Tag Archives: Acura

Auto Brands Tease the Big Game

It’s more than a week before the Super Bowl and the carmakers advertising in the Super Bowl are rolling out their teasers and actual commercials. Smartly, the brands are upping their exposure  in social media.

Volkswagen of America just released this 1:30 gem teaser it calls “Get Happy,” starring Jamaican regaee legend Jimmy Cliff

 

Love the crying “cat lady” and the whole spot just makes you smile. VW is very smart to push its own web site, vw.com, where it is offering downloads of this exclusive track and directing viewers to #GetHappy. Kudos to Deutsch Los Angeles.

Of course the teaser isn’t necessarily what VW will air in the game on Sunday, Feb. 3. VW fooled us all last year with a whacky teaser of dogs barking the “Star Wars” theme, then in the game ran a Beetle spot of a dog getting in shape so it could chase the car. I do know VW will air a brand spot in the Big Game.

Here it is

I think I prefer the teaser.

“You can be a little bit crazier with the teasers,” CMO and chief product officer Tim Mahoney, told me. And since he’s arrived at VW in spring 2011 he said he and his team has learned that “you can stretch the conversation” about your brand when you release your Super Bowl teaser earlier rather than later. In 2011, VW got several million views for “The Force” Super Bowl spot on YouTube less than a week before the Big Game.

The VW brand has advertised in the Super Bowl since 2010, when it returned after a 9-year hiatus.

Mercedes-Benz is getting a lot of attention for its pre-Super Bowl video for the all-new CLA starring Kate Upton. Uploaded on YouTube on Jan. 21,  the 1:30  attracted an impressive 3 million views by the middle of the day Jan. 24. The commercial, from Merkley + Partners in New York City, is a spoof of a scene from the 1967 prison drama “Cool Hand Luke,” in which a sexy young thing teases the chain-gang guys with a suggestive car wash. Here’s Mercedes’ take

This seems unusual for Mercedes-Benz, but hey, sex sells, right. R&B star Usher will also be in the final ad airing in the fourth quarter.

Mercedes also went big for an earlier teaser too, buying the rights to the Rolling Stones’ “Sympathy for the Devil,” in this video posted just a few days ago on Jan. 19

Meantime, two car brands- Audi and Lincoln- are letting consumers get involved in decisions for their Big Game commercials.

Starting Jan. 25 at midnight for 24 hours, Audi will have people pick one of 3 endings for a :60 Super Bowl commercial. The story line for the 2013 Audi S6 spot is a teen boy at his prom. Somehow that doesn’t sounds very prom-ising.

This still photo from the spot is about all that’s out there now from Audi

AudiTeaser13SuperBowlDoesn’t give us  much to go on, eh? Should make for a wild and crazy week for Audi’s ad agency, Venables Bell & Partners in San Francisco as they edit the most popular ending into the commercial.

Here’s Audi’s final cut 

Ford Motor Co.’s lux Lincoln brand asked Tweeters in December to help it write the Big Game spot for the new MKZ sedan. Lincoln teamed with Jimmy Fallon in videos, in social media, on Twitter at www.Twitter.com/LincolnMotorCo and and via the site steerthescript.com.

On Saturday, Jan. 19 Lincoln released a 1:15 video of sneak peeks of the spot

Hmmm- tortoises, a motorcycle gang, llamas and a UFO? That’s certainly an interesting combo, eh? But only a disappointing 1,506 views on YouTube by this afternoon, Jan. 24.

Lest we forget, Lincoln said back in early December it had signed a deal with with NFL rushing leader and three-time Super Bowl champ Emmitt Smith as a “brand ambassador” for the MKZ launch. So I fully expect to see him in the final cut on Game Day. HudsonRouge in Manhattan is Lincoln’s ad agency.

Lincoln is NOT really a Super Bowl freshman. Lincoln was an advertiser in the Big Game in the mid-90s. And it had an ad buy for the 2005 Super Bowl for the Mark LT pickup truck. But Lincoln pulled out in the eleventh hour after advocacy groups complained it made light of the Catholic Church’s sex scandals. The spot showed a clergyman tempted by the keys to the 2006 pickup left on the collection plate. Instead, Ford used the ad slot during the game for an existing Mustang convertible spot.

