General Motors is playing with a new approach to using rental cars as marketing tools by placing quick response (QR) codes incertain rental fleet vehicles.
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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.
BMW and other luxury automakers, are making an active effort to work more closely with those in new media. The idea is that by courting bloggers and tweeters, they stand a better chance of reaching a new group of younger buyers that can’t be targeted through traditional media platforms such as TV, radio and print publications.
In a world where gas prices and fuel consumption are the biggest issues on the average consumer’s mind, British luxury automaker Bentley is insisting on using V8 and V12 engines without a hint of concern.
“We still offer V-12s and are the biggest producer of V-12 engines in the world,” Bentley chief operating officer Christophe Georges said.
That might seem like a foolhardy mentality, but the company’s sales numbers would beg to differ. Already this quarter, U.S. Bentley sales are up 40 percent. Not only that, but despite being the traditionally largest market for the British luxury cars, American purchases were overtaken — by China.
Bentley is aiming high with its proposed goal of doubling annual sales by 2017. The English luxury automaker has a long road ahead, but will be helped by the U.S. resurgence in car sales and especially by the boom in China.
“I am assuming a robust, double-digit growth for 2012. I expect growth of more than 10 percent for Bentley in China and the United States in 2012,” said Bentley CEO Wolfgang Duerheimer. In 2011, Bentley’s American sales grew 32 percent while the companies Chinese sales almost doubled.
Bentley is also hinging on its new SUV to help grow sales into a new untapped market. Trying to stay conservative, the company is predicting annual sales of the new SUV to start at the 3,500 mark.
New markets will be a large factor for Bentley to achieve its goals, with Russia, India, and South America all being discussed as potential growth areas. Mainland Europe will be targeted heavily as last year Bentley sold almost as many cars in the UK alone as it did in all of mainland Europe.
The latest developments in the Chinese market tell us that sales in China are slowing down and the Chinese government is trying to make it harder for foreign automakers to succeed in their country. These anti-foreign cars measures will no doubt have some affect on Bentley, but we can’t tell how much of a problem it will pose.
Toyota has launched a new social media initiative with a chance for participants to win a brand new 2012 Camry for themselves and one more for a friend. The opportunity will come tomorrow, Sunday, Feb. 5, during a live NBC broadcast – we’re presuming Toyota means the Super Bowl, but the oddly worded press release mentioned no such thing.
To enter, you’ll need the Shazam music identification smartphone app, and use it, when prompted, during the broadcast of Toyota’s “Connections” commercial, which encourages the nearly seven million Camry owners across the country to share stories, moments and memories they’ve had with their camera in the past 30 years. By entering the giveaway using Shazam technology, the winner of the contest could start a new “Camry Effect” by not only winning a Camry for themselves, but also to gift another Camry for a friend.
Vice president of digital marketing at Toyota says, “The Camry Effect is one of the most ambitious social media campaigns we’ve ever implemented. Partnering with Shazam allows us to increase awareness of this effort on the national stage and give one lucky winner the opportunity to positively affect a friend and start writing his or her Camry story.”
Who’s going to tune in tomorrow?
There’s no question that Chrysler‘s “Imported from Detroit” Super Bowl ad from last year will be a tough act to follow, nonetheless the automaker is doing what it can to exceed expectations again.
Sticking with a gritty theme, albeit in a different style, Chrysler has enlisted the services of veteran actor and director Clint Eastwood, who is expected to give the country a tough talking to in Walt Kowalski style, though we doubt the ad will feature a 1972 Ford Gran Torino Sport or off-color banter.
Like “Imported from Detroit,” this year’s commercial will air for two minutes during this Sunday’s Superbowl XLVI. Considering that it costs around $3.5 million for just 30 seconds of air time during the game, Chrysler is clearly feeling lucky about making the audiences’s day this year.
[Source: wxyz action news]
Watch the ad below:
With the end of North American Ford Ranger production last month, Ford’s loss is reportedly Nissan‘s gain as the Japanese automaker ramps up marketing efforts on it’s mid-size Frontier pickup.
Even though the Ranger remained the top selling small pickup last year (70,832 bought in the US during 2011), Nissan’s Frontier also gained ground, posting an increase of some 28 percent, resulting in 51,700 finding owners.
