Car porn (but this time with a plot)

So BMW did it over 10 years ago with The Hire but who cares. Here’s another gorgeous piece of car porn from Jaguar directed by Ridley Scott Associates which showcases the new Jaguar F-TYPE in all its glory.

15 minutes of brand entertainment at its best.

April fool campaigns you may have missed

This is a bit after the horse has  bolted (or should i say finished the Grand National) but here’s a few gems of April Foolery you may have missed:

LYNX ZERO

As a parody to Coke Zero, here at TMW we came up with this great campaign for Lynx (even though i can’t take any credit for it!)

Lynx Zero is a new range of sprays, shower gels and hair products for men in relationships. The range is understood to contain absolutely no ‘Lynx Effect’ – the brand’s infamous ingredient that has made guys irresistible to the opposite sex for years. The new range claims to boast all of the Lynx flavour but just have less effect on the opposite sex. So lads in relationships – or even single lads who simply want a day off – can still look good, smell good and feel good… without getting in trouble.

lynx-zero-angels

lynx-zero-paper

lynx-zero-site

DUREX BANGS

TMW also developed this nice idea for Durex Facebook.What better way to stop the sound from overly-amorous neighbours than a pair of sex-noise cancelling headphones.

12-04-2013 13-51-31

BMW P.R.A.M.

Just to show I’m not completely biased here’s a non TMW example! BMW UK who ran an ad campaign for the P.R.A.M. (Postnatal Royal Auto Mobile) to link in with the imminent royal birth. The ad featured in the Daily Telegraph, on the BMW UK website (now removed) and the BMW UK Facebook page.

bmw-pram-ad

If you want to see April Fool campaigns from earlier years, click here (2009) or here (2012)

April Foolery

April Fool’s Day is always a good time to have a little fun with your advertising whilst simultaneously humanising the brand. Google’s elaborate hoaxes across their different platforms seems to be attracting all the headlines but I’m not sure I can be bothered to critique it here – life’s too short! Instead, I’ve opted to post about three simple campaigns which I quite like.

Lynx mobile spray app

I didn’t work on this personally unfortunately but the Lynx team at TMW have come up trumps with this useful mobile spray app – guaranteed to give instant sex appeal on the go – apparently! Promoted on YouTube and Facebook

BMW’s driverless running coach

BMW are known for doing April Fool hoaxes every year – in fact I referenced theirs a few years ago here when I first started this blog.  What I like about their executions is that they always tie them into their product or brand truths whether it’s linked to Efficient Dynamics, telematics technology or in this case their sponsorship of the London 2012 Olympics. So even though it’s tongue in cheek it’s still reinforcing their brand values and positioning in some way.

This year they highlight how their ConnectedDrive technology and surround view cameras can help turn their cars into driverless coaches where they follow the runner at a safe distance. And as with all their April Fool ads they continue to have fun with the email address too – so if you want more details you can email their Head of Futile Innovations, Alvin.Alaff@bmw.co.uk

via Nickburcher.com

Build your own mini
Mini Australia have come up with a farcical lease financing scheme where yu can now order a mini, one part at a time and build it yourself! Only 29,762 parts to collect…

Facebook: Going back in timeline

Facebook Timelines is opening up a range of new and exciting opportunities for brands to express themselves and engage with their fans. One aspect I particularly like is the timeline itself where brands can retrospectively publish posts to mark important milestones in their history. It’s a great way to showcase a brand’s heritage as well as reflect on its remarkable journey to the present day.  But it also acts as a virtual time capsule from a bygone era and can be strangely engaging in its own right, particularly for those who are passionate about your brand and its distant past.

But perhaps most important of all is that it creates the perfect environment for storytelling and rekindling some of those brand mythologies which make up its DNA. So here are some of the best examples I’ve seen to date but feel free to add to the list in the comments below.

Louis Vuitton

Louis Vuitton has been around since 1856 so they have a rich history of interesting stories to draw from to add context to their brand, from the time they opened their first workshop in Paris to some of their first innovative designs which have helped to define the luxury luggage category.

