Archive for the 'automotive' Category

Another Car, Another Social Media Marketing Campaign

Nissan has launched a marketing campaign for its Cube that incorporates Cube-themed iPhone apps, games, videos and ringtones to prove just how hip it is to be square.

The Cube Mobile Hub site gives Cube owners and enthusiasts the chance to bond over a car that Nissan says is designed for interacting, all while disengaged from the real world, poking away at a tiny cellphone screen.

It’s yet another example of automakers using social networking to sell their cars, and it comes on the heels of similar campaigns by Ford and Honda. Honda recently launched a microsite where people can virtually drive the new Insight and learn more about the dirt-cheap hybrid.

Nissan is hoping that the mobile site will convince potential buyers that the slab-sided subcompact is just as essential to the mobile lifestyle as text messages, Twitter and Facebook. “We envision owners using their Cubes as one of their essential mobile devices, connecting with friends, sharing music and sharing fun,” Nissan marketing exec Christian Meunier said in a statement.

Nissan says the Cube features a “socially oriented lounge-style interior.” At the risk of sounding like Andy Rooney, we think it might be a perfect place for five friends to text each other.

We visited the site Mobile Hub and everyone seems to be having a lot more fun than we are. Our favorite feature might be the forthcoming iPhone App called “Cube Party Roundup.” The objective of the game is to gain points doing things that we thought only happened in commercials for cars and liquor: Drive around a city picking up friends, dates, and “ice, music and other items,” all in preparation for a big party.

Posted via web from rickwilliams’s posterous

Fiat Eco:Drive at Adobe MAX in Milan

What a week!
It took me over 13hrs to get to Milan on Sunday thanks to Alitalia, but aside from that the Adobe MAX Conference in Milan has been fantastic.


Adam Creeger & I demonstrated Fiat’s Eco:Drive in front of 1300 people during the 1st day’s keynote session and the response was fantastic.

After the keynote we had lunch with some very interesting analysts including Stefan Reid, senior analyst at Forrester (follow him on Twitter), Andreas Pfeiffer, editor-in-chief at Pfeiffer Consulting & James Govenor, founder of RedMonk (you can follow him on Twitter @monkchips – thanks James!).

All of them were eager to hear more about the technology behind Fiat Eco:Drive and were very aware of the challenges that face the automotive industry and very impressed at not only the concept of Eco:Drive, but more importantly what its potential holds. It was great to have the opportunity to speak with them and I hope we’ll have the opportunity to talk again.

After lunch I joined up with my boss, Andy Hood, for the MAX Agency summit sessions. Adobe had asked AKQA along to a series of sessions which also included other European agency representatives such as Chris from Tribal DDB, Peter from Ioko, some of the guys from Glue (who did a great talk on interactive video), Monochrome, HowardBaines (who built Alert Thingy) and group94 amongst others (apologies for not remembering everyone who was there).

We were brought up to speed on the Adobe road map and specifically asked to comment on how the road map would affect our internal structure and influence our clients. It was really good to hear other people’s points of view and the sessions highlighted what an enormous breadth of work the Flash platform now is used for.

Doubtless, Adobe have some challenges ahead, particularly in the realms of mobile and workflow, but they’re good challenges and they’re all based on choices – a very luxurious & envious place to be in when you look at their competitors.

They also have some fantastic products and improvements, particularly in the areas of video with their soon to be launched Flash Media Server 3.5, with what they have in the pipeline for Air 2.0 and through some of the announcements they’ve made recently concerning Visual Studio plugins for outputting Flex code and making Flash searchable. There’s more, but for me those were the major highlights.

Fiat eco:Drive

Then on Tuesday afternoon Adam & I did a session on “The Anatomy of a Seriously Sophisticated Application” to a packed room of some 150 attendees. We went through some of the workflow challenges in building Fiat Eco:Drive, the specific data parsing & data visualisation challenges (and solutions) and answered as many questions as we could in the time we had.

It was fantastic getting such enthusiastic feedback and from it we’ve managed to create some valuable relationships that I hope we’ll be able to continue and maintain – so many thanks to everyone who came and I’m very glad you all enjoyed it.

After the session Adam & I went up to the press room to do a national Italian newspaper interview and by the end of the afternoon it was time for the sneak peeks and awards.

This has been the first MAX conference I’ve attended and I’ve enjoyed every moment of it. I hope there’ll be opportunity to attend more of them in the future. Thanks to Adobe and AKQA for enabling me to experience it.

.car Evolution

(Disclaimer: I am personally involved in the development of Fiat’s digital presence with my work at AKQA)

BMW and Crysler DO NOT GET IT! (read the comments).
Gearing up for the .car Era | Autopia from
Ford sounds like it’s right behind them

It’s interesting to see how Fiat are describing and marketing their Blue&Me technology.
blue_me_fiat_500.jpg (JPEG Image, 475�316 pixels)
They seem concerned about the detail, which is always a good sign. They offer Blue&Me EcoDrive as standard and have Nav and Map add-on features.

Fiat EcoDrive is described in greater detail here, but essentially it measures your driving style irrespective of the car you drive. It puts everyone on a level playing field and gives them tips and suggestions on how to improve their driving style, saving them money by lowering their fuel consumption.

It’s a niche, but interesting, concept and importantly it’s engaging whilst not being disruptive. EcoDrive promises to ‘teach drivers how to go greener’. Drivers can fit whichever navigation system they choose to the car, rather than being tied down to a locked-in version, suceptable to bugs and poorly executed updates.

I’ll be interested to find out how drivers communicate between their car and their desktop computers to make intelligent use of all the data that’s captured and (possibly sharing that information within a community???), but it strikes me as a far stronger proposition than attempting to steal a march on the SatNav’s out there like TomTom and in the US, who only last week announced that they were opening up their API to developers.

What do you think? Do you want to watch YouTube in the car? Is being online important?? Is this running before you can walk or a bold move?

General motors gets social

General Motors Europe has launched an innovative “social media newsroom.” Each press release on its new Web site has “links for easy sharing and tagging with popular social media sites such as Technorati, Digg, and Facebook, and each includes a comments area to encourage commentary and opinion from readers.”

The comprehensive Web site includes photography for reuse online that can be downloaded from Flickr — and a link to GM Europe’s video collection on YouTube.

The social media landscape is littered with companies like Walmart whose attempt at social media marketing has gone up in flames.

I have to compliment GM on this approach. By beginning with existing assets (press releases, pictures and videos of their cars) they can test the social media water. The tactics they are using have little chance of blowing up in their face, so the organization will be able to gain confidence in this new marketing approach. As Julie Hamp, GM Europe’s vice president of communications puts it:

“Everyone is learning about the value of the social media environments which allow open dialogue, sharing select information with other users and posting photos or information to share with friends of select users. Today, there is much more of an opportunity to create a dialogue with the consumer, and we are providing our news in a form that makes it easy to republish, comment on and pass along.”

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