The Toyota brand said weeks ago TV actress Kaley Cuoco would star in its Super Bowl spot. Here she is this :36 teaser, dubbed “I Wish,” arrived Jan. 23 on YouTube with the “Big Bang Theory” star and the RAV4

I don’t think this is going to get much attention for Toyota unless the actual :60 commercial airing in the first quarter from Saatchi & Saatchi in Los Angeles really dials things up. The look of this is too similar to the one the ad agency did for the recent launch of the new Toyota Avalon

You just get the idea they wanted to use this cool camera technique. Toyota also turned to social media to woo people for a chance to be in the commercial on game day. And Toyota is a sponsor of the post-game show.

Toyota finally released the in-game commercial

Hyundai still hasn’t officially released its ads or teasers, although I and other members of the media have seen the rough cuts . (You can check out my earlier blog about Hyundai’s Super Bowl ad plans here

http://autoadopolis.wordpress.com/2013/01/23/hyundais-super-bowl-ads-better-than-2012/

This is my favorite among Hyundai’s two in-game spots, called “Stuck” for the Sonata Turbo

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SohqIBOb03k

Here’s the other in-game spot, just released today, called “Team”

Chrysler Group is again keeping a lid on specifics about its ad plans for Super Bowl. But you can pretty much count on something over the top.

Kia, readying its fourth year as a Super Bowl advertiser, seems late to the teaser party. But word is out it bought a :30 slot in the third quarter for the Forte and a minute-long slot in the fourth for the Sorento. DavidandGoliath, Los Angeles, handles. Here’s the teaser, which was released AFTER I originally posted

Car brands that aren’t returning this year are Chevrolet, Honda and Acura.

It’s a shame they’ll miss the big hoopla.

MAKING TRACKS: Ian Marlowe quietly shifted gears on auto accounts last year from group account director on Audi at Venables Bell & Partners in San Francisco to global brand director at TBW on Infiniti in all  markets. Did former Audi of America Prez Johan de Nysschen, now president of Infiniti globally, cherry pick Marlowe?

Follow me, Jean Halliday, on Forbes.com, LinkedIn, Facebook

On Twitter @jhal2001

2012 Car Ad Review

As the curtain opens this week on 2013, it’s time for AutoAdOpolis’ annual year in review. Which carmakers and ad agencies executed outstanding efforts, which had some decent doubles and triples and which were just plain so-so?

Let’s start with the good news.

Chrysler Group scored big with its launch work for the return of the new, modern Dodge Dart. Ad agency Wieden + Kennedy in Portland, really hit it over the fence with this commercial that also debuted the tag line “New Rules”

Not only is this spot clever and witty, the art direction really catches your eye. Plus, this ad actually gives viewers a real sense of the brand.

Chrysler also gets high marks for the commercial for Fiat USA, dubbed “Immigrants” from The Richards Group. The :60 spot, which broke in the summer, hilariously depicts the next-gen 500 arriving to our shores- the hard way.

Like the Dodge spot, this is fun to watch and should put a smile on your face. It’s a perfect way to convey the car’s Italian heritage, which wasn’t the case in 2011 when Chrysler partnered with Jennifer Lopez for Fiat ads- a total disconnect that looked more like a music video for her new song than a spot for the car.

Both the Dart and 500 spots spotlight music from popular artists, a tactic preferred by Chrysler Group CMO Olivier Francois to grab viewers’ attention. The song in the Dodge ad is “No Church in the Wild” by J-Z and Kanye. The Fiat commercial pushed the new “Sexy People” single from Pitbull featuring Arianna. In neither case do the songs overpower the commercials.

Speaking of smiling, how about Volkswagen of America’s brand blitz that bowed with the :30 spot called “Smiles,” showing people of all ages laughing. There are no cars in this brilliant commercial from Deutsch in Los Angeles. It really captures the essence of the brand with the line “it’s not the miles, you how you live them.” The spot directs viewers to the whyvw.com sites, where they can post stories about their VWs or learn more about the cars from other owners and from VW.

Quite a brave move for a car marketer to not show a car in an ad, so kudos to VW’s CMO and chief product officer Tim Mahoney and his right-hand man Kevin Mayer, VP-marketing.

One of the most memorable spots that didn’t show a car was Jeep’s award-winning 1994 commercial, dubbed “Snow Covered” from the now-defunct Bozell in Southfield, Michigan.

Audi of America, which has been one of the industry’s best and most consistent advertisers in terms of creative, hits it out of the park again early in 2012 with a spot called “Ahab” for its all-wheel-drive Quattro system. The commercial spoofs Herman Melville’s epic sea captain character in search of an elusive whale with a northern tow truck operator and his frustration with never “hooking” an Audi with Quattro stuck in the snow. A very smart and entertaining execution from Venables Bell & Partners in San Francisco.

