Posts tagged advertising
Citroen have released a set of new videos to showcase the new DS4 crossover vehicle. It looks like a massive coupe but it has five doors and a high ride height. It has lots of headroom, like an MPV, but less bootspace than the C4 it is based on, and the spiky rear windows don’t open.
So we get why Citroen have decided to play the “non-conformist” card and brag about how their car breaks the mould. What mystifies me slightly more is their choice of videos to illustrate their point. Let’s have a look at them:
A man parkours down a flight of steps in a dingy warehouse with a DS4 at the bottom.
Five years ago, you might have accepted this, but free-running went mainstream a long while ago.
A DS4 is parked in a dingy warehouse. A video installation of abstract, rapidly changing images is projected onto its side.
Definitely not. I think if I were an artist working in the medium of video, I would be quite upset by this. There is no originality to the set-up – in fact it is a hackneyed stereotypical installation.
Some DS4s are in a dingy warehouse. A striking young lady walks past the cars and some floodlights in a succession of edgy outfits of various styles.
Well this is a fashion show. A standard fashion set-up. Once again Citroen are using a stereotypical interpretation of a creative discipline to illustrate how subversive and ‘different’ they are.
A dingy warehouse. A man retrieves a drum from the boot of the DS4 (The only shot of the interior). More drummers join him in a demonstration of traditional rhythms and percussive noise. The man replaces his drum in the boot.
Well I will give you this, Citroen – it isn’t mainstream music. But it is traditional. It is non-conformist in the same way that Morris Dancing is. Is that what you are going for? Perhaps it is.
I find these videos rather disappointing, because they have ultimately taught me nothing about the car, and the message they are intended to convey is hopelessly lost in the lazy and unimaginative way they have been executed.
Mercedes have taken an (almost) entirely new direction with the new A Class. In a stark departure from the twin-floor, high roof layout of its W168 and W169 predecesssors, which fit the cabin space of an E-Class into the floor space of a Ford Ka, the new car is going for more mainstream appeal.
Designated the W176, the new A-Class is pitched squarely at the VW Golf segment, taking on not just the Golf, but the A3, 1-Series and other premium family hatches. Aimed at 30-40 year old professionals, some have said, that it looks a lot like an Opel Corsa. In fairness it is quite a good looking car. Fans of the old A-Class may prefer the new W246 B-Class which has the twin floor high-box design, although.
I think Mercedes Benz are running a real risk in changing the type of car that the name refers to, although I’m sure a Golf-sized product makes perfect sense in their range, and it may be that, at least in part, this decision came about as a result of the well publicised difficulties they had in securing partners for the A-Class project.
To introduce the W176, Mercedes have released this interesting ad, featuring Jessica Stam, who, I am told, is no relation to Jaap, the Dutch centre-half. Apparently she is Canadian, in fact. She appears to have become lost in an industrial estate on a Sunday, but fortunately she is able to scoot under a garage door and hug an A-Class for warmth.
Car Magazine currently has more information than appears on the MB site, whereas Autocar whets our appetite for a 2013 debut of the AMG version of the new A Class, featuring four wheel drive and 320bhp of fun.
I’ve seen this ad, produced by Sussex Safer Roads partnerships, three times in the last few days, so the chances are, you may have already seen it too. But the message it shares is so important, and the method of delivery so subtle, mouldbreaking and inspired, that if even one more person sees it and passes it on, it is worthwhile to share again.
It is called ‘Embrace Life’ and its sole purpose is to persuade you to always wear a seatbelt. You’d think that would be easy, given the proportion of car occupant fatalities who didn’t belt up, but the problem, which I’ve just illustrated is that to get the message across you have to talk about death, injury and crashes. And when you do that, people switch off. No-one thinks it will happen to them. And even having seen a graphic portrayal of the gruesome results of failing to clunk-click, the intended recipient of the message has dissociated the ad from their own life.
What this film does, is to come at the problem from a different angle, and with an impact that is emotional without being scary or sensational. I think the experience may vary from person to person, some may cry, others may feel uplifted, but I defy anyone not to be moved in some way.
Daniel Cox, the writer-director has this to say:
“It was central to the development of the project that we root the concept of wearing a seat belt firmly in the family domain, and create the advert so that it could be viewed by anyone of any age. Children are so important as opinion formers within their family that we felt it imperative to have a child take a pivotal role in relaying our message. One key aspect to the storytelling is that we developed Embrace Life to be non-language specific, so that the message wouldn’t become lost when viewed by visitors to, or residents of, the UK where English might not be their first language.”
I’ve waffled enough. Watch the ad.
Although everyone seems to be talking about Google’s superbowl advert, another ad that received its premiere outing last night was the latest from Audi. Now, in Europe, Audi aren’t really perceived as a ‘fun’ brand, and their ads tend to be somewhat portentous, with a focus on patents, technology and innovation – Vorsprung Durch Technik and all that.
But American audiences knew they were in for a treat when this teaser spot appeared (And yes, that does mean that superbowl ads are big enough to have their own ads!)
