Paper Toys – by Audi and BMW

Besides gaming, automotive brands are using their magazines and social media to engage their owners kids as well.

Audi Magazine

Audi_Magazine_USA

Audi USA provides a special ‘Audi kids’ space’ on their official website where visitors can download the A3 Cut-outs and also shop Audi collection. The cutouts can be downloaded as PDFs and also torn from the last page of the Audi Magazine delivered to the owners.

Audi_A3_CutOut

Besides Audi A3 Cut-out, there is also a cut-out to appeal to the racing fans and engage kids by providing them with assets to tell their own story.

Audi_Kids_Space_CutOut

BMW – Personalized Paper Toy

BMW Brasil has an improved version to that of the Audi, where the car can be personalized in terms of the name, colors and wheels. All the user has to do is add a name and make the selection to generate an instantly downloadable PDF.

BMW_Brasil

BMW_Paper_toy

Even though BMW Brasil provides a personalized cut-out version, it does not clearly specify which model it is. That is a missed opportunity to create some familiarity with the kids at a young age and already capture their minds.

BMW Germany however adds additional value targeting probably 10 years and older with printable board games, student plans and coloring books.

BMW_Germany_Fans

However, both the examples are interesting and simple providing the time-poor parents a quick take out. BMW also acts responsible here by not promoting their products only in gaming, to which many parents are opposed and add strict time tables to play video games, but also creating loyalty and expressing ‘Family Care’ in a very subtle way. This also helps them to tap into audience who will probably never play video games and not get enough screen time on TV, iPods and Tablets until after a certain age.

BMW and Volkswagen Stories

BMW and Volkswagen are actively using user generated content and crowd sourcing to break away from the usual brand and product stories. I think it is spot on and about time that brands like BMW and Volkswagen, who have such a large and loyal base of audience, involve their fans and owners and give them a platform to express their ‘story’, their ‘experience’ and their ‘voice’. Technology today gives brands such a great advantage to involve their audience and leverage their voice to enhance brand campaigns.

BMW’s global campaign called ‘BMW Stories’ and Volkswagen’s ’40 years Golf’ and ‘The Peoples Film’ campaigns are great examples currently in the automotive category involving a broad range of audience.

BMW STORIES

BMW’s International website and most of the local market websites are running the ‘BMW Stories’ campaign. Owners, fans and enthusiasts are encourage to share what BMW means to them and how it is a part of their life, what memories they share with BMW and would love to share these stories, experiences & opinions. To make your story appear on the site, all the users have to do is add the hashtag #BMWStories to their content, which can be in the form of a video, quote or images shared over the key social networks currently Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.

BMW_Stories_Fans

The clever part of this campaign is that BMW is putting these ‘Stories’ where information on the other models is also promoted. Story telling aspect is not just left to the fans but BMW also actively participates in it. i8 model is used as a halo for the BMWi Range and they share interesting stories under the title ‘Pioneering Stories’ showing a range of films on the i8 model. Pioneering Stories even include the racing stories on ‘Alessandro Zanardi’ and a few selected behind-the-scenes, internal films and fans experience with the i8. There is a separate social stream for ‘Pioneering Stories’ which are picked up via an additional hashtag #pioneer in addition to the #BMWStories.

Pioneering_Stories

After the BMWi range, the BMW X range is promoted aggressively with selected films focusing on ‘dynamic performance’. This is topped by an even exciting video going viral currently on the 2 Series Coupe M235i called the ‘BMW DriftMob’ – directed by the Hollywood stunt expert Mic Rodgers (Google him now!). The video is currently the feature story on the site showing the main film (see below) and behind-the-scenes stories. It definitely adds a lot of ‘punch’ and ‘attitude’ to ‘the BMW Brand’ and encourages people to add their stories all the more – giving off energy and a ‘just do it’ attitude. Not only that, it is trying very hard to appeal to the 2 and 3 series segment audience to consider them over Audi. The call-to-action sends viewers right to the configurator to visualize and learn about all the features available or to the detail page for those who want to read before they take any other serious action showing interest in the model.

The film has received about 12K likes on the BMW Global Facebook fan page.

BMW Facebook Post

The campaign is supported by social media posts, online banners and eNewsletters and this viral is surely going to leave the auto enthusiasts with a ‘hangover!’

