Archive

Posts Tagged ‘Car’

The car, the city, the conceit

The way to stop waste from building up in the street is not to enforce a litter ban. It is to change what it is that they are dropping, into something that is not waste, something that becomes productive. Of the many stirring, puzzling and fantastic things that Zeitgeist was exposed to at yesterday’s LS:N Global Trends briefing yesterday (who presented the above insight), one of the more thought-provoking things was the above commercial, played during this year’s Super Bowl extravaganza in the US. It’s a bold, powerful advertisement, and rightly pointed out as a return to the more glorious days of advertising. There is a problem with it though, one of cognitive dissonance.

As we know, the US auto industry, with its epicentre in Detroit, had to be bailed out by the Obama administration. More recently Chrysler themselves thought the problem might be a more macro one of people being unable to drive. As with the initial example, the thinking in this commercial has the wrong end of the stick. The problem was not the global recession and the short-term devastation it wrought. The Economist wrote in January that “The car industry can produce 94m cars a year, against global demand of 64m”; this clearly has to change. The long-term problem though, unfortunately, is simply that the US auto industry makes low-quality cars. In terms of quality, they are subpar relative to other countries. This is partly why the country saw such an influx of Japanese models during the 1980s. The hysteria of Japanese cultural domination (evident in films like Blade Runner) was such at the time that popular fiction author Tom Clancy dramatised the whole affair, setting the Japanese auto industry’s invasion of America as the first step to all-out war in the novel Debt of Honour.

Last year was the first time when, around the world, more people lived in cities than in towns. Ipso facto, this means there will be less need for cars, as distances travelled on a regular basis become shorter. Car manufacturers make more profit from larger models than the smaller ones that will increasingly come to dominate the marketplace. Even Aston Martin is getting into the race for convenience in the city. Making the most of this dramatic shift will be of the utmost importance if the industry is to survive. That, and not using brilliant creative to make up for a lower quality in manufacturing.

Paddy Power’s on to a winner with charity shirt offer

February 7, 2011 2 comments

The importance of having a brand attitude.

In categories where the offering is essentially the same, a brand’s positioning and the way it behaves become all the more important as means of differentiating them from the competition.

One such category is online gambling.

In essence, all of the companies offer punters the chance to stake some of their hard earned cash on all manner of sporting and cultural events. The market is extremely crowded and with sites like oddschecker.com enabling gamblers to find the best odds on a given bet, building loyalty can be difficult.

All of which means that acquiring new customers is essential and online bookmakers must stay front of mind in order to be considered. For brands with large budgets, oft-pursued routes include high profile sponsorship, advertisements and idents.

One brand with a smaller budget that manages to maintain a high profile is Paddy Power.

Their novelty bets, early payouts, refunds and risky communications have helped them carve a niche position amongst their rivals. Ranging from the Last Supper reworked as a casino table to a poster seemingly offering odds on which old lady would be hit by a car to sponsoring Tongan rugby player Epi Taion to change his name to Paddy Power by deed poll for the duration of the the 2007 World Cup, their activities are marked by a rebellious streak and a desire to generate as much free publicity as possible.

Their ability to respond quickly to current events helps keep them in the public eye, the poster at the top of the article greeted visitors to Ireland immediately after they’d been knocked out of the World Cup Play-off by France and Thierry Henry’s imfamous handball. The stategy of capitalising on current affairs is as strong as ever has as evidenced by a couple of recent viral activities.

The first was an opportunist game, turned around in under 24 hours, which invited users to ‘slap’ former SkySports pair Richard Keys and Andy Gray. Capitalising on the furore caused by their sexist comments the game was passed around by football fans and feminists alike.

The second is a great piece of activation.

Following the high profile deadline day transfers of Fernando Torres from Liverpool to Chelsea and Andy Carroll from Newcastle to Liverpool, the bookmaker offered distraught fans the chance to trade their old hero’s shirt for a £50 bet.

Better still, the unwanted shirts will then be given to Oxfam and sent to Africa.

That's £50 you're setting fire to there sunshine!

Both activities will have been relatively cheap to implement, but their relevance both to current events and their target audience ensured that they were shared virally, thus saving a fortune in media costs.

Paddy Power’s long history of courting controversy and clearly defined brand personality distinguishes them from their myriad competitors and allows them to continue to engage their audience in such a distinctive style. Each stunt serves to raise their profile in the short term while further reinforcing their brand identity in the long term.


Their behaviour might not appeal to everyone and their stunts often cost them financially, however so long as no one used their £50 wager to bet on a draw after Arsenal went 4-0 up at St. James Park on Saturday, the Irish bookmaker will look back at a couple of weeks of good work courting publicity and living up to expectations.

Right place, right time delivers Fedex viral gold

December 23, 2010 2 comments

How great timing can accidently help you become part of a mini viral sensation.

With the news in the UK pretty much exclusively focussing on how the cold weather has brought most of northern Europe brought to a standstill, Zeitgeist was reassured to see that the snow and ice are playing havoc in the US too.

This CNN clip of cars balletically skidding down a hill in Spokane, Washington and into each other has found its way onto a number of popular websites.

As the out of control cars smash into each other a FedEx van appears and chooses a route that doesn’t involve climbing a hill of ice and manages to continue its journey onwards to deliver Christmas presents.

The truck is only visible for around ten seconds of the two minute clip but subtly shows that while others struggle, Fedex delivers.

This particular clip has already been viewed by over half a million people and other instances and TV broadcasts will boost that number considerably.

And all through the good luck of having a competent driver in the right place at the right time. If the Fedex marketing team haven’t already broken up for the holidays they might even think about buying the rights to the first 30 seconds of the clip and running it as an advert while the weather remains so severe.

Whatever they do, Zeitgeist hopes Fedex identify the driver and give him (or her) a nice Christmas bonus. They might also want to offer jobs to the drivers of the red and black cars who managed to keep calm and deliver a driving masterclass.

Timing it would seem, really is everything!