Tag Archives: Automobile

Does good advertising matter?

Driving around metro Atlanta with my kids is always entertaining, and their observations could be educational for advertisers as well.

Take, for example, a campaign that recently ran for a local company called Superior Plumbing.  My daughter gets irate every time she sees one of their outdoor boards, proclaiming loudly that she would never do business with someone who produced such stupid ads.  Such as,

“Talking about poo in your ads is just not right, Mom,” she says.  “Yes it is.  It’s awesome!” says my son.

Another is Fidelity Bank, a local Atlanta bank with a lion in their logo.  Apparently, they decided that they were going to be “the lion bank” because I guess they couldn’t figure out anything else to say that was differentiating.  So after seeing this board…

…the conversation goes like this:

Daughter:  “’Hunting for a loan?’ Is that really the best they could come up with, Mom? You’re in advertising – do you like it?”    Son:  “Cool lion.”

Me:  “Yes, it’s a nice-looking lion, but no, I don’t like it.  You see, marketers are supposed to be able to say what makes them unique and give people a reason to want to do business with them.  It’s called differentiation, and…”

Daughter, interrupting:  “Yeah yeah, I got it.  When can we go to H&M to use my gift card?”

Son, shouting:  “Punchbuggy!!!!”  Then, “Oh look, another Mustang. Mom, you should totally buy one of those.  They’re really awesome cars.  I like red.”

Moral of the story?  Kids may have short attention spans, but they are paying attention, whether your brand is relevant to them now or not.  And today’s kids are tomorrow’s jaded consumers.  They’re smarter than you think, and they have long memories.  Work hard at creating something that makes you worthy of their future earnings.  It’s your doody.

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B2B: “Boring 2 Brash”

What is B2B advertising notorious for?  Print advertising and trade shows.  Lots of information, uncreative messaging, unimaginative layouts, and rational appeals.  Just plain boring, boring, boring.  You know what I’m talking about.  It’s everything that consumer-facing advertising is not.

But it doesn’t have to be that way.  Case in point:

Manheim is the world’s largest provider of vehicle remarketing services.  They have set the standard for establishing a reliable environment for buyi ng and selling vehicles at auctions and online.  Their primary target: car dealers.  Like other companies, Manheim has traditionally reached car dealers via trade shows and trade pubs.

Guess what?  Times have changed.  Customers in the digital age expect dynamic and engaging communications, whether that target is a college student, a soccer mom, or a car dealer.  Not surprisingly, eMarketer predicts a very strong resurgence in online media.  Manheim is on top of this trend and has begun to shift the way they deliver their message.

Kilgannon developed a campaign for Manheim built around a brand video and interactive Web site.

The Web site provides dealers the opportunity to engage the brand: see and hear individual buyer and seller videos, download white papers, access other valuable resources, view instructional videos, check out upcoming events, vote in a dealer survey, and, of course, access Manheim’s online transactional tools.  Short versions of the videos will also run in news pre-roll and online flash banners across a variety of Web sites, including www.autonews.com, www.automotivedigest.com, www.autoremarketing.com.  Additional promotional elements, such as e-blasts, in-lane auction elements, and print, extend the presence and also drive dealers to the Web site.

But the new world of B2B marketing doesn’t stop there.  It must also be accountable.  Kilgannon will measure the effectiveness of the campaign via a Scorecard focused on a wide range of perceptual and engagement metrics, from readership studies and customized brand research to site traffic and video views.

If you’re still thinking that B2B is boring, be brash and think again.

— Gary Sayers, VP, Account Director


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Marketing’s Holy Grail

Target audience insight. It’s the “who” of effective marketing strategy. It inspires creative teams to greatness. It makes the difference between good communications and powerful engagement. In short, it’s the Holy Grail to many marketers. Yet the quest to find it can be worthy of an Indiana Jones sequel.

Identifying your target audience is easy. Many strategies simply label the target – Moms. Adults age 25-54. C-level executives. Better strategies dig a layer deeper, describing something about them — Moms who are frustrated because their kids won’t eat healthy foods. Adults age 25-54 who own a car. C-level executives who love golf.