While we’re on Audi, the brand’s Super Bowl “Vampire” commercial for its LED headlights did the best among all the top 10 spots in the 2012 Big Game, ranking 7th for Most Liked, according to Nielsen consumer research the best showing for any carmaker. The commercial was certainly over the top and tapped into the nation’s current craze for vampires.

Audi also ranked highly in my 2011 review. 

It was good to see American Honda Motor Co. raising the creative bar for both its brands in the Super Bowl. The Honda CR-V commercial starred Matthew Broderick spoofing his role in the flick “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off.”

The commercial was one of the best from RPA in Santa Monica for Honda in a long time and blew away the earlier launch work for the CR-V. The spot ranked 10th Most Liked among all Super Bowl ads by Nielsen research,.

The automaker’s first-ever Super Bowl commercial for Acura was also a hit. In the Big Game, a media outlet where advertisers need to go big or be invisible, Acura met the challenge with a funny spot for the NSX starring funny men and car nuts Jerry Seinfeld and Jay Leno. USA Today’s AdMeter, based on consumer voting for their favorite Super Bowl ad on Facebook in 2012, ranked Acura’s spot number 13 and Honda’s 16.

Unfortunately, Honda and Acura’s over-the-top Super Bowl commercials weren’t enough to keep their ad agencies, RPA and sibling rp&, both in Santa Monica, out of the hot seat. Both accounts recently went into review.

Toyota Motor USA’s Lexus brand also made some inroads into improving creative with the launch of the new 2013 ES and first ES Hybrid. One of the launch commercials, dubbed “Split World” grabbed your attention with special effects and a script that made sense. Bravo to Brian Smith, VP-marketing at Lexus and kudos to Team One

Sister brand Toyota still isn’t there yet. But Toyota’s “Real Owners. Real Stories” TV commercial for the Camry, with online video assets and accompanying web site is not only well done, but is getting tons of input. Toyota figured out how to tweak a year-old site for the Camry launch and took it up a few notches

When it comes to Ford Motor Co., its Ford brand has had some of the most consistent work in the category all year. The advertising from TeamDetroit in Dearborn is visually interesting, makes relevant points and is strategic without shoving people’s faces into it.

Take this launch commercial for the 2013 Fusion. Great way to bring to life the Big Idea of standing out from rivals, which disappear.

Let’s look at Hyundai Motor America. After a pretty decent run with some of the best ads in the industry, seems too many of Hyundai’s ads are getting a bit formulaic. The brand’s Super Bowl commercials, from Innocean Worldwide Americas in Huntington Beach, California, were nothing to write home about.

There are some signs of improvement with the September launch work for the 2013 Sante Fe, themed “Don’t Tell” mom or dad

Shows there are still signs of creative life at the ad agency and at Hyundai.

I’d like to recognize Cadillac as one of the most improved auto advertisers. After a less-than-stellar appearance in the 2012 Super Bowl, General Motors’ lux brand blew out of the gates with impressive summer launch work for the new ATS compact sedan. The work, from Fallon, Minneapolis, was themed “Cadillac ATS vs. The World,” showing how the car performs on some of the ing on and some of the planet’s wildest and most challenging roads. Cadillac smartly posted lots of behind-the-scenes videos on YouTube, as well as links on Facebook and elsewhere.

Keep it up! We’d like to see all of Cadillac’s sibling brands take it up a notch also. Although there were some break-out ads for Chevrolet last year, there simply haven’t been enough of them.

Note to GM and its ad chiefs: Please take some risks!

Looking forward to seeing more break-through work from all auto advertisers in this New Year.

MAKING TRACKS: Steve Rosenblum recently started as general manager of Publicis Kaplan Thaler in Manhattan, which handles the account for the Tri State Honda Dealers Association. Rosenblum had been consulting since leaving General Motors in late 2011 after 15 years in various ad and marketing positions.

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and on Twitter @jhal2001

Honda’s US Ad Agency Pitch: Rigged??

American Honda Motor Co. has called a review for both its Honda and Acura brands in the USA, encompassing creative, media buying and planning.

The surprise isn’t that a review has been called. It’s that it has taken this long to happen.

Other than a few bright advertising stars in recent years, including the boffo Super Bowl commercials for both Honda and Acura in 2012, the work hasn’t exactly set the world on fire.

