Skoda Museum: Virtual Visit with Google Street View

Skoda is using the Google Street View to provide a virtual tour of the ‘Skoda Museum’ in Czech Republic. The museum was reopened two years ago after extensive modernization and Skoda wants to make the exhibition available anytime, anywhere – making it the first automobile virtual museum.
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With the Google Street View, viewers can discover the vehicle collection, the exhibition halls, the shop and surroundings of the museum.
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Skoda Museum shows some historic models like L & K-Škoda 110, Škoda 860, Škoda Superb 4000, 1101 convertible ŠKODA Tudor , ŠKODA Popular Sport ‘Monte Carloand ŠKODA 1000 MB. There are also concept cars like ŠKODA Vision D.
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Google Street View also allows online visitors to visit the online customer center located at ŠKODA Mladá Boleslav, near the Museum. Online visitors can also discover all angles the current range of cars, bikes and origin of the brand accessories.

View the experience here.

“The Sound of Porsche: Stories of the brand.”

‘The Sound of Porsche’ is not just about the engines roaring anymore. There is more to it.

Porsche has launched a premium pop-store next to the High Line, Manhattan on 14th Street – yes the meatpacking district where all that cool things happen in NYC right!

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Andre Oosthuizen, VP Marketing for Porsche Cars North America stressed that the aim of the pop-up store is to connect with people in new ways and tell the brand stories via videos. It is more about connecting with the future buyers and attracting people who may find dealer showrooms intimidating or annoying to begin with.

The Media Stations with noise-cancelling Bose Headphones

The media stations offer 16 custom records created by Porsche, which are actually short videos and can be enjoyed with the noise-cancelling Bose QuietComfort headphones. The content of these videos are short films showing Porsche clippings from the racing world, Hollywood and even brand videos on Porsche design DNA with animated sketches.

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Highlights include ‘Electrifying Performance’ and ‘One of Us’ which feature Porsche racecar drivers Mark Webber and Patrick Dempsey, Boris Apenbrink (Porsche enthusiast) featured in ‘Porsche Exclusive – The Most Personal Car’ and Sally Carrera in ‘A Porsche Goes to Hollywood.’

Sound Lab Virtual Drive Experience

The lab is also powered by Bose, where the iconic 911 Carrera 4S Coupe can be experienced virtually through sound and visual mapping, selecting a metropolitan melody (urban drive), country cadence (mountain pass) or racing rhythm (the Nurburgring).

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A virtual drive experience experienced in a store is certainly better than any app or microsite viewed in 3D glasses!

Porsche Design Store and a Design Competition

How can the Porsche pop-up not have any design products for sale and not intrigue you enough to participate in it! There are enough sophisticated Porsche Design products that can be purchased and a ‘blank canvas’ where you can express what the ‘Sound of Porsche’ means to you.

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The designs created in the Design Corner can be uploaded to the social networks with hashtag #SoundsOfPorsche and the best artist will win a trip to the Porsche Museum in Stuttgart, Germany (I have been there three times and it is such a beautiful museum).

The Experiential Side of Automotive Brands

In our marketing & communications industry we have been constantly hearing about ‘Experiential’ and brands like ‘Audi’ (with Audi City), ‘Apple’, ‘Tesla’ and ‘Nike’ have been one of the first ones to champion the store/showroom experiences in line with their brand personality and the advanced technology.

Many brands try really hard to transfer and reflect their brand image in a physical atmosphere but fail or end up compromising due to low budgets, lack of good talent or simply because of lack of knowledge when it comes to technology and innovation.

At the end of the day it is all about innovation and staying relevant with the environment around us. This does not mean that the dealerships should die and you should throw all your money into the product development and personal stores but use the knowledge and current available resources to enhance what you have now. A very simple start for this could be to provide iPads/tablets across dealerships and allow visitors to surf your site comfortably, read a bit about the car in peace and then have a dealer interact with you, answer your questions, etc. There is probably already a coffee machine or a small cafe in many of these places, why not leave an iPad there asking people to share their thoughts, experience at the dealership etc. – this way we learn about them and use the real experience to see where we can improve. (This is just an example in the current context of automotive dealerships and pop-up shops).

