Connected Cars are Shaping the Media Landscape

The development of “Connected Cars” (cars equipped with an internet connection) will not only change mobility, but they will also inevitably change the future of the media landscape through the automotive infotainment systems already being integrated into vehicles.

The possibilities and capabilities for connected cars are seemingly endless, however, there are logistical roadblocks. Greenough (2015) states, “By 2020, BI Intelligence estimates that 75% of cars shipped globally will be built with the necessary hardware to connect to the internet.” However, Forbes (2015) argues that real action will not transpire until concrete relationships between Carmakers and Telecommunication Companies are made. Logistically, it’s easy to understand difficulties in determining whether the car is included on the telecom bill as another ‘device’, or if it will be an ongoing monthly connectivity fee paid to the carmaker. Forbes (2015) also highlights the issues in terms of customer security, reliability and safety in terms of what and how much is available through the connected car. This leads to another issue mutually discussed within the literature; content, particularly advertising, within a connected car must be useful and non-invasive. Wong (2015) indicates that instead of loud and intrusive advertising, the goal is “to capitalize on those opportunities when consumers actually invite brands to participate in the everyday moments in their lives that matter most.” What better way to effectively target consumers than by creating a new mix of media (digital and online, OOH, and radio) and integrating it into connected cars in a way that will make consumer lives easier by, as Wong (2015) and Walford (2014) both suggest, predicting schedules, desires and needs.

As Wong (2015) and Walford (2014) mention, personalisation and targeted ads is one way for brands to capitalise from the connected cars innovation. By targeting consumers in their cars, the recency effect is at it’s highest, and thereby the convenience of a timely ad will steer customers towards purchase opportunities. Wong (2015) and Uminski (2015) indicate that advertisers will be able to discover opportunities created by the real-time data. For example, the integration of a GPS system and a weather forecast system could supply opportunities for cafes to alert drivers nearby of the conditions, and suggest a hot beverage at a discounted price. Similarly, music-streaming apps like Pandora with thumbs up and down functions (which is already a feature in many cars (Kirchner, 2014)) have opportunities to personalise the drivers music experience, as well as the digital radio ads that are played through the service (for example, while listening to relaxing music, ads for a day spa would be played). Each function of the connected car infotainment system has the potential to build a consumer ‘profile’ through user history (much like cookies are used with online advertising) which will better aid advertisers through targeting their ads to the right people at the right time, either through direct infotainment system alerts (Data Driven Marketing, 2014), or through third party media suppliers such as Pandora. Additionally, this extent of media opportunities will allow advertisers to track, measure and optimise advertising processes in real-time (Wong, 2015). This new media platform will give brands a much deeper insight into consumer behaviour, particularly in the way they react to products and services that are more tailored and timely than ever before.

With the large amount of people driving cars every day, and an even larger amount of people using the internet every day, it is only inevitable that the Connected Car will be the next major media platform for advertisers with so many opportunities for brands to build stronger, more personalised relationships with their consumers.

References

Data Driven Marketing. (2014, August 26). Highway to Future: Connected Cars. Retrieved May 6, 2015, from Internet Innovators: http://internetinnovators.com/index.php/post-en/highway-to-future-connected-cars/

Forbes. (2015). 10 Obstacles For Connected Cars. Retrieved May 6, 2015, from Forbes: http://www.forbes.com/pictures/mkk45ihlk/10-obstacles-for-connected-cars/

Greenough, J. (2015, February 13). The ‘connected car’ is creating a massive new business opportunity for auto, tech, and telecom companies. Retrieved May 6, 2015, from Business Insider: http://www.businessinsider.com.au/connected-car-forecasts-top-manufacturers-2015-2

Kirchner, C. (2014, August 6). Pandora Founder Talks iTunes Radio, Beats and Future. Retrieved May 6, 2015, from GottaBeMobile: http://www.gottabemobile.com/2014/06/08/iphone-6-video-concept-shows-ios-8-exciting-features/

Uminski, C. (2015, January 9). CES 2015: Connected car data will transform advertising and media strategies. Retrieved May 6, 2015, from Marketing Magazine: http://www.marketingmagazine.co.uk/article/1328608/ces-2015-connected-car-data-will-transform-advertising-media-strategies

Walford, L. (2014, May 19). In connected cars, advertising will come along for the ride. Retrieved May 6, 2015, from TechHive: http://www.techhive.com/article/2156981/in-connected-cars-advertising-will-come-along-for-the-ride.html

Wong, B. (2015, April 26). The Future of Advertising: Farewell, Mass Marketing. Retrieved May 6, 2015, from The Wall Street Journal: http://www.wsj.com/articles/the-future-of-advertising-farewell-mass-marketing-1430105034

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Comparison of TBWA’s Disruption Philosophy and Y&R’s Brand Asset Valuator

Proprietary tools, processes and philosophies are often implemented into brands through advertising agencies in order to reach a particular outcome, whether it be a clearer brand model, direction, position, growth, and so on.

