Marketing Fiascos

In anticipation of the annual Geneva Auto Show, several car manufacturers have attempted to hype up this week's unveilings. The Geneva auto show is known as the biggest and most spectacular in terms of the quality and quantity of new cars presented. This year's line-up is exceptionally star studded with the Pagani Hyuara, Ferrari FF, Lamborghini Aventador, Aston Martin Virage, Jaguar XKR-S all being shown to the public for the very first time. How do they create hype? Through super sneaky marketing strategies.
What was BMW thinking?

Who does it best, and who does it the worst? Well, Lamborghini, Ferrari, and Pagani have had similar strategies this year; unveiling their supercars one small teaser picture or video at a time. Each information or image leak would be meticulously calculated to reveal just enough to catch your interest, but not enough to not keep you waiting for the next clue. Aston Martin and Jaguar on the other hand, decided to just completely surprise us with this weeks unveilings of the Virage and the breathtaking XKR-S. Both strategies work, and they definitely do not annoy or alienate any existing or potential customers.

How to get 95% of England
to hate Audi.
However it's not all lollypops and rainbows in the world of automotive marketing. Take for instance, BMW, who decided that giving half the cast of Jersey Shore a BMW 3 series coupe was a great idea. Or Audi, who for some inexplicable reason thought everyone in the UK would buy an Audi if they supported the most hated soccer team in the country; Manchester United. Sure it's the most famous, but it's also the most hated, and why they chose to support a minority segment of the market and infuriate the majority is beyond me.

Another great example of a disastrous marketing campaign is Nissan's recent promotional stunt involving the GTR. Although they've done a fair job at making Porsche look bad on the Nurburgring with (later on admitted) false lap times, this time they've really made a hash of things. Yesterday publicized a video of two blondes in a GTR, driving around Germany in search of 911 Porsches. Once they found a 911, they placed a static adhering see through plastic shield on the front windshield, giving off the impression that a GTR was driving away in the far distance. Clever? Not quite, as it would annoy the Porsche drivers, known to be exceptionally brand loyal, and quite literally make them hate Nissan for vandalizing their Porsches.

 My advise for the failing marketing teams? Keep it simple. When I think of my all time favorite car commercials, the following two clips immediately spring to mind.
  • E39 BMW M5 filming the fastest car in the world. It's witty, unexpected, and impressive. The end of the clip shows a dusty black M5 with the caption: "The fastest saloon car on the planet." Now that's a commercial. Here's the link: M5 Land Speed Record Commercial
  • Lamborghini Miura. Although not an official commercial, the opening scene of the original Italian Job was in my opinion the only thing that kept Lamborghini from bankruptcy during the 70's. Here's the clip: Opening Scene of the original Italian Job (1969) Enjoy the elegant 1970's Italian music!
And just for fun, here's possibly the most controversial commercial every aired on television. By none other than Volkswagen. Volkswagen Polo Commercial - Banned