The final days of summer are upon us, which means the car season up here in Boston is slowly coming to a close. There’s only a handful of weeks remaining where the weather is conducive for car meets and Cars & Coffees, as the cold and snow aren’t too far away. With the impending end to an awesome car season looming in the back of our minds, it doesn’t mean that we can’t have fun and enjoy spending time with fellow car enthusiasts. On a late Saturday afternoon, a meet was organized at the best spot in Boston to take pictures and to just get away from the crowds at car events. This meet, while short lived due to the police kicking us out, turned out to be one of the best nights this summer.
Near the waterfront of the Boston harbor the fog rolling in off the water, combined with the industrial buildings and loading terminals, created an atmosphere that would have been expected on the set of a Fast & Furious movie. As the sun began to set, cars started arriving, including two Lamborghini Huracans, a Porsche 911 GT3, a McLaren 570S, C6 and C7 Chevrolet Corvettes, a Maserati Gran Turismo, and small groups of BMWs, Audis, and JDM cars. Familiar faces arriving with each car made this car meet a great time to just hang out and talk with friends. That’s what the car community is all about.
To many non-car enthusiasts, excessive revving, and doing burnouts and donuts in empty parking lots are usually what they associate with when they think of late afternoon or evening car meets. That can’t be further from the truth or reality. When you have a group of great individuals who love cars and want to share their passion with fellow car enthusiasts, meets in exclusive locations tend to be the best. For about two hours we took photos, videos, talked, and met up with friends before the meet was ultimately shut down. Despite the early end, it was a great evening nonetheless.
I’m so thankful to be part of a community with awesome people that make late summer evenings fun. This is what being a car enthusiast is all about, and why our community is so close-knit. The Boston car scene may not be as big as Los Angeles, Miami, or Texas, but it’s the car owners and people that make us the best car community in the country.
There’s three car events this month at Larz Anderson Auto Museum.
At Gilette Stadium in Foxborough, there’s Bass Pro Shops Cruise Night on Thursday nights from 4-8pm. This is a bi-weekly event that usually gets a turnout between 1000 and 2000 cars. Here are the two upcoming cruise nights.
As always, I’ll continue to update this article if any large car events pop up within the next few days and weeks.
The car season in Boston has already reached the halfway mark, and to transition into the second half of the season July 8th and 9th certainly didn’t disappoint. So far this season we’ve seen two Ferrari 488 GTBs, at least three Porsche 911Rs, and now in one weekend we got the opportunity to see the McLaren F1, the new McLaren 720S, and the Aston Martin V12 Zagato. Here are some of the photos from this past weekend.
The Spy Shots of the McLaren 720S
At McLaren Boston Cars & Coffee, we were greeted by the 720S which was being delivered to the dealership at the same time as the event was coming to an end. Unfortunately, the covers weren’t taken off, but thanks to a few exposed parts of the car, this 720S is Pearl Orange. This makes it one of the first to land in the United States.
Herb Chambers’ McLaren F1
Sadly, this will be the last time we see this F1 as it will be auctioned off later this year. The good news however, is that it will be replaced by the new Mercedes Benz AMG Project One hypercar.
The 2013 Aston Martin V12 Zagato
After McLaren Boston Cars & Coffee, I had to stop by and check out the Aston Martin V12 Zagato at Aston Martin of New England. This car is very rare, as only 61 were made worldwide and about six are in the United States.
This was by far the best weekend so far this car season, and hopefully bigger and better things are to come before the winter arrives.
In the car community, having a car with a stick or being capable of driving a manual car, is an added bonus to show your knowledge and legitimacy as a car enthusiast. Often we discuss what car with a manual transmission would be perfect to learn and or own. The Mazda Miata is always brought up for many reasons, including the fact that it’s essentially a street legal go-kart which gives drivers the sensation of being connected to the road. There are many other candidates, but one that is never mentioned nor given credit as being a fun car is the Volvo S40 T5.