These phrases do describe the target audience, but they still only crack the surface. Where’s the insight? Insight results from painting a complete picture of your target, viewing the world through their eyes.

As an experiment, I recently asked Marketing Discussion Board, How would you describe your job in language a 5-year-old could understand? The responses included:

“I make some of the commercials that you see on TV and in mommy’s magazines.”

“I do things that make people happy to buy stuff.”

“I meet people and request them to buy (my company’s product), the same as I request you to drink milk.”

Someone even said, “I’m guessing, ‘I think s*** up’ probably won’t cut it. So how about…I think up ways to tell people about the stuff companies make, so they can sell it.”

It was apparent that each respondent thought carefully about what would be understandable, important, and appropriate for a 5-year-old. This same skill should guide the development of compelling target audience insight. When you get it right, your marketing will interest, engage, and motivate your target.

Our new B2B campaign for Manheim, the world’s largest wholesale automotive auction, is designed to do exactly that – articulate the benefits of buying and selling vehicles at auction through the eyes of the various personalities that conduct business there.  Whether a Magician or Cowboy, Detective or Prospector, we hope Manheim’s target sees a bit of themselves in the campaign and is more receptive to Manheim’s message as a result.

So before you start your next campaign, dig deep, walk a mile in your target’s shoes and, find out what is really important to them. You’ll be glad you did.

— Pam Alvord, EVP, Chief Brand Strategist


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Super Bowl XLIV: Top 10 Commercials

The usual suspects made their appearance in yesterday’s Super Bowl, and I’m not talking about Peyton Manning and Reggie Wayne.  There were the expected Budweiser and Bud Light Super Bowl spots, as well as a few spots from E*TRADE that could make anyone chuckle.  One thing seemed new, however.  There were a few good car spots, two of which ended up in my Super Bowl XLIV top 10.  To see some of these favorite spots, just click on the link.

Anyone who watches football on a weekly basis is used to seeing the typical Ford F-150, “look how much weight I can pull up a ramp” or “check out our great lease price on a Toyota Camry” spots.  However, this Super Bowl lineup was different for a few automobile makers.  KIA, Audi and Dodge took a right turn at Humorous and Light-Hearted, and may have broken the mold for automobile commercials.

KIA’s stuffed animals road trip was an instant classic, with a late reveal of the KIA Sorento only after the vehicle’s toy inhabitants had gotten a taste of life, road-tripping the country with a stop in Vegas.

Audi struck a chord with their Green Police clean diesel spot.  It was a very timely, cute spot that could draw a hush across any Super Bowl party.  The end button of the Green Police pulling over a cop for drinking out of a foam cup seals the deal and gives it a place in this year’s top 10.

And finally, while the Dodge and Volkswagen spots didn’t exactly make my top 10, they still made a departure from the standard car spot.  Dodge employed the stereotypical, “look what the guy has to do for his wife to let him have a Charger.” Stereotypical for a beer spot maybe, but not for an automobile spot, which is why I give Dodge credit.

Meanwhile, Volkswagen made me reminisce for a minute with their Punch Dub spot, ending nicely with a clever Stevie Wonder/Tracy Morgan cameo.

What did these four automobile spots have in common that made them stand out and receive a thumbs up?  They used humor and had a nice reveal.  I didn’t have to watch 30 seconds of smiling family driving through the city, desert or on a winding road by the sea.  Nice.  Maybe these four brands will pave the way for automobile companies down the road.

With that, my top 10 Super Bowl XLIV spots below.  Feel free to agree, disagree or send along your top 10.

10. E*TRADE – First Class

9. kgb – Sumo Bring it on fat man

8. CareerBuilder

7. E*TRADE – Milkaholic

6. Bud Light – Book Club

5. Audi – Green Police

4. Emerald’s Nuts/Pop Secrets – Trained Humans

3. Google – Parisian Love

2. Snickers – Betty White

1. KIA Sorento – Stuffed Animal Road Trip

— Gary Sayers, VP Account Director

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