‘Disruption’ is a philosophy that is key to TBWA’s business. Disruption entails looking at the pre-existing conventions of a category, and then “finding a way for the brand to behave differently to accelerate its growth” (Shepherd-Smith, 2009) by challenging the norms, and creating a disruption that allows the brand to reach their vision. This philosophy is not simply a tool for developing marketing and advertising solutions for brands; it is a process that can uproot a brand and change “how [they] think, behave, do business, learn and go about [their] day-to-day” (Howard, 2013).

The ‘Brand Asset Valuator’ (BAV) used by Y&R is a very different process. While TBWA’s Disruption philosophy looks at conventions and ways which brands can disrupt these conventions, the BAV looks at measuring the value of a brand in terms of it’s strength and stature (Y&R, 2010). The BAV measures brand value by evaluating a brand’s level of differentiation, relevance, esteem and knowledge (Value Based Management, 2014). Mizik & Jacobson (2008) claim this model is a specific approach, as it assesses universal brand characteristics, rather than category specific characteristics. In contrast, Shepherd-Smith (2009) tells how the Disruption process looks more broadly at the brand category for commonalities. However, both processes have strong focuses on differentiation, as one of the assessible pillars of the BAV is ‘differentiation’ as it exists currently in the brand, and Disruption seeks to establish differentiation through its process.

Another distinct difference between Y&R’s BAV and TBWA’s Disruption is their point of perspective. Mizik & Jacobson (2008) state that the BAV model is “based on the premise that brand is a multidimensional construct that can be assessed through customer perception measurements.” While the BAV measures value from a customer point of view, Disruption again focuses on views in terms of the market and category (Shepherd-Smith, 2009). But while the BAV focuses on the brand’s output, in terms of products or services, perceived value, awareness and so on, Disruption looks more closely at the operations within the brand. Brands who implement the Disruption process can often see changes in corporate behaviour, which in turn flows into shifts in marketing and advertising communications, and brand perceptions (Shepherd-Smith, 2009). Pedigree is a prime example, who changed from a product-based packaged goods strategy (“we sell dog food”) to a brand-based strategy (“we love dogs”).

In essence, both the Disruption philosophy and the BAV focus strongly on the brand’s position and their level of differentiation. Disruption looks at identifying conventions of the brand’s category, and challenging these conventions in order to establish differentiation. The BAV, however, does not go so far as this. The BAV merely measures the value of the brand as it currently is, which could provide insights into where the brand could go, but doesn’t go so far as planning this process. In summary, Disruption is a proactive process, while the BAV is seemingly a more reactive measurement tool that produces insights.

References:

Howard, C. (2013, March 27). Disruption Vs. Innovation: What’s The Difference? Retrieved April 24, 2015, from Forbes: http://www.forbes.com/sites/carolinehoward/2013/03/27/you-say-innovator-i-say-disruptor-whats-the-difference/

Mizik, N., & Jacobson, R. (2008). The Financial Value Impact of Perceptual Brand Attributes. Journal Of Marketing Research (JMR) , 45 (1), 15-32.

Shepherd-Smith, M. (2009, December 9). Philosophy of Disruption. Retrieved April 24, 2015, from Chief Executive Officer: http://www.the-chiefexecutive.com/features/feature71671/

Value Based Management. (2014). Brand Asset Valuator. Retrieved April 24, 2015, from Value Based Management: http://www.valuebasedmanagement.net/methods_brand_asset_valuator.html

Y&R. (2010). Tools & Knowledge. Retrieved April 24, 2015, from Y&R: http://young-rubicam.de/tools-wissen/tools/brandasset-valuator/?lang=en

Lexus Outdoor Advertising – Smart Billboards

Arens et al (2009) describes outdoor advertising, or out-of-home media, as a broad category of media which reaches prospects outside their homes, such as through bus and taxicab advertising, subway posters, billboards, and so on. There are many media and creative considerations for developing outdoor advertising in order to increase its effectiveness.

In terms of creative execution, Arens et al (2009), Lamar (2014), Adstruc (2012), The Hangline (2011) and Suggett (n.d.) all mutually agree that the recommended maximum for outdoor copy is seven words, as outdoor ads are often fleeting messages. Arens et al (2009), Lamar (2014) and The Hangline (2011) also indicate that simple typefaces should be used as opposed to ornate, overly bold and overly thin typefaces to increase legibility, and spacing between letters and words should be increased to increase readability. Contrasting colours should also be implemented in order to reduce the ‘blurring’ effect.

In terms of media considerations for effective outdoor advertising, The Hangline (2011) and Suggett (n.d.) both advise that outdoor advertising, particularly media like billboards, is not always the place for a call to action or direct response. The Hangline (2011) also indicates that every ad should have a clear and directed target audience. Finally, all sources emphasise the significance of being creative in execution in order for the ad to resonate with the audience.