New York Time

The New York Times will have a huge back catalogue of worthy newstories to choose from so I imagine it was quite a job to distill the best ones.  They appear to have documented the history of the paper mixed in with events of the time so you can read about when Marilyn Monroe paid a visit to their newsroom to when the very first crossword puzzle was published.  What I like about this timeline is that they’ve actually tried to humanise the brand rather than simply provide an archive of all their achievements.

Ford

Once again, Ford pave the way in social media to show how automotive brands can use Facebook Timeline. They’ve made the most of their long history and backfilled their timeline with important milestones and achievement in automotive history, dating back to their inception at the start of the last century.

Coca-cola

Coca-cola was founded way back in 1886 so they’ve charted their history by showing how the soft drink seemlessly fitted into the daily lives of American society at any given point of time, whether that’s couples who met over a glass of Coke during World War II or drinking Coke whilst watching the first man go to the moon.

Burberry

Like Louis Vuitton, Burberry has been around since  1856 and have a rich history of stories to recount from opening their first store in Basingstoke to intrepid pilots from 1919 wearing Burberry Aviator suits for their first transatlantic flight.

Manchester United

I’m not really a football fan and if I was I doubt I’d support Man U! But supposing I was fanatical about this team I’m sure I’d enjoy dipping into their Facebook timeline to see my childhood heroes lifting the FA Cup. 

Coldplay

And finally, for all those Coldplay groupies out there you can look back at their meteoric rise from rather more humble beginnings!

Creating buzz around mobile apps

So you want to build a top-ranking mobile app?  Nothing wrong with that but it’s worth noting that the barriers to success can be phenomenal. The competition is fierce now and unfortunately there’s no secret formula to success, even if your app is the next best thing since sliced bread. In fact, unless you’re extremely lucky you’ll need to market your app considerably through a variety of paid, owned and earned media.

I pulled the presentation together below for the EGB Mobile and Social Media Conference earlier this month and put forward two different strategic approaches to ensuring you generate sufficient buzz around your app. One approach adopts a more linear approach to promoting your app whilst the other  relies on a more 360 approach where the mobile app is integral to the overall campaign.

But I also argue that chasing app downloads for the sake of it is not necessarily the holy grail.  Considering the challenges of building apps which can generate buzz for the brand, there’s a lot of merit in developing apps which support lower funnel objectives too.

I’d welcome your thoughts.

11 virtual stores you should know about

Virtual stores are nothing new.  When you think about it any branded website which replicates the shop environment through interactive visuals or e-commerce functionality  could be classified as a virtual store. But what I find interesting is the emerging trend of extending this concept into other digital, mobile and social spaces.   In a lot of ways it makes perfect sense to take your shop to where your customers are rather than wait for them to find you.

But simply replicating e-commerce in different platforms doesn’t necessarily cut it.  In fact, the WSJ reviewed a report by Forrester recently which warns brands not to rush out and add ecommerce functionality onto their social platforms as the ROI is still questionable.  Their study suggests that  early adopters of shopping carts on Facebook had seen only modest results, and in most cases not until after they’d established a loyal-fan following. But there does seem to be an emerging opportunity here for brands to explore, whether that’s incorporating e-commerce or replicating the store experience in some other way.  So here’s my pick of the bunch which I feel work brilliantly.

#1 – Asos Facebook page

Asos claimed to be the first in Europe to open a virtual store on Facebook where fans could buy their merchandise without even leaving the site.  Whether that’s true or not I don’t know but it’s clearly paying dividends for Asos who now boast almost 1 million fans already.   The e-commerce app they developed has the same functionality as that used on their main website including add-to-basket, edit cart contents, check out and order-tracking features.  But now they can tap into all the benefits of building a fanbase on Asos at the same time.

#2 – Amazon mobile app

I have the Amazon app on my iPhone and have to say I absolutely love it. It’s so simple to use and brings all the benefits and convenience you’ve come to expect from Amazon directly into the palm of your hand – so you can effectively browse the whole Amazon store without even getting off the sofa (or the loo for that matter).  But for me the best function is the barcode scanner.  I used this the other day when I was buying a flat screen TV.  I popped into various stores on the high street to review the latest products.   I checked them all for picture and sound quality and prices.  I even spoke to the friendly salesmen for advice.  Once I’d decided on the one I liked the most, I simply scanned the barcode using the Amazon app and found the exact same model on Amazon.  Not only was it £100 cheaper but I could also check all the consumer reviews to give me the social validation to go ahead with the sale.  I completed the transaction with a couple of clicks on my mobile (whilst in the other store) and had the TV delivered the very next day.