Volkswagen ‘4o Years Golf’

Volkswagen’s ’40 Years Golf’ is an even richer story telling experience online as per the title, as it allows Volkswagen to tell the story via a timeline.

40_years_golf_volkswagen

The timeline is in a grid format showing a range of beautifully designed and placed static and animated visuals. The interactive timeline allows viewers to learn facts, answer a question, watch a video, listen to sound clip, enlarge an image, read a story and share the content online via Facebook, Twitter and Google+. The icons like ‘settings’, ‘star’ and ‘number 1 badge’ share interesting facts from the respective year adding an element of surprise. Storytelling is very much ‘owned’ by Volkswagen and they are sharing what they ‘would like us to know’.

VW_Timeline

However, this is not the case for ‘The Peoples Film’ campaign in New Zealand.

‘The Peoples Film’ is a campaign solely dedicated to the owners and their stories are at the heart of the campaign – in fact, they are the champions of the campaign and not a particular model. The video shows a time lapse of the owners and models till date and looks so natural –¬† it does not try to sell you anything. It purely celebrates ‘the drivers’ of Volkswagen over 60 years and shows how each generation enjoyed the Volkswagen days. The website is also pretty simple and shows the main content that is a part of the campaign. There is not a single image of the latest model being promoted in New Zealand – a very refreshing approach to let the drivers of Volkswagen be the heroes here and a subtle call-to-action to explore the range is shown, as a standard approach. To add your story, all you have to do it share your local New Zealand region, the model of your car and the year. The story can be shared via a video or image and drivers can leave some comments about their story. Once the story is accepted and approved, the driver’s name is added to the list with their model name and year.

PF(The visuals shown above are two separate pages)

The Facebook post promoting the campaign is very well written with a subtle tone of voice, thanking the drivers and celebrating their contribution over 60 years.

VW_NZ_Facebook_Page

#ThrowBackThursday on my blog – ‘Porsche Everyday’ microsite

Storytelling via user generated content, owned content and crowd sourcing is a pie everyone is trying to own and champion. Even though Porsche has not updated its ‘Porsche Everyday’ website – made in 2011 – it is still winning in terms of the online experience and user experience is pretty valid as per the online behavior today.

The landing page begins with a beautiful message – the call-to-action and purpose of this website.

Porsche_Everyday

When the site loads, you are given various options – to read about stories from different topics like ‘Magic’, ‘All Weather’, ‘Comfort’, ‘Usability’, ‘Safety’ and ‘Efficiency’ – clever way to label them from a benefit/feature point of view. The side bar allows you to chose what story you want to see from the main subject of interest – it could be an ‘Everyday Story’, ‘Heritage Story’ or ‘Product Story’.

Comfort_Story_Porsche

On selecting the story of interest, it opens up as a pop-up and also shows what related stories are available under ‘See more’ below the content and even ‘LIKE’ and ‘SHARE’ them online.

Porsche_Story

Stories can also be filtered model wise. There is also an option to upload your own story in form of a video or an image.

Porsche_Submit_Story

Even though we see 4 different cases here, we learn that it is absolutely important to respect the interface design ethics in digital and cut the clutter out. A lot of brands desperately try to add too much information and too many buttons on the site. That does not help and leaves the people confused. And when using user generated content, it is absolutely essential to ensure that the user is made the hero of the site and the campaign, and not let the product steal the limelight – there should be enough room to intrigue the users to find out more at their own pace and area of interest.

I think BMW should stop adding content at this stage on their BMW Stories website – it is pretty content heavy and there are various themes on the page. Volkswagen 40 years is pretty empty and could have been enriched with some owners stories in a more detailed way. The Peoples Film is absolutely brilliant and the film is really very nice. The effort that people have made to share content is purely acknowledged. Porsche website may not be working for some of you right now, but if you are a savvy internet user, you may agree that even today the 2011 created website is winning in multiple ways. Of course we cannot directly compare, but it is a good benchmark to follow….I know the site is in Flash ūüėČ We are all happy to see HTML5 aren’t we. Porsche’s webs specials have significantly improved. I hope Porsche refresh this website sometime soon or launch a brand new version that will still stand out in 2017 ūüėČ

I bet if Lamborghini opens this ‘Share your story’ door – we will see some really interesting and unforgettable stories. Hope you enjoyed these for the time being!