I don’t place all the blame on the incumbents: Honda’s longtime agency of record, RPA in Santa Monica, and rp&, its sister arm on Acura. The clients, after all, kept approving their work year in and year out. An example of the industry adage : a client getting the work it deserves. The incumbent agencies will defend their biggest accounts.

But it doesn’t look good for the home teams. There’s already some skeptics – not at the incumbents- grumbling that the review is a set-up. The skeptics posit that   giant Japanese ad agency Dentsu, which  handles Honda in its home market there, will manage to steer the account to its McGarryBowen agency network.

It’s never wise to discount the pull an agency has with the client at the mother ship. The marketing brass at the corporate offices of many a global car company are close to the execs at their shops in the mother land and they also, from time to time, like to flex their brass muscles to make sweeping worldwide moves.

Dentsu’s Tokyo office won a Cyber Lion in Cannes in June for the work it did for Honda in Japan. Think THAT doesn’t impress the mother ship?

This summer, Dentsu’s McGarryBowen office in London managed to win the pitch for Honda’s  pan-European launch of the CR-V, besting 5 other shops, including Wieden & Kennedy in the UK. The huge win was the agency’s first since parent Dentsu changed the name of its European offices from Dentsu to McGarryBowen earlier this year. Dentsu acquired the 6-year-old McGarryBown agency in 2008.

What other agencies have won at Cannes for Honda?

Well Wieden, natch, whose most memorable  Honda work in Europe has to be this UK spot called  “Cog,” which won a Gold Lion in Cannes in 2003

RPA’s last Cannes win for Honda? Anyone?

Other than this year’s Super Bowl commercials, one of my favorite Honda spots in recent years from RPA was for the Element in 2006, featuring that delightful crab named Gil, who later ended up with a big life all his own in social media

This work was perfect for the Element’s young target audience and cut through the clutter.

It’s never a good time for an agency review and is going to cause lots of stress for the folks at RPA and rp&, especially during the holidays. Best of luck!

MAKING TRACKS: Joel Ewanick lands at Fisker Automotive as the acting head of global marketing and sales, while the car company looks for a full-time replacement. Not surprised to see him land so quickly. He was pushed out of General Motors in the summer after a little over 2 years at the automaker as global CMO. Ewanick succeeds Richard Beattie, who retired from Fisker after a long career in the car business with stints at Jaguar, Mazda and Ford.

Find me, Jean Halliday, on LinkedIn, Facebook and Forbes.com

On Twitter: @jhal2001

Most Effective Car TV Ads

So what are THE MOST EFFECTIVE national car commercials? Nielsen’s Automotive group announced the winners in Manhattan recently during the press days of the New York auto show. It was the sixth straight year Nielsen has honored the most remembered messages, most  liked along with brand and model recall.

You might be surprised by some of the winners in the bunch for calendar 2011. If you are, please post a comment.

Let’s take a look

Lexus took home the prize in the Best Sales Event category- for its “December To Remember” year-end clearance. Lexus has used this sales theme for years, along with the giant red ribbon. Team One in  El Segundo, California, is Lexus’ longtime ad agency

In the Luxury category, Nielsen tapped Acura for the Best Campaign of the year. The so-called “Aggression” campaign launched the 20112 TL. rp& in Santa Monica is Acura’s ad agency. Here’s one spot from rp& in Santa Monica starring Calvin Johnson of the Detroit Lions


Another other spot in the TL blitz featured Ashleigh McIvor, a 2010 Olympic Gold medal skier

Haven’t been a big fan of Acura advertising for some time. And although I’m not enthralled with the above award-winning TL work, I did really like Acura’s Super Bowl over-the-top commercial this year with Seinfeld and Leno. This more recent spot, for the launch of the new 2013 RDX is one of my current auto favs and shows how Acura and rd& are improving the work

Toyota won Nielsen’s most effective Hispanic TV advertiser for a Corolla spot from Conill called “Memories.” You should be able to see it here

 

The other winner was the Ford brand for the Green Award. (Sorry, but I was unable to secure this spot). The Ford work, featuring an actual owner named Ivan, was created by TeamDetroit in Dearborn, Michigan.

The car TV commercial with the highest Nielsen scores, and thus catapulting it to win Best of Show is… Chevrolet, for “The Salute” commercial

Nielsen Global Automotive’s Exec VP Ian Beavis, described this spot as  “very emotional” and one that “clearly broke through” the clutter.

Chevy’s winning Equinox spot was from filmmaker Ben Alagna, not the brand’s 2011 agency of record Goodby, Silverstein & Partners. Alagna entered a short video contest sponsored by Chevrolet and Mofilm and took third place. The spot also did well at the New York Tribeca Film Festival last year.