Now that Ford has exited the segment, Al Castignetti, Nissan’s US Sales Supremo, sees a real opportunity for Nissan to re-assert its dominance in the smaller truck sector, the only true competitor on the horizon at present being Toyota’s Tacoma.
If that happens, it could almost be a return to the 1970s when between them, Toyota and Nissan practically owned the US small truck market, the Domestics relying on “captive” import models from Isuzu and Mazda since they didn’t have their own at the time.
For Nissan, smaller trucks have always been a staple and unlike the now departed Ranger, the Frontier (internally coded D40) is a truly global truck, sold in other markets as the Navara where it has been consistently popular since its introduction in 2004 as an ’05 model.
That said, in the full-size segment, it’s a different story. Nissan’s Titan, now getting long in the tooth, failed to make the impact the automaker hoped for and last year, sold less than 22,000 copies in the US; Ford by contrast, moved almost 585,000 F-Series trucks in the same period.
Part of the problem with the Titan, has been the lack of configurations and options compared with trucks like the F-Series, along with real credibility in the full-size segment.
However, given its expertise in smaller trucks, Nissan really has a chance, at least in the short term to reap the benefits of the Ranger’s departure, especially now that the Frontier, besides its global status, is an established player and increasingly profitable due to its longevity in the marketplace.
Even in the longer term, if tighter fuel economy standards lead to a surge in demand for smaller, more fuel efficient trucks, Nissan could also make significant gains; rumors of GM re-joining the segment as well as Scion potentially offering a pickup type vehicle, along with Jeep, indicate there is still life in smaller trucks.
In the meantime, Nissan will do what it can to keep interest in the existing Frontier. “We’ve got our dealers reinvigorated on the truck and got our marketing out there,” said Castignetti recently. “We’re having great success with it.”
[Source: Automotive News]
An example of early adoption, Toyota Motor Sales launched its brand new “Toyota USA” page on Google+ on November 7, 2011.
Dave Nordstrom explains,” As a longtime Google partner, Toyota is pleased to announce our +Toyota USA Page. We are excited to expand our connections with owners, fans, advocates and Toyota associates in a unique environment that can be customized and personalized in ways that are important to us all, and we look forward to tapping into the diverse ways to build a rich, fun environment. Follow us and stay tuned for our forthcoming Google+ Hangout.”
While it may seem like Google+’s 40 million users are only a fraction the size of Facebook’s 800 million plus active users, Toyota’s early establishment into the new social hub from Google may prove to be a marketing and media boon in the future.
Well ahead of the curve, Ford has already established its Google+ page back in July.
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]
Ford’s head of marketing came out today with a brash, succinct statement that strikes deep down into the core of humanity: “f**k GM.”
Jim Farley, shown above in a much calmer demeanor, launched this shot across the bow in an early copy of the book “Once Upon A Car,” by New York Times reporter Bill Vlasic. Farley was quoted as saying, “”We’re going to beat on them, and it’s going to be fun…f**k GM. I hate them and their company and what they stand for. And I hate the way they’re succeeding.”
The book details the derailing of the Big Three during the early months of the recession, which may serve to justify this sort of motivation: after all, corporate executives usually know better than to sprinkle their public statements with four-letter words. GM was quick to respond, with one spokesman replying, “we would not have expected such crass words coming from Ford.”
In the immortal words of Officer Marcus Burnett, Miami-Dade PD: “sh*t just got real.”
Hey brah, Scion‘s launching a new car called the iQ, and it’s like, wicked small, dude. How many kegs can you fit in it, anyway?
For the launch of the diminuitive iQ, Scion will hit the airwaves with a barrage of TV commercials illustrating the advantages of its small size. The ads will show off its ability to jam two cars in one parking space, or its 11 standard airbags. Pretty conventional stuff.
But online is where Scion will let its freak flag fly: one spot shows muscular Jersey-Shore-types crammed into an iQ (with some creative shoehorning, presumably), being driven around by a bikini model while they eat donuts and drink milk. Another ad spoofs Caddyshack with the Scion as Bill Murray’s gopher, while yet another ad shows an Obama impersonator leaving an iQ with three Secret Service agents, using the iQ as a clown car.