Porsche Blind Trade

Porsche ‘Blind Trade’ does not guarantee a Porsche for everyone. That’s the dare. So are people brave enough to let go of their current luxury car and blind trade it for a possibility to get a Porsche? Yes, seems¬† like there are many of them out there. Internet tells me around 2000+ people traded-in their car in the first few hours only, gambling to win a Porsche.

Porsche_Blind_Trade

The campaign microsite reveals a new feature of the Porsche every 2 days and will be live for at least 3 weeks until the reveal – announcing the winner on the 31st March’14 who will proudly walk away with a brand new Porsche and converted into a loyal customer on that very day.

The site is in Dutch only and because I can understand some Dutch, I am able to navigate around and it is pretty simple. Not many pages and simple user interface. Social search is also optimised and there is good background music as well. Even though the site has really dark colors as opposed to the white and clean look and feel of Porsche, a fine and intact design like this with minimum call-to-actions and an interactive user experience do the job just right to deliver a premium luxury website experience. Check it out for yourself on http://www.porscheblindtrade.nl/

 

Why I respect Audi for their recent efforts.

A deep thought based on my own experience and that of my close friends in the advertising and digital industry makes me want to clap and declare Hans Thurner and Floris Dreesman the two men our industry needs to thank today. Rather than criticizing the Audi City experiment.

Audi understands what digital means. So what is digital?

Let’s keep this one short. Digital marketing is using electronic devices to engage with customers. Fact is that many brands just stopped here and are still learning to create presentations to educate their co-workers on what is digital. Just look closely, we are surrounded by digital. Everything has gone digital. Digital is not just online. TV is digital (Shazam TV tags, GetGlue and Viggle). Print is digital (QR codes, Blippar and AR tags). Experiential is digital and Audi has landed there with a crown.

Audi is able to connect to their target audience by investing in online and offline experiences that are meaningful, fun and provide a benefit. Sometimes even just fun to have a good time and participate in love for cars. Cool cars.

Audi – Print is digital

It somehow says ….I will not bore you with a lead management link to tell you to go online. You will do it because this film is so bloody awesome that even if you don’t like cars, the sound of this will make you want to talk about it, share it and read more about it.

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On scanning this ad with Blippar, you see this beautiful film, a sneak peak at what this beast is up to roaring away in madness.

Audi Online experience – For Fun

#WantAnR8 contest is the third one by Audi and this time on Tumblr because they wanted to turn up the game here. Their target audience are getting smarter, using sophisticated technology and becoming natural at participating in initiatives online. A really clever move here to move away from the norms like Facebook and Twitter and use the Tumblr’s freedom of theme & functionality to create a fun filled online experience.

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Audi offer about 40 short clips and 10 audio effects to let users create their own Audi R8 story. This video is then hosted on their YouTube page to house user-generated content. It just does not stop here. A part of this exercise is also to learn what a majority of customers prefer, what angles they like to see in videos and what sort of audio energy is desired. Audi has not used any paid media to push the campaign and generated about 100 submissions in just first 5 hours of launch followed by 200 in the first 4 days. Not bad at all for an organic growth.

I must say I spent about 40 minutes trying to create an awesome clip and absolutely enjoyed every little part of it. Audi did not push me in the end to rush me to their site and try to sell any other models, if not the R8. I was intrigued enough to swim around for some information on V10 and just read up. But if I were to buy in the near future a V10 beast, I will remember to check Audi out and recommend it to interested sports car buyers.

Audi Online Experience – For use

Audi has extended the success of the A1 eKurzinfo app to A3 models. The A3 app helps the drivers to learn more about their car via visualizations rather than boring A3 bible manuals! It provides them instant access to detailed step by step information on how to complete particular tasks. e.g. how to locate the engine coolant. This is definitely useful for the first-time buyers who have poor knowledge on technical topics that are good to know about their car. Of course, there are inductions held to understand your own vehicle but we forget these over time and instant access available to such data is reassuring.

The app recognises more than 300 elements of A3 and reflects all the data saved in cloud-based architecture. It is currently available in English, German and Japanese on the Apple Store.

That was the customer service going digital. Online. Now what about offline.

Audi Experiential

Here they have shaken things up with Audi City Showroom. The first virtual showroom without any cars. I have already blogged about it when they launched it but was lucky enough to visit RTT Excite 2013 in Munich where I was delighted to attend the presentation by Hans Thurner and Floris Dreesman on Audi City.