Of course, I cannot stress enough on placing big-screen PCs or iMac’s where the ‘configurator’ is permanently open. Many marketers don’t feel comfortable putting these up in the dealerships because they feel that the car is already there or assume that people may have checked the configurator online. It is essential to leave a little room for people to explore the product in peace, without constantly having to socialize and small-talk with the dealers. I tried the Nike shoe customizer in their Covent Garden store in London 3 years ago and I still remember and talk about it. Now I am writing about it! Though I did not buy the shoe there and then, I explored it and continued the activity at home with my friends to decide how I should customize my shoe. Then I went in store to speak to the Nike guys, to cross-check some stuff and finally placed my order. Not saying that every user will return to ask for a car but people will surely remember and talk about it!

Furthermore, where possible, the brand partnerships should be revealed in the physical environment too, to enhance the experience. That is exactly what Porsche is doing with Bose. What a great opportunity for Bose to get some recognition in New York where the majority of the city is donning the ‘Beats by Dre’ headphones and hogging all the limelight, thanks to their recent Apple acquisition. Although, secretly I feel that Porsche and ‘Beats by Dre’ make a good team and Bose to me is very BMW or Audi.

Porsche ‘CAN DO’ such initiatives as they have ‘championed’ all the pillars that make their DNA in terms of technology, design, performance, innovation and even brand experiences online (Premium website and social media content) and offline (Premium dealerships and beautiful Porsche Museum). Once your brand is able to champion or strengthen its core product and services, such initiatives are welcomed and work. There is no point providing a premium experiential atmosphere when your site is all clunky, your social media is outdated and your sales and customer service team appears to be disinterested. Every touch point is the face of your brand and it best put on a huge smile, be patient and help the customers decide.

What happened here is that Audi City may have been one of the firsts to provide an enhanced digital experience in store but they did not innovate it further (well not yet). And now we have this beautiful experiential pop-up from Porsche that hits all the sweet spots of what the people are currently enjoying – music, videos and premium design products + a canvas to express themselves. Even if you don’t participate in the competition, you will take some pictures in store and share on your social networks. Who doesn’t know Porsche and who would not want to know what’s going on in this pop-up store?

The Sound of Porsche will be open to the public Sept. 16 through Oct. 5, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

If you are from the Ferrari or Maserati team and reading this – YOUR TURN! Show us what you’ve got!! 😉

Audi lights up New York for the World Cup

Audi USA has done it yet again. The ‘it’ here is ‘a simple thought that goes a long way’.

Top global brands are fighting for their share of attention during this World Cup and to leverage the millions of eye balls and attention on this global event, Audi USA did not simply book an out-of-home just like many other sponsors and other non-sponsors-football-enthusiastic brands. They made a really clever move and also a bold one, considering that football is not a mainstream sport in the USA.

Audi put 28 of their A8 models in 45 shipping containers stacked next to each other at Greenpoint, Brooklyn, New York and used their LED lights to reflect the football World Cup game scores.

It’s placement is such a clever idea as the Manhattan highway is pretty far on the other side. What a simple and clever way to show or ‘show-off’ their LED technology reflecting the score for the New Yorkers on the other side.

One tiny improvement in this idea would have been to permanently show a ‘hashtag’ e.g. AudiLED to get people to share the scores online, talk about the LED lights and spread the word online and win a test-drive at night to experience the power of the LED lights. Of course people will talk about it, so why not give them a hashtag and do more with it.

Nevertheless, awesome idea. Awesome brand. And how cool for the German brand Audi to promote Team USA for the game today.

Follow the game on Twitter with hashtag   and find out more about the AUDI LED technology on http://www.audiusa.com/innovation/design/LED

Top Gear, The Stig & Google Street View

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How random and cool is this? If there are any Top Gear fans out there checking the tracks on Google Maps – they’ll find this really exciting.

Go to Google Maps and search for ‘Top Gear Test Track’. Drag the orange figure icon down to the track et Voila! You spot ‘The Stig’ in a Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG and not just that the track is full of marks. This Dunsfold Aerodrome track in Surrey has been visited by Benedict Cumberbatch and Damain Lewis have enjoyed a few laps at this track in Dunsfold Aerodrome, Surrey,

What’s also cool is that you can see a shadow of the Google car with a camera, pretty blur though. Well take a look around this 1.75-mile track on Google Street View…never know what else you may discover!

Volkswagen – Interactive Banner, Street View Quest & Olympic Car

Interactive Banner

A very good push by Volkswagen on the ‘safe driving’ message and promoting their voice control feature in an interactive way. Banners are usually considered to be dull and intruding by many surfers and making them interactive helps only if it is useful, fun and worth sharing. It is not always possible to make an intriguing banner since this small digital medium requires a big investment, but when permitted, it better be awesome!