Remember, Gen Yers love this stuff.
Scion needs a splash if they want to regain market share, and maybe their own rapping hamsters. The xB has lost ground to the Kia Soul, but those within Scion believe that the cutesy iQ could be their brand’s Fiat 500. After all, targeting young people is Scion’s MO. And with the massive amounts of marketing dollars sunk into this campaign, the iQ will hopefully target those looking to stand out in small cars—despite the lack of Bud Light 30-rack space in the back, brah.
[Source: Automotive News]
NASCAR is looking to target a younger, hipper crowd—one that’s into this Facebook thing.
And to do so they’re introducing a Facebook game, one that promises to be less annoying than Farmville, hopefully. Piggybacking off the successful Car Town, they’ve launched the slightly more cumbersome-sounding “NASCAR Pro Championship presented by Sprint” that will be featured on a joint partnership with Car Town’s developer, Cie Games.
Two different companies will be promoting the game with all of their marketing might. Turner Sports, which holds the rights to NASCAR.com, will air commercials on Turner Network Television. Sprint will promote it via their digital network and cell phones. Both promotions will coincide with the running of the Sprint Cup until November.
Car Town isn’t actually about racing, not if you can call pressing a few buttons to be a reasonable facsimile. It’s more aimed at completing some challenges, modifying your car, earning and spending points, and most importantly: bombarding your friends endlessly with requests. For that, NASCAR’s Facebook adventure seems like a win-win.
Ryan Reynolds, star of the upcoming movie “Green Lantern,” and the Nissan Leaf, the environmentally friendly electric car, are partnering in a new ad campaign that will be more green than Kermit the Frog eating a salad on St. Patrick’s Day.
The campaign is called “Innovation for Endurance,” and consists of a fitness regimen to whip potential Leaf owners into hoping that they can also look like Reynolds. The program will target digital media, print advertising, and heavy promotion of its own Facebook page as a forum for fitness enthusiasts and trainers. Nissan promises videos (starring Reynolds), live events (also starring Reynolds) and regularly-updated blog posts (maybe).
“I believe it’s possible to take great leaps forward without sacrificing a way of life. For me electric vehicles, like the Nissan Leaf, are not only representative of taking back the power, but also a significant statement about conscious ways of living,” said Reynolds.
And who knows, maybe Reynolds will help Nissan defeat the quasi-gas dependent Volt. We already know Nissan likes taking marketing swipes at its biggest rival.
Dr. Dre be the name, still running the game. Chrysler‘s “Imported From Detroit” campaign has propelled beyond Detroit, stopping by in Portland, Oregon (with Detroit Lions defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh) and New York City (with menswear designer John Varvatos). Now Chrysler comes straight outta Compton Los Angeles with Dr. Dre and the new 300S with Dre’s signature Beats Audio system, to make sure you don’t act like you forget about Dre.
The ad itself is called “Good Things,” and shows Dre cruising around LA, showing off the Beats Audio package inside the trunk, and generally insinuating hometown attitude. Chrysler 300S elevates the regular 300 sedan to baller status, by adding 20-inch polished aluminum wheels, piano black interior bits, and a 10-speaker Beats by. Dr. Dre system. If you’re expecting Eminem to make an appearance, however, you’ll just have to wait for Detox to drop.
Selling cars is kind of big business for Nissan. Taking advantage of social media to reach all those trendy kids these days is merely a part of that. And in the 20 years that marketing communications director Erich Marx has been at Nissan, he’s seen the changes in how people reach out to others, and how companies reach out to customers.
So here’s how not to hawk Altimas on Twitter: “It’s not about selling vehicles tomorrow, it’s not about a $179 lease on a Nissan car. It’s about building value so if we can offer our customers something that’s of interest or of value to them.” In an interview with Ad Age, Marx details some secrets (well, some of them seem pretty straightforward) of working in the social media biz.
On using social media, Marx says it’s not like getting information on cars from a website or magazine. You have to offer “a sneak peek or a behind the scenes glance,” says Marx, like a Q&A session with new Nissan NA boss Carlos Tavares that garnered over 385,000 hits. Performance cars are big too, says Marx, citing it as a “big opportunity” to pass along information at triple the amount of hits as other cars.