Why I respect Audi so much today?

Well 200 people at Audi and 70 of their partner agencies have been sweating it out to change the automotive buying behaviour. While still producing their online banners and Facebook applications that some think are digital gods of this online space, Audi is investing time and efforts to change all that you think you know about selling cars online or offline. They are capturing the whole universe around it making customers dependable on them and these new technologies making yours redundant in the next 2 years. Today you are developing dealer tool kits killing trees printing massive old skool stuff, Audi and even BMW are using digital to sort data and virtualise all that jazz on a sheet of paper, making it come alive and hit your senses. Tablets are the future.

I fail to grasp how automotive employees criticize a concept like Audi City. The frustration of our generation is about following old school rules coming in the way of doing what our generation wants to see, wants to be and wants to show. We want to create it because we want to use that.

Remember what Ferdinand Porsche said I couldn’t find the sports car of my dreams, so I built it myself.

5 Websites telling a story

1. Kinner Italia http://www.kinneritalia.com/

Beautiful shots, cool animation around the product, good story and simple yet fun UX.

 

 

2. World of Red Bull Japan http://worldofredbull.jp/#

Beautiful photography, big images, minimum relevant content  and simple navigation.

 

 

 

3. BMW Dynamics http://www.bmw.com/com/en/insights/dynamic/experience.html#d=222

BMW Dynamics Experience section is embedded in the main BMW website. It is not easy to integrate new platforms in pre-built CMS managed websites. However, BMW has managed to do it. The scrolling action is cleverly use to engage the users and involve them in revealing the content. My favourite section is the one shown below where minor details are revealed leading to the full revelation of the car.

 

4. Wrangler Europe http://www.wrangler-europe.com/

Since a few years Wrangler has been launching interactive websites. They have improved over time but the ‘drag and release’ mechanism of letting users interact with the site to see further content has been the norm. I like the design, the music and the videos on this site. The music is soothing and suits the nature of activity being performed in the Wrangler outfits. The site loads quickly, gives users the option to enhance their experience by going HD and Fullscreen and also allows them to control the sound ON/OFF. The models featured seem to have the perfect face, they do not distract you from the outfit and they carry it really well!

 

5. K2 http://www.k2.pl/#!/en/awards/

Website of the largest interactive agency in Poland, K2, makes the most of less content and shares it cleverly with good design and interactivity. I specially like the interactivity on the awards page and the design, it leaves the interested users curious and involves them to find out more by interacting as opposed to a dull images and text page. If the work done was great then one must show it with pride and create some inquisitiveness around it! Why not?

 

 

 

 

BMW M5 – Bullet Art

“Bullet Art”, a beautiful film by BMW Canada, promoting their M5 model. The film shows the incredible power and performance of BMW M5 destroying art installations racing away on a high speed and proving its level of safety at the same time.

The film is beautifully shot, with strong emphasis on the product and the sound of the engine. I like the transition of the sound from the racing engine to that of the melodious tunes creating calmness around the strong destructive action and showing how the vehicle is in complete control of itself, undamaged and full of force! Speed at its best control and style in a sedan!

Projection Mapping Racing Game by BMW, South Africa

My last post talks about Hyundai and Chevy using projectors to engage audience. Compared to their initiatives, BMW, South Africa has done a great job. I mentioned a few things in my last post about leaderboards/involving Facebook friends and improving feed on social networks on the activity and BMW seems to have captured that well.

The projection mapping game promoted the new BMW 1 Series. Users were given Samsung Galaxy Tabs at the venue to log-in to their Facebook account and connect to the racing game. The scores were posted on the BMW Facebook fan page real time and friends could even compete with each other and share their scores on to their Facebook profile.

The scores leaderboard is shown on the projector and also on the Facebook fan page tab. Over 100,000 racing results were shared with Facebook friends out of which 47,060 results were shared on users walls. Considering each user has an average of 150 friends, BMW’s projection mapping racing game had an incredible reach just by using Facebook connect.

If you see the video carefully you’ll notice the graphics on the tab were that of actual steering of the new 1 Series. That’s a good way to promote the interior design of the car and get the player interested and excited about the car.

The prize was a model of Mission Impossible 4 BMW Vision car. Six model cars were rewarded at six different venues in South Africa, including Cape Town, Durban and Johannesburg.