April 01, 2005
Brave new world of car ads
Copenhagen is the centre of the up-coming launch of the new VW Fox. Pictures of a uniquely build Hotel Fox, Club Fox and Studio Fox has been virally distributed around the world. It’s quite spectacular with its 61 rooms designed by 21 different artists including their free reign to do whatever they want with furniture, carpets and wallpaper. I just drove by and it looks very cool actually.
This is just one of the latest examples of how the automotive industry with its lack of product differentiation and origins from the same basic models are being innovative first and foremost in their marketing mix.
The automotive category holds a dominant position in the world of advertising. Hence it’s natural high involvement amongst its customers the potential is obviously there for marketers to create engaging and involving communication. It all started with a certain Mr. Bernbach shaking it up for VW. Although we still see a lot of dull car ads with the same panning over a ride in Mojave Desert or the hills of South Spain the category as a whole seems increasingly marketing savvy.
First we saw the great mini movies from BMW later followed films and online adventures from Honda (they keep coming with new terrific dramas from “cog” to “grrr” to the latest animated spot for the Honda FR-V), BMW’s Mini, Mercedes, Audi and Volvo. Even less progressive brands like Ford, Toyota have glimpsed and we have even seen a French dancing robot from Citröen. VW are off course on track with strong campaigns including both the latest Gene Kelly going hip hop in the streets and also more unintended and critical with the un-authorized Lee & Dan VW Polo Suicide Ad.
Allegedly the next big thing in automotive marketing circuit is Brand TV and breakthrough branded entertainment. Both Audi and VW (A deal with NBC is reported to be worth $200 million for the network) are supposed to be on its way with television.
What will be next?