Volkswagen, Germany made a pretty cool banner, quickly educating the customer and selling its top voice-control function for their new “Touch Phone Kit”, with a simple Facebook integration. The user makes a video call to a Facebook friend by allowing the banner to access their Facebook account and a steering wheel pops-up putting the user in control of the steering and also the phone call, showing practically how easy the voice-control function is.

The Touch Kit is a new accessory which allows hands-free calling activated by voice. Banners were placed on car sites and upon interacting posted the picture of the user on their Facebook profile as well, thus reaching out the callers friends. The banner links straight out to the online store rather than a boring ‘More Info.’ page on the Volkswagen website. After all the job is done in the banner, why not send the user straight to the shop! The cool banner was developed by Germany based agencies Loop and Agenta Agenturgruppe.

Street View Quest: Pin It To Win It

Volkswagen, South Africa has launched the ‘Street Quest’ advergame via Facebook and Google Street View. To participate the users must find and “pin” Volkswagens on the South African roads using the Google Street View application.

The campaign lasts for almost a month, giving the participants to ‘pin’ as many Volkswagens as possible.  It may sound a bit boring so far, but the person who pins the most Volkswagens wins a seat for the Grand Final, which is supposedly a real-life version of the Street Quest. Basically, each week one winner will be sent to Cape Town to spot the Volkswagens for real and the winner will walk away with a digital hamper containing Apple iPhone, iPad, MacBook Air and Samsung 46″ LED TV.

The idea seems to be good but it is too long a campaign. Also why would people work so hard just for a digital hamper. I agree the catch of going to Cape Town and driving around a Volkswagen is pretty amazing but at the end of the challenge I just walk away with a hamper which is not a Volkswagen car but digital hampers only….cool idea but needs a cooler reward I guess.

Olympic Car

Volkswagen, Netherlands created a sound/scream powered car to involve the Dutch trying to make it to the London Olympics.

This special ‘Olympics Car’ had no foot pedals and the engine was re-configured to read sound decibels into RPMs to move the car. Hence, every time the person screamed, cheered or made loud noise the speed of the car increased. The group of people who cheered the loudest in the car and made the quickest 100m screaming their lungs away won tickets to the London Olympics.

A funny and clever way to get the people involved and playing on the situation of the scarcity and impossibility of getting tickets, the Dutch were screaming their lungs out to get through to the London Olympics. Who knew screaming would make somebody win such a cool prize? Volkswagen got the Dutch going on this one! Some hilarious scenes in the video!

 

 

 

Coldplay uses Xylobands; turns concert audience into giant LED display

Lady Gaga and Madonna! Why have you not done something like this yet? Coldplay, the band I least expected to innovate at a concert, turned their concert audience into a large gallery of LED display. Xylobands are LED-illuminated wristbands activated using a radio signal.

Coldplay distributed the wristbands in a variety of colors to the audience with a Twitter hashtag #coldplayfilm printed on them promoting their live DVD. The audience were illuminated as multicolor twinkling lights when the wristbands received the radio signals. Below is an image to show what these wristbands look like – you can search #coldplayfilm on Twitter to see more results.

The video below shows how it worked and how the audience enjoyed being felt like they belong to a community and felt more connected to the artists on the stage.

Concerts have always had a huge potential to engage the audience and due to the large size of audience, logistics of venue and legal issues it is not always possible to succeed with a complex idea. Simple ideas like this Xyloband one is easier to execute and does not involve users to make any effort and they can just enjoy the concert the way they expected to. Being surprised with such simple ideas makes it even more fun and spreads a positive word about the experience. Technologies like RFID and augmented reality will definitely improve over the years and we will see more interactive and engaging experiences in times to come. For now, enjoy this one and if you have any similar examples to share, please do!

 

 

Mobile Mini Test Drive Store

 

To increase their awareness and to capture a place in the consideration set of the potential car buyers, Mini decided to increase their test drive stores in France. These stores were not the traditional showrooms but more suitable I believe to the lifestyle and culture in the city, they were launched as ” Mobile Mini Store”.

The Mini Mobile Stores came to pick up the people and they could hop-in and just take a test drive around the city, without having to visit a showroom and deal with the usual conversational efforts to get into the car! It is a great idea by DDB, Paris to involve people on the streets and catch them where they are, when they are free.

Although it is a good effort to go to the people and make test drives happen but Mini could have added some social media element to this by using Facebook places or Foursquare, since the idea is location based anyways. From experience I guess the resources and budgets might have been an issue to take it to a social network platform.