I must admit I did feel slightly guilty about abusing the high street retail system but since they didn’t have the one I wanted in stock that was their look out.  Also at least I paid something for my TV, which is more can be said for the London looters!

#3 – O2 Guru TV

If you haven’t seen it yet, you really should check out O2 Guru TV – they’ve delivered a fabulously engaging virtual store experience by creating a custom channel on YouTube.  It’s not a virtual shop which uses ecommerce as such but rather a portal for handling customer service queries. So customers can go there to find videos on a range of topics from the latest handset reviews to how to reduce your mobile tariff when travelling abroad. It’s a a video rich resource which is not only social and interactive but also excellent for driving awareness through video search optimisation. I’ve heard it’s had a positive impact on reducing call centre volumes too.


#4 – BMW on eBay

It’s easy to think of virtual stores within the retail sector but what about other industries like automotive.  Well, if you’re a BMW owner, the prospect of driving to your BMW dealer to pick up a spare part or accessory could be a thing of the past.  Nowadays you can simply visit their virtual store on eBay – BMW Direct.

#5 – Ocado on the Go

The Ocado on the Go app is available on the iphone and android. As you’d expect you can browse and buy all your groceries, as well as book a delivery slot directly from your phone. Very impressive functionality.  I probably wouldn’t do a complete weekly shop on it as it’s quite a protracted process – not sure my iphone battery would last that long – but I do occasionally amend existing orders or do a mid-week top up shop when I’ve forgotten something. According to econsultancy, they have 10,000 users registering every month and 4,000 checkouts a day. In fact, mobile transactions now account for 12% of Ocado purchases.

#6 – First Direct iphone app

I guess First Direct’s whole raison d’etre is around the virtual store proposition – after all if it wasn’t for telephony or online banking they wouldn’t exist.  But their latest app is a natural extension of the virtual store. It only has limited functionality at this stage – so all you can do is check your balances and make payments/transfers directly from the app. But for checking things on the fly, it’s perfect.

#7 – M & S mobile site

M & S recognised the importance of virtual shopping or ‘mobile retailing’ a while ago and launched their mobile ecommerce site in May last year. Since then, their site has received nothing but praise due to its simple usability experience and seemless ecommerce integration.  In fact, according to eDigital Research which publishes the mCommerce Benchmarking Study 2011, the M & S mobile site came out on top.

#8 YouTique by French Connection

French Connection have created a well designed custom channel on YouTube called YouTique. It hosts a range of video including anything from fashion tips to more leftfield content to keep things interesting. They have incorporated video annotation too to  guide visitors through the channel.

#9 – Google shopping

If you can’t run to the cost of producing your own virtual store, there’s always Google Shopping.  A search on Google Shopping will collate all the products within your vicinity so you can see at a glance what’s the cheapest. You can then go on to buy online with just a few clicks.

#10 – Tesco Homeplus & John Lewis

Tesco in Korea came up with an innovative idea recently where they decided to bring the store to the people. By creating a virtual store on the underground platform, commuters could shop by scanning the QR code with their smartphone which would then add the item to their shopping basket. Neat.

Funnily enough, John Lewis have recently come up with a similar execution in Brighton where they’ve converted a window display from one of their Waitrose stores into an interactive shopping experience using QR codes.

#11 – Virtual Facebook

Perhaps saving the best till last. Here’s an exciting idea by Shaker who have created a virtual world within your social network. The video is a bit corny but if you jump towards the end of the clip you’ll get the idea. Who knows it might catch on.

This isn’t an exhaustive list so if you know any other virtual stores, whether that’s ecommerce based or simply replicating the store experience on other digital or social platforms, please share them below.

Two unnatural bedfellows: eBay and BMW

You wouldn’t normally expect to see a luxury brand market itself on eBay but that’s exactly what BMW have done with their BMW Direct Store.

And they’ve done a good job too. BMW owners can now buy a wide and varied selection of accessories and merchandise without having to step foot in a dealership.  I wonder how long before you can buy a BMW 5 series?