Archive for July, 2010

www.momentoftruth.com—Buick on the cusp of a marketing breakthrough!

Friday, July 30th, 2010

How many times have I sat in meetings with manufacturers and discussed the need to get consumers engaged with their brand in the digital space? Too many times to count and the concerns are always the same.  What if they say things we don’t like?  What if they say something untrue?  What will they expect of us?  How will we respond? Inevitably the lawyers weigh-in and the reasons “why not” stack up like cordwood.

So I think it noteworthy that Buick has found a way to get beyond the reasons “why not” and to give consumers an uncensored voice regarding the new Buick Regal at www.momentoftruth.com.  This is a terrific website with tons of information from a variety of sources, the company, general media, buff books, blogs and real consumers.  The use of Twitter and Facebook feeds, Youtube videos and Flickr is terrific and makes the site feel very credible.  The net effect is that you feel as if you’re getting a chance to see the entire body of opinion regarding the new Buick Regal in one stop.

GM is using technology that searches the web for mentions of the Buick Regal, aggregates it, edits out the profane and posts the rest. The result is really fun and full of interesting commentary.  It’s not quite a dialogue with consumers but it’s a step in the right direction.

I admit that I had to wade through a lot of positive comments to find the few negative ones, but they’re there.

Good for Buick, maybe the reality is that most of the response to their new vehicle is positive!

How “naughty” do you want your Volvo?

Thursday, July 29th, 2010

Volvo has, since the ’70s  all but owned “safety” in the automotive segment.  Not a bad place to be…do you know anyone who’d prefer an unsafe car?

Brilliant work by Scali, McCabe, Sloves took Volvo from the choice of professors in tweed jackets to the boomer choice for family hauling. The Volvo wagon was a staple in the suburbs on both coasts.  Volvo was even featured in the movie “Crazy People” where Dudley Moore played an ad man who decided that being honest was a good idea and suggested that Volvos were “Boxy but good:

While the brand became part of popular culture and owned safety, it has struggled with that one-dimensional view for years. Volvo has its loyalists who love the brand and it’s products but it also has more than its share of detractors for whom the truth of “boxy but good” was a real barrier to purchase.  The challenge has always been how do you retain and nurture the safety reputation while also convincing a broader swath of the car buying population that the brand is cool and emotionally appealing. (more…)

Corvette vs. Jeep Grand Cherokee. Ads not product.

Thursday, July 22nd, 2010

We wouldn’t expect one of the buff books to have a comparo between the 2011 Corvette and the 2011 Jeep Grand Cherokee but in marketing circles there’s an active discussion going on comparing their new advertising.

Chrysler’s new ad for the Jeep Grand Cherokee first appeared about a month ago and seeks to stir Americans’ pride in our heritage as builders and innovators:

Chevrolet’s new ad for Corvette appeared last week on the All-Star game and draws a parallel between our country’s space program and the 2011 Corvette:

Some critics have gone as far as saying that Chevrolet should not have aired the Corvette commercial because it was too similar to the Jeep spot.  There are certainly similarities between the executions. (more…)

2011 Jeep Grand Cherokee: “Imagined, drawn, carved, stamped, hewn and forged here in America.” Sort of.

Monday, July 12th, 2010

Jeep is introducing the 2011 Grand Cherokee and it seems it is quite a vehicle:

“The newest generation of Jeep’s iconic luxury SUV can still rock-crawl with the best of them, but it looks a whole lot nicer doing it, both inside and out.”  AutoWeek  7/5/10

The new advertising is impressive and seeks to re-invigorate some distinctly American values:

Let’s face it, as Americans we are feeling a little down.  The worst recession in generations is a big part of the problem.  Nagging unemployment, a recovery that is sputtering and concern over the looming deficit are not helping.

So I think Jeep’s strategy of appealing to values we all hold dear makes some sense. What American isn’t proud of our heritage as a “nation of builders, craftsmen, men and women for whom straight stitches and clean welds are a matter of pride.”  We built the railroads, invented the airplane, built the Empire State Building, and created the original Jeep.

The idea that “the things that make us American are the things we make” strikes an emotional cord.  A cord that makes us feel proud, and right now a little pride would help.  The Jeep Grand Cherokee is something we can all be proud of because it was “imagined, drawn, carved, stamped, hewn and forged here in America.”

Powerful stuff, beautifully executed, leaves the viewer saying “yeah, bring it on.”

Only two things bother me about this commercial. (more…)

SAAB is re-building its brand after years of neglect.

Wednesday, July 7th, 2010

Now that SAAB has shed the shackles of General Motors they are getting on with the business of re-building the brand.

Two weeks ago they announced (NYT’s 6/22/10) that they have hired a new head designer who has said that: “We want to return to the Saab DNA.” Just last week they announced (Media Post 6/29/10) that they were ramping up marketing investment, going back on TV and in print with a new campaign.

After years of being part of GM where the SAAB brand was neither appreciated nor nourished it appears to be getting it’s footing back. The SAAB brand has always stood for independence and a willingness to break convention.  SAAB has always had a devoted group of loyalists, some of whom played a vocal role in the brand’s most recent resurrection, PGM (Post General Motors).  Historically, SAAB has had all the foundation stones of a great automotive brand; a point-of-view, good interesting product, a genuine enthusiast group willing to proselytize, a group of loyal owners and marketing that conveyed its essential character.

As part of the GM stable of brands, SAAB’s essential character became a barrier to increased sales volumes.  “Different” didn’t mean special or unique, it became “quirky” or “weird.”  As we all know, very few people buy “quirky” or “weird.”  So SAAB product became less distinct, not necessarily bad, just less unique.  SAAB’s marketing also became more expected, more traditional.  Consumers were subjected to campaign after campaign that hung its hat on the idea that SAAB also makes jets…as if that was ever what the car company was about.

Last week this all changed.   (more…)