicago area Audi dealership sold an R8 GT and decided that moving a single unit was justification to rent a billboard warning other motorists of the possible predator in their rear view mirrors.
Car ads in general have a tendency to play up stereotypes and pander to particular crowds, but what does it say about Audi customers if that rule holds true? Consider this: Volkswagen, their parent company, recently had to pull a TV ad in Canada for their Passat because of complaints that the spot portrayed women in a bad light. Decide for yourself, but realize at the same time that the company, and in some senses the message may be similar.
Truth is, nobody gets hurt when a smug billboard goes up, and Audi does this a lot. Another R8 billboard sported the slogan “stay in school.” Another, perhaps more clever example was an Audi A4 ad in California that read “your move, BMW.” To the right of the Audi poster, BMW ran a response, saying “checkmate.”
One way or another, we’re happy to sit back and watch car companies one-up each other like kids playing chicken at recess.
Sales targets for the Fiat 500 were set at an ambitious 6,000 units per month, and surprise surprise, the car isn’t meeting them. This might be due to the fact that it’s a subcompact, foreign branded car in a market where gasoline is (relatively) cheap and large vehicles reign supreme. Or it could be the fault of your marketing agency, if you ask Chrysler.
Fiat marketing chief Oliver Francois told trade publication Advertising Age that the brand has an “awareness problem”, and apparently, a product placement in a Jennifer Lopez music video didn’t help matters. Fiat has also reportedly dumped their ad agency, which formerly employed Fiat North America CEO Laura Sove.
So far Fiat has sold 11,088 examples, far off the 72,000 unit annual target. The axe has to fall on someone, and we’ll be waiting to see who ends up taking responsibility for this matter.
[Source: Advertising Age]
The next big thing for advertising might be mobile billboards in the form of vinyl wraps for rental cars. It’s already happening in Atlanta. The folks at Budget Rent A Car of Atlanta are working with Wrap Media Group, a company that specializes in promotional vinyl car wraps cars.
The result is drivable billboard that you rent to drive around in. The upside is a discount on this rentals – one renter said she got a $400 multiday rental for $88 – not too shabby.
“Our mission is to always provide the best value for our customers and this is another example of that,” said Heather Etzler, vice president of Budget Rent a Car of Atlanta. “We expect a very positive reaction from our customers given that the vehicles are wrapped in good taste.”
We don’t know what companies have decided to use this new form of advertising. Right now, the only one that’s been used is a maker of energy supplements.
[Source: USA Today]
As it turns out, Kia‘s inappropriately sexy ads that spread like wildfire through the blogosphere just a few weeks ago, weren’t Kia ads at all.
Designed to help loosely deliver the message that the Korean automaker now has a dual-zone climate control system (showing two sides to the same story), the print ads drew plenty of attention and a firestorm of criticism for some rather creepy implications.
Moma Propaganda, the agency behind the two ads, which took home two Lions awards from the prestigious Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity is now being stripped of its honors and banned from participating in next year’s competition. The agency failed to submit proof that it had been hired by Kia Motors Brazil for the ads; a rather obvious hint that it never had been. As a result, two Lions awards have been retracted
This isn’t the first time awards have been revoked for fake ads, a tactic used to launch a relatively unknown agency into the spotlight. Taking more decisive action, however, this is the first time individuals have been banned from competing in the future. The ban extends only to next year and only to the five individuals listed as being involved in the sexy Kia ad scandal.
England’s News of the World has come under fire for allegedly tapping into the voicemail of a missing 13-year old girl’s cell phone, disrupting her police investigation. And Ford has been quick to react—it has pulled all of its advertising from the British tabloid.
The newspaper is facing multiple lawsuits and a police investigation of its own, under charges that it accessed the girl’s voicemail and also deleted messages while police were looking for her. The girl was later found murdered, but the cell phone activity tricked police and family members into believing that she was still alive.
Ford is one of the major advertisers to withdraw support of the newspaper; other major companies such as Renault, Virgin, and T-Mobile are also being petitioned to pull their ad campaigns. The case raises questions of ethical standards for the newspaper, and Ford cutting off its advertising funds is a blow to the paper.
[Source: Left Lane News]
Toyota is counting on a sweeping advertising barrage to regain consumer confidence in its Camry, positioning itself as ”smart, safe and worry-free.”
The campaign will coincide with both Toyota’s expected return to full production capacity and a redesign for the Camry. And by “massive” and “sweeping,” Toyota plans on 40 commercials with the company’s familiar narrative of safe, dependable transportation for the masses.
It’s been a tough year for Toyota in general: they are still recovering from the spate of product recalls last year, as well as the production downturn from the earthquake. And to recover, they are aiming this campaign alongside at least 20 new or redesigned cars within the next two years: 13 of which will be significantly more different than now. It will include a new Avalon, a compact Prius, and the long-awaited FRS sports car for Scion. Ultimately, Toyota wants to hit a sales target of 2 million vehicles by 2013.
Expect to see ads beginning in October. There’s no word on whether they’ll involve ninjas, zombies, or children’s television mascots.
[Source: Wall Street Journal]
In between light-beer dick jokes and Justin Bieber cameos, Chrysler’s now-famous “Born of Fire” ad was one of the Super Bowl standouts. The experts in the industry agree, too: the Eminem-infused ad swept four awards at the 85th annual Cannes International Festival of Creativity.
The ad took home Best Direction, Best Use of Music, Best Script and—to top everything off—Best Automotive Commercial. It was developed by Wieden+Kennedy, who hold such well-known brands as Coca-Cola, Nike, and Old Spice (but not Secor Laxatives), and can now add a few more “Lions” to their trophy cabinet.
“Chrysler is humbled to be awarded with such a prestigious honor,” said Olivier Francois, president of Chrysler. “The ‘Born of Fire’ commercial and the ‘Imported from Detroit’ campaign describes the comeback of the Chrysler brand and truly defines American luxury.”
Don’t remember the ad? Or just want to watch it again? Check it out after the jump: