Thanks to an article on Imediaconnection I’ve discovered the world of Michelin. Definitely not a topic I’m interested into, but surely a website worth a visit from an interactive marketing and design perspective. First of all it’s a rich experience: there’s a lot of content to discover, and the layout encourages in-depth exploration. It’s a great exercise of branding online without forgetting the importance of showing the product also. Of course, they did not forget to put the cherry on the cake, by adding some environmentally friendly content as well, dedicating an area to the “Greaner World”.
As you might have already read somewhere, Mercedes has recently launched an emotional website to deliver a strong brand message. The site is called from A to S and features several information through attractive Flash animations. It is definitely worth a visit, although I believe it is not as good as it could have been, considering the nice concept it is based on. Unfortunately not all the letters are yet active. You click and you get a message like “this feature will be added soon, please enter your email address to learn when”. Actually, since the site isn’t about a specific product but just about the brand and the quality of its cars, I don’t see why I should sign up for such info. To me, as a consumer who is actually interested in buying an A-class the site isn’t triggering enough to come back for a second visit just to see what’s new. Too bad.
Would you like some branded content? Check out what Diet Coke is doing on Hotel You, a sort of stylish guide to “lighten your mood and brighten your day”. You can plan a vacation, learn the chefs’ secrets, find out nice bars and restaurants around the US and, most of all, get a free extensive exposure to the Diet Coke brand. A nice website, nice graphics, nice content but, to me, not really worth a second visit.
Online competitions are one of the trends of the moment in consumer marketing. Recently I’ve been posting a lot about online quizzes, sweepstakes, on-pack promotions connected to a Web site, advergames with prizes, contests, lotteries etc… No matter what’s the target audience, it seems that giving away prizes is one of the only ways brands are able to find to engage their prospects. Creativity and originality in the game idea are not expressed at their best in most of these initiatives, which appear to be brilliant and trendy only in the prizes they are awarding: iPods. And this takes my analysis to the question in the title: what’s the value for a brand of setting up an online competition? In my opinion, if you give away iPods, the only brand which takes advantage of the fact is Apple. Why consumer brands don’t give away (mostly) their own products? Aren’t they valued to be “cool” enough as prizes? I don’t think this is positive…
Pfizer has decided to extend its streaming video advertising campaign with MSN Video through the end of 2005. The news is reported on ClickZ, explaining that the decision has been taken after reading the results of a study conducted by Millward Brown, which claims that online video ads are as effective as tv spots. The article does not question Pfizer’s decision, which is legitimate, but the reason that has been provided to explain it. Online video ads might be effective, but probably they are not the most effective way for online branding. PS: This might be the study Pfizer refers to: Streaming Media on the Web: The Involvement of TV Style Ads In a – Lean Forward – Medium. If this is the one, it has been presented in 2000, and we definetely need more evidences to prove the case…
SNCF, the French railways’ company is promoting its famous ultra fast train “TGV” with an online effort and a viral campaign. Le Journal du Net (in French) explains SNCF has produced three web movies which have been seen by more than 18.000 users in less than a week. The site Cestunchoix.com, supports the initiative, presenting the videos and the possibility to send them to friends. SNFC says this is essentially a branding campaign, and it’s the firtst time the TGV service is promoted on the Internet.
Online branding “died” a couple of years ago, with the New Economy’s crash, but now is set to come back thanks to rich media and engaging creative ideas. On E-Commerce Times Sarah Lacy talks about brand advertising on the Internet, starting with an analysis of Honda’s recent efforts. To evaluate the success of an online campaign (from a branding perspective) you don’t have to look at clicks, rather concentrate on pre & post campaign surveys, says analyst Gary Stein of Jupiter Research.
iVillage (via Terranova) has launched “Paradise Island” an online role-playing game, marked, as Betsy Book says, “by gender and commercial co-branding”. This is a very interesting example of a portal taking the relationship with its readers a step further, taking advantage of the medium’s peculiar characteristics. Interactivity, even if text-based is the best expression of Internet communication. Effective online branding isn’t necessarily flashy.
Mini is running an online campaign targeting MSN Messenger users. On a special Italian MSN’s section users can download pictures, backgrounds and special MINI emoticons. As explained on Pubblicit� Italia the campaign is online since one month, about 25000 users have visited the website and 5.500 emoticons have been downloaded. Marco Makaus, director at Mini Italia said that the brand wanted to use a stilish tool like Messenger which allows a direct and funny communication among young users. Basically, the message is that communicating with MSN Messenger is as cool as driving a MINI. Looking at the website they have created and analysing the whole initiative I tend not to agree with MINI’s branding idea. I feel like they are missing a point, what they are offering isn’t very interesting and, from my perspective doesn’t add anything to the brand which is indeed stilish and cool (btw I wish I had one…).
Coca-Cola is taking the heavily investing in Web communication, proving the media potentials when the goal is branding. The multi-national corporation has recently announced that in January it will launch in the UK an Internet music download service (MyCokeMusic.com), which will offer more than 250,000 songs (Revolution reports). At the same time, in Spain, Coke has presented �La Tienda Coca-Cola�, an online shop selling gadgets and merchandising, giving to charity the revenue (read more about it in Spanish on Marketing Directo). The shop is reachable by passing through the corporate Web site, and this fact highlights Coca-Cola�s intention to get people to know the Company better. On the other side, the online music download service is a clear example of Coke�s trying to build a relationship with young surfers, since the Company is not expecting to make a profit from the service. I believe we could easily adapt Pepsi�s tagline like this: Coca-Cola: the music for the new generation.
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