Image Source: APN Outdoor (2015)
Image Source: APN Outdoor (2015)

In January 2015, M&C Saatchi in collaboration with APN Outdoor and TMS developed a campaign around using smart billboards for Lexus (APN Outdoor, 2015).

The billboard pictured above was one of the 5 billboards positioned in high traffic areas within Australia’s major cities. The billboard used a specially designed system with cameras to recognise the make, model and colour of cars that drove under the billboard, and displayed personalised messages to other luxury car drivers on the road encouraging them to trade up to a Lexus NX Crossover (APN Outdoor, 2015).

In many aspects, Lexus’ digital billboard as pictured above aligns with the industry established guidelines for developing effective outdoor ads. The colour contrast of the predominantly black and white ad is effective and in line with industry guidelines; there is no direct call for action in terms of phone numbers or websites; there is a clear target audience, as the ad only displays personal messages to drivers in luxury vehicles (Karras, 2015); and finally, many advertising practitioners have reviewed this as an innovative and uniquely targeted digital billboard. MDG Advertising (2015) states that “while people expect personalized messages while on the Web or in promotional emails, the use of this targeting on outdoor ads elevates the technology to a brand new level.” Micallef (2015) quotes Adrian Weimers, Lexus Australia Corporate Manager, Sales and Operations, as saying that “being able to target the competitor and have a bit of fun with it is brilliant.” Campaign Brief (2015) and Aquilina (2015) both indicate that this billboard is simply an excellently executed innovative ad, and the first of it’s kind within Australia.

However, while the ad is cleverly targeted, innovative and effectively positioned in strategic high traffic areas of major Australian cities, one major misalignment with established industry guidelines is that the amount of words within the ad exceeds 7, and the spacing between lines of text are possibly too close together for words in capital letters. The readability of the ad could be perceived as low, and it’s possible drivers may not be able to read the entire ad within the given exposure time due to the amount of words.

In essence, Lexus’ digital billboard is almost a prime example of effective outdoor advertising, and further considerations and alignments with industry guidelines would have increased the ad’s effectiveness.

References:

Adstruc. (2012). How To Create An Effective Outdoor Ad. Retrieved April 24, 2015, from Adstruc: http://news.adstruc.com/post/19963413500/how-to-create-an-effective-outdoor-ad

APN Outdoor. (2015, January 20). Australia’s smartest billboards talk to motorists for Lexus via M&C Saatchi, APN Outdoor and TMS. Retrieved April 24, 2015, from APN Outdoor: http://www.apnoutdoor.com.au/about-us/our-news/20-01-2015/australia-s-smartest-billboards-talk-to-motorists-for-lexus-via-m-c-saatchi-apn-outdoor-and-tms

Aquilina, S. (2015, January 20). Lexus interactive billboards: ‘direct messaging on steroids’. Retrieved April 24, 2015, from Marketing Mag: https://www.marketingmag.com.au/news-c/lexus-interactive-billboards-direct-messaging-steroids/

Arens, W. F., Schaefer, D. H. & Weigold, M. (2009). Essentials of Contemporary Advertising (2nd ed.). New York, USA: McGraw-Hill Irwin.

Campaign Brief. (2015, January 19). Australia’s smartest billboards talk to motorists for Lexus via M&C Saatchi, APN Outdoor + TMS. Retrieved April 24, 2015, from Campaign Brief: http://www.campaignbrief.com/2015/01/australias-smartest-billboards.html

Karras, J. (2015, March 4). LEXUS Billboard OOH Casestudy [Video File]. Retrieved April 24, 2015, from Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7TgTHJ66ubk#t=13

Lamar. (2014). Design Tips. Retrieved April 24, 2015, from Lamar Advertising: http://www.lamar.com/HowToAdvertise/DesignTips

MDG Advertising. (2015, April 11). Lexus Outdoor Advertising Goes High-Tech Down Under. Retrieved April 24, 2015, from MDG Advertising: http://www.mdgadvertising.com/blog/lexus-outdoor-advertising-goes-high-tech-down-under/

Micallef, R. (2015, January 18). Smart outdoor gets smarter: Lexus targets competitor cars. Retrieved April 24, 2015, from AdNews: http://www.adnews.com.au/news/smart-outdoor-gets-smarter-lexus-targets-competitor-cars

Suggett, P. (n.d.). The Six Basic Rules of Billboard Advertising. Retrieved April 24, 2015, from About – Advertising: http://advertising.about.com/od/advertisingglossaryb/a/The-Six-Basic-Rules-Of-Billboard-Advertising.htm

The Hangline. (2011, January 24). The 10 Commandments of Outdoor Advertising. Retrieved April 24, 2015, from The Hangline: http://www.thehangline.com/articles/the-10-commandments-of-outdoor-advertising/