And when Marx started, executives were unsurprisingly resistant to the idea of computers: “the irony was that they had no interest in them and didn’t use them, some never turned them on. It was the kids like me who would sit at our bosses’ desks and teach them how to email. Computers were not pervasive in business—we used to hand-write memos. Now, here we are.”
[Source: Ad Age]
The Fiesta Movement campaign was a resounding success for Ford, one that enthusiastically introduced to Americans the Fiesta and a new wave of global platform and design collaboration. So what does its social media manager do to highlight this success? He jumps ship to General Motors.
Jon Beebe, the man who was in charge of the Fiesta Movement, has recently been hired (some would say “poached”) by GM to be their new chief of digital strategy. Given how social-media-intensive the Fiesta Movement was, it seems Beebe was well-qualified. An award from Ad Age for Marketer of the Year doesn’t hurt, either.
GM has been hiring marketers away from other companies for some time now, most notably Joel Ewanick—of El Camino infamy—from Hyundai. The first rule of automotive marketing: there’s no loyalty in the business.
[Source: Left Lane News]
There are approximately 500 million people on Facebook. And now, the marketing division at BMW can rest soundly knowing that 1% of them are BMW aficionados.
One percent may not seem like much, but given the number of people on Facebook, that’s still 5 million people. And it’s the most popular automotive brand on Facebook, with a last count of 5,054,560 “likes.” The next closest brand is Audi, at a tick over 3 million fans, and Mercedes-Benz at 2 million, which surely goes to show that the hoi polloi of Facebook view these luxury German brands as aspirational vehicles—or at least they dream big.
The official BMW Facebook page features historical photos, videos, links to national fan pages, and the occasional political rant or spam posting, but also the occasional fan adulation, as one member posted to eerily poetic effect: ”if God doesn’t drive BMW, then why is the sky blue and white?”
Hit the jump to see the Top 10 most liked automotive brands:
Industry trade publication Advertising Age has named Ford it’s 2010 Marketer Of The Year, a prestigious honor that was previously won by companies like Apple, Nintendo and JetBlue.
Ford was recognized for its innovative marketing campaigns, such as the Fiesta Movement program, which leveraged social networks and word-of-mouth advertising, as well as its new commercials with pitchman Mike Rowe, a Discovery channel television host. While the article credits many members of the Ford team, Jim Farley, Ford’s VP for Global Marketing Sales and Service, was singled out for the spotlight.
Ford joins Hyundai, Volkswagen and Toyota as recent auto industry winners of the Marketer of the Year award.
[Source: Advertising Age]
While custom ordering a car is popular in Europe, American buyers tend to purchase their cars from dealer inventory. BMW is looking to reverse that trend with their 2011 X3, and will be heavily promoting their build-to-order program when the vehicle launches later this year.
The build-to-order program allows customers to order the exact options, color schemes and trim levels they desire. Custom built cars are also highly profitable due to the large volume of options ordered. But Americans don’t like to wait for their car to be built, which can often take weeks, and prefer to buy a car and drive it home the same day.
BMW is hoping to entice customers with exclusive options and colors for the made-to-order program. The company will also allow customers to watch their car being assembled via webcam.
[Source: Auto Observer]
The Toronto International Film Festival is a massive event, that brings thousands of film fans, A-list celebrities and professional celebrity worshippers together for a week of movie premieres, parties and camera-phone stalking.
TIFF is also a major hassle for some of the Autoguide staff, as we like to test cars in Toronto when given the opportunity; the landscape and roads can give us a simulation of nearly every environment, from smooth two-lane blacktop to Manhattan-like urban traffic. But when TIFF is in town, the place is mobbed.
Audi took advantage of this and decided to plaster Toronto’s downtown core with an untold number of 1/43 scale models and added magnets to their undercarriages. After placing them all over Toronto’s lamp posts and parking meters (and a competitors exhibit at a TIFF screening), Audi recorded festival patrons grabbing the model cars for themselves. To see what happens, hit the jump and view it yourself.
[Source: Sympatico Autos]