Yes, the Green Police are here, and, with tongue seemingly planted in cheek, they are going to stop you from breaking the planet. Unless you own an Audi A3 turbodiesel.
I love all the attention to detail in this ad, as it simultaneously pokes fun at the green movement, the law enforcement community and US reality TV all married to a Gillette-esque Power Jingle. Despite this it manages not to undermine the environmental messages. And compared to the petrol-engined gas-guzzlers favoured by the American people, a TDi is ultra-green. So much so the the A3 TDi is the current Green Car of the Year (beating the Prius and Insight, presumably on the grounds that normal folk might buy it).
Police in Kent have come under fire following their controversial scheme to stop car crime. Officers have been placing “fake” parking tickets on cars with visible valuables left inside the vehicle. When opened, the parking ticket actually advises the driver to be more aware next time they leave personal items on show in their car.
Locals have complained that this actually attracts criminals to the car, despite the official figures indicating a 20% drop in car crime since the scheme went live.
So is this a good or bad idea? I am of the opinion it’s just another visual aid directing criminals to the Sat Nav left on a car seat!
We should all take more care when leaving the car, I always find myself moaning at friends and family when they leave bags and coats on show… the usual reply is “no-one will steal that”! It is better to be safe than sorry… but do we really need a huge yellow sticker on the windscreen advertising our stupidity?
BMW have become renowned in recent years for their annual April Fool’s pranks. This year’s is a classic. Yesterday saw adverts promoting their ‘Magnetic Tow Technology,’ the premise being that a strong magnet would ‘lock on’ to the car ahead and let it drag you along.
As they say “Why burn your fuel, when you can burn someone else’s?”. Click the picture to view a bigger version:
You can view BMWs archive of classic April Fool’s day adverts here. This is where you can find out about previous ‘innovations’ like the “Canine Repellent Alloy Protection” and “Photo Reflective Aural Transmissions.”
If only the ads in the UK were as good as these, from Dutch insurance company Centraal Beheer of Appeldoorn. Why can’t Churchill, Admiral and Hastings come up with anything remotely as entertaining as these?
Norwich Union sorry, Aviva* have announced that they are pulling the plug on their Pay As You Drive Car Insurance product, after disappointing sales and low take up of their tracking technology.
The idea behind PAYD is that you install some GPS telemetry gubbins in your car, so that Norwich Union can track where you go, when you go and how you get there, and in return they charge you a variable rate per hour of between 5p a mile and £1 a mile, depending on whether you’re on a leisurely drive through the Cotswolds at noon or caning it through Brixton at midnight.
The problems with this are manifold. Do you really want your insurer to know how fast you are driving on every occasion, where you go to regularly? Privacy is a major concern for many people with any kind of pay as you drive mechanism, and who is to say what NU would use the info for, or even if they’ll sell it to the highest bidder?
Even Norwich Union’s own marketing spiel could only come out with a statistic as underwhelming as this :
“24% of “Pay As You Drive”™ Pilot customers would have saved up to 30% compared to a standard Norwich Union Motor Insurance premium”
I’m not sure if that means that 76% were worse off, or no better off for choosing PAYD, but in any case you would expect bigger savings than this from the hot air they spouted when they launched the product.
In any case, ans as we previously pointed out, a limited mileage policy is a better, lower tech solution for most young drivers, and offers the added advantage of a set monthly bill, so no sudden stings or big fluctuations when you have to travel more than in an average month (like many students travelling long distances a couple of times per term.) What’s more, in many cases the savings with a limited mileage policy can be quite substantial, and you don’t have to worry about fitting an ugly black box to your pride and joy. (Hmm. I wonder if you have to declare a telematics unit as a modification.)
Despite Aviva’s attempt to spin this failure as a result of fears of a surveillance society, I think the real problem is that the product was quite gimmicky and did not in fact offer drivers an attractive way of using their cars, and so it was doomed to failure.
The 10,000 policyholders are now being substituted onto other policies, which means in a week or two we will be seeing uproar on the forums as someone gets stung for a massive premium increase. Oh dear.
*(incidentally, we told you that piece of news aaaages ago – before they did, in fact)
If you thought the wall to wall car insurance adverts on daytime tv, were bad, wait till you see what our American cousins have to watch in their commercial breaks. This advert is worse – much worse – than anything Admiral, Confused, Elephant or even Hastings Direct have ever put out.
Having said that, for all that it is really, really bad, it is still, somehow, less annoying than Harry Hastings, the Admiral and their drama school reject chums who clutter up the British airwaves.
Weirdly, their website looks completely nondescript and corporate!
It looks like Norwich Union’s days are numbered.
Parent company Aviva have decided that in the interest of maintaining the same brand across the world, the Norwich Union brand has to go. They had previously said they would retain it.
Cue a massive marketing spend on the rebrand, and higher premiums to pay for it, no doubt. I can’t imagine the reasoning behind replacing a brand as strong as Norwich Union, which is almost synonymous with insurance with an unknown quantity like Aviva. Sounds like a recipe for disaster to me.