While we’re on Chevy, let’s take a look at some new work for the Malibu Eco from Goodby

Anyone else out there who finds this spot too long and too silly?

I prefer this one for the Malibu Eco

Have you seen this commercial for Toyota from Australia themed “Tougher than you can imagine” for the Hilux pickup?

Now that’s a bit of fun, eh mate? Anyone want to predict how effective it will be?

MAKING TRACKS:  Jack Valente, who was the client leader at Mindshare on the Ford account, moved to InStadium as Sen VP-national business development.

Find me, Jean Halliday, on Facebook and LinkedIn or follow me on Twitter @jhal2001

Help Wanted: Luxury Brand Advertising

Someone call the ad police!

There’s too many crimes being committed against some luxury car brands.

One example is Toyota’s Lexus brand, a proven player that recently topped J.D. Power’s 2012 CSI ranking in the lux won segment for the fourth straight year.

Here’s the brand’s latest television spot for the new 2013 GS from TeamOne in El Segundo

 

Sorry, folks, but this commercial is a big snoozer that doesn’t do justice to this brand, just like the spot Lexus ran during the Super Bowl this year.

Could these yawn-worthy ads be part of the reason buyer consideration for Lexus is down 11% in the first two months of the year compared to a year ago, according to CNW’s Purchase Path Studies? Lexus also made a big deal about its official marketing partnership with Sports Illustrated magazine’s swimsuit property. It was a no-brainer for Lexus to have a four-page spread in the issue.  Bu the brand also backed several related events,  offered custom integrations for digital tablets and created an iPhone game.

The wildest tie-in was the racetrack Lexus created in the shape of swimsuit model Tori Praver’s body. Consumers can watch online videos of pro drivers zooming around that so-called TORI 500 track or use a camera app to put Tori in their own photos.

No secret Lexus is trying to attract younger males, saying in its press release that the annual SI Swimsuit hoopla reaches more than 70 million people and more men between the ages of 18 and 34 than the Super Bowl.

Lexus isn’t the only offender.

Let’s move onto Cadillac, which  is still airing this commercial for the CTS-V coupe from Fallon that broke last fall

Oh dear. We get the main point Caddy is trying to make here in this :60 spot. But why waste precious seconds with the silly valet tipping scene? That part I don’t get…and if you do please explain it to me.

Despite a slew of lackluster advertising, including a poor showing in the Super Bowl, the GM brand has managed to increase buyer consideration by 6% in January and February vs. the same year-ago period, CNW says.

Congrats Caddy, but please juice up your advertising.

Another lux maker with so-so messaging is Acura, which has had a long string of irrelevant ads with the exception of its over-the-top Seinfeld-Leno Super Bowl spot for the NSX.

Acura just posted its upcoming commercial for the 2013 RDX on YouTube, part of a multi-media partnership with Marvel’s “The Avengers” flick, arriving May 4 in theaters

rp&, a division of the Honda brand’s ad agency RPA in Santa Monica, handles Acura

Consideration for Acura slid by 19% in the first two months of 2012 compared to a year ago, CNW says.

Making some progress, but not there yet, is Nissan’s Infiniti brand, which just launched its new JX crossover with new work from TBWA/Chiat/Day.

Have a gander

Not a big fan of features’ advertising, but the backup collision intervention system seems worth crowing about.

Infiniti couldn’t resist  throwing in the third-row seating in the same spot too!

After losing its way for a while, BMW has made great progress with the launch work for the new 3 Series. Love the humor in this one from Kirshenbaum Bond Senecal + Partners

What a fun way to highlight a feature and sure to get chuckles from men who aren’t on the best of terms with their mothers-in-law.

Glad to see BMW making a strong push back to its “Ultimate Driving Machine” ad tag.

As far as the offenders, in at least one case, which I won’t call out, the top marketer is really a sales pro. Moving sales folks into marketing slots is a common industry tradition. But it’s not smart. As I have often told top OEM execs : “You wouldn’t  put a finance expert in charge of design, so why do you  think it’s OK to put a sales person in the top marketing job?”

Sales and marketing, although  usually lumped together in one silo, require  vastly different skill sets. And in today’s increasingly complex communications world, companies with experienced, trained ad pros certainly seem to outperform  their rivals.

It is amazing to me that OEMs still fail to realize this.

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*This post first appeared as Jean Halliday’s Ad Rap in CNW’s monthly, subscriber-only newsletter.