Posted by Dale Buss on March 2, 2012 02:02 PM
Conventional wisdom about American auto buyers is that all they need to do is catch a whiff of a surge in gasoline prices, and they flock to higher-mileage vehicles — or, in a more extreme reaction, despair of buying a new vehicle at all because they're worried. U.S. auto sales for February showed consumers reflexively moving quickly to the former behavior while, to the industry's relief, continuing to power overall sales ahead at a brisk pace.
Small cars including the Chevrolet Cruze, Ford Focus, Honda Civic, Hyundai Elantra, Kia Optima, Toyota's Prius hybrid and even the recently maligned Chevrolet Volt gained significantly in sales, especially as the month went on and media and political chatter about the arrival of $4- and $5-a-gallon gasoline picked up.
"They're more likely to have an effect on [sales] mix within the industry than on the total sales number," Jonathan Browning, CEO of Volkswagen of America, told reporters about rising gas prices. The trend, for example, is boosting sales of short-in-supply diesel versions of VW models such as its mid-size Passat sedan.Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on February 27, 2012 09:06 AM
American Airlines calls for quick labor-cost savings.
Apple faces upstarts in smartphones as company prepares to unveil new products.
BP reportedly considers $14-billion spill settlement as trial is delayed.
Chrysler's Ram Trucks brand boosts country-music cred.
Del Taco realigns management team to redefine brand experience.
Dunkin' Donuts offers video-resume app.
Ericsson eyes future in software.
Fifth Third bank campaign focuses on curiosity.
Ford expands Sync footprint, crowdsources mobile vehicle innovations.Continue reading...
Posted by Shirley Brady on February 16, 2012 04:01 PM
Volkswagen Group of America is sponsoring an eight-night run of a fellow German high-tech b(r)and — electronic music Kraftwerk — at the Museum of Modern Art in New York.
The event, titled Kraftwerk – Retrospective 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 and running April 10-17, will feature 3-D visualization and performances of the group's classic tunes from albums including Autobahn, Trans Europe Express, The Man-Machine, and Computer World.
The sponsorship continues a multi-year partnership between Volkswagen, MoMA and MoMA PS1 that kicked off last May "to foster and inspire innovative thinking through important exhibitions and education programs."Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on February 8, 2012 09:03 PM
The TV ratings for Super Bowl XLVI enjoyed a bump from last year's game, making it the most-watched telecast ever. Depite a riveting game, most pundits believe the advertising wasn't particularly riveting on Sunday, despite such hits as the Doritos' "Sling Baby" Crash the Super Bowl fan fave.
Did brand marketers do themselves a disservice by giving away much (if not all) of their TV commercials before the game? This question surely will be examined closely in the days and weeks to come as marketers deliberate on the real value of spending $3.5 million or more for those 30 second ad units during the Big Game. Still, it's also possible that marketers won't care about the size of the ratings increase for the game because they got so much promotional mileage from the attention to their ads beforehand, on mobile, Twitter (witness the profusion of hashtags in commercials) and Facebook during, and ongoing debate and discussion this week.
There are other questions that not only brand marketers but the TV networks and the NFL will be grappling with long before Super Bowl XLVII:Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on February 6, 2012 05:08 PM
As the world's biggest stage for marketers, we'd have to give Super Bowl XLVI, generously, a B-minus. While the game was compellingly competitive right until the last play, and Madonna acquitted herself pretty well for a 53-year-old halftime-show attraction, America's brand marketers barely held up their end of the extravaganza.
For one thing, there was no genuine stand-up-and-cheer advertising moment during NBC's telecast as there was last year, in Chrysler's spot featuring Eminem and its new Chrysler 200 "Imported from Detroit," although Clint Eastwood was a worthy successor.
In fact, stand-out moments in the ads were almost non-existent; the humor that carried most of the ads didn't come close to an outbreak of hilarity; and a few spots manifested jump-the-shark syndrome, such as an NBC promo that cameoed Betty White.Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on February 1, 2012 04:44 PM
U.S. auto sales continued their nice recovery in January overall, by 11 percent over a year earlier, as a number of brands extended their own surges — and some fell back a bit.
The biggest winners when industry sales were announced today were Volkswagen, whose January sales were a whopping 48% ahead of last January, and Chrysler, which reported a 44% year-over-year gain. Chrysler credited its recent spate of 16 all-new or significantly refreshed products, while Volkswagen of America CEO Jonathan Browning pointed out that the brand's "growth strategy continues to take root."
Also posting healthy double-digit gains were brands including Kia, Mercedes-Benz, Audi and Hyundai.
Perhaps more interesting, though, is that Nissan, Honda and Toyota all reported significant increases in sales for January over a year earlier: 10 percent, 9 percent and 8 percent, respectively. While those numbers don't seem very impressive per se, what is significant is that they represent gains over the brands' pre-tsunami performances. So these are very positive indicators for the Japanese brands as they complete their comebacks from the March 11 natural disaster of last year.Continue reading...
Posted by Shirley Brady on February 1, 2012 03:36 PM
Volkwagen today released "The Dog Strikes Back," the full version of VW's 2012 Super Bowl commercial — or a commercial within a commercial, as it references the golden retriever from "The Force," its blockbuster 2011 Super Bowl ad featuring a mini Darth Vader and the Volkswagen Passat ... before seguing to a full-on Star Wars mode by pulling back to a recreation of the cantina scene and the real Darth Vader.
This year the brand is promoting the new Beetle, as VW America president and CEO Jonathan Browning commented to the Wall Street Journal: "We didn't just want to make a follow-on or a sequel, but looked at this and said what are some of the other themes around Super Bowl? It's all about athleticism, it's all about competing to the best level you can, and also for VW, it's all about how we're rebuilding the business here in the U.S."
As for tying back into Star Wars, Browning added, "We wanted to have that little twist at the end, and hinted at that in the teaser" — meaning "The Bark Side" canine chorus, which has been viewed more than 10 million times on YouTube, and which you can watch again below. VW's pushing out of that teaser — a home run for combining Star Wars with cute dogs — arguably opened the floodgates for the deluge of pre-Super Bowl ad reveals this year.Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on January 26, 2012 05:50 PM
The huge pricetag for Super Bowl advertisements keeps all but the biggest and boldest brands away. But with inventiveness, other brands are finding ways to ride the Big Game zeitgeist without having to fork over Big Game prices.
Suzuki, for example, in the past has proven adept at skirting the expensive national spots in the Super Bowl in favor of a regional strategy, and the Japanese auto brand is doing the same thing this year — even bigger.
Instead of joining the cacophony of national car ads at $3.5 million a pop, Suzuki will focus its regional buy in 21 core cold-weather markets for ads to run in locally allocated slots during the game. Suzuki will highlight the all-wheel-drive version of its Kizashi sport sedan in a slush spot (titled "Sled") which you can watch below — along with Super Bowl 46 sneak peeks from Audi, Coca-Cola and Cars.com.Continue reading...