I know what you’re thinking, but much like the C30, the S40 can be fun to drive, and in fact could be the perfect car to learn how to drive a stick. Many S40 owners complain about the close proximity between the brake and gas pedals, as you’ll most likely accidentally tap on of them. This dilemma actually brings up the perfect opportunity to start heel-toeing, which will make you a better driver and help train you to shift through the gears smoother. The S40 T5 has other benefits as well, including performance and modification capabilities.
With a turbocharged 5 cylinder engine producing around 227 horsepower, you’re going to have a decent car right off the bat. It won’t beat a fully stock MazdaSpeed3 but you’ll have more horsepower than a stock Volkswagen GTI. This now leads up to modifications, and here are just a few S40s that are out there where the owners brought the Swedish sedan to the next level.
You can also go with body kits from Heico to add a more sporty appeal to the S40
Overall the S40 is a great car to start out with, whether to daily drive or learn how to drive a manual. It’s a safe car, the interior is cozy, and the seats are absolutely comfortable. Perfect for the driver who also wants to step into the entry level luxury segment. Despite not being a BMW, Audi, or Mercedes Benz, it’s definitely an alternative if you don’t want to buy a Japanese car, but with that does come costs at the repair shop.
Right now you can find S40 T5s around $5k – $6k. If you’re lucky enough to stumble upon an S40 T5 R-Design don’t pass it up. Not only are they rare to come by these days, but you get some added goodies in terms of aesthetics. They’re also holding their value slightly better and can be purchased for around $12k.
Most importantly, you’ll have a novelty car. Not many S40 T5’s are out there on the roads, let alone a modified one. It’s safe to say that at a local car meet, you’ll have the only S40, but it will be unique which just adds to the appeal and the whole package of owning one.
What lacks from most automotive advertisements is emotion, passion, and a connection between the driver-to-be and the car. Vehicles are often more than just objects to people. For some, cars are a means of transportation, going from one destination to another, but for others, vehicles are a way of life. Some of you may ask, “How can there be such a relationship where the driver is completely engaged with the car?” Certain brands have built and engineered cars that make the driver feel as if they’re one with the car they own, and feeling very connected to the road through the twists and turns on a back country road. These machines grasp the imagination and excitement of drivers and kids of all ages.
Porsche’s commercial, presumably from 2005, pulls at the heartstrings of car enthusiasts. At one point or another in a person’s life, they looked out the window daydreaming of the sports car they’d own when they got older. No doubt that the Porsche 911 was on a poster in kids’ bedrooms, as even today, the 911 is an exotic car many only dream of owning. In a commercial that is primarily music with very limited dialogue, the kid is drawn in by the Porsche’s presence as it passes his school. He’s so captivated that immediately after school he rides his bike to the nearest Porsche dealership just to get a close up look at the new 911.
When he’s allowed to sit in the cabin, his emotions can easily be felt by the viewers. Even today as adults, we space out when we finally get to touch the car that’s been at the center of our dreams for years, or for one split second, we see ourselves driving it. Porsche’s commercial hits all the right notes that no doubt motivated people to buy the car immediately, or work harder to obtain their aspirations of owning a 911.
While there are a few funny moments when the kid asks for the salesman’s business card, or when he says he’ll see him again in 20 years, it still ties into the message, which is the connection to the car itself. Emotion and feeling are often the greatest motivators in life, yet car commercials of today don’t express what the consumer is feeling. Instead, it’s marketing the features of the car, or the add-ons that can be seen on most models in 2016, that’s taken precedence over what the consumer desires.
Owning a car should be fun, especially when consumers buy exactly what they wanted. A Porsche 911 is the car that enthusiasts want because it hugs the road, offers performance and luxury, and gives the owner many years of smiles and memories. These feelings haven’t died as some have suggested, including the Washington Post which had an article saying car culture is shrinking in the United States. Enthusiasts beg to differ as car shows and events are growing at a rapid rate across the country. Car enthusiasm isn’t dying, it’s being awoken.
Luxury car manufacturers are experiencing high volumes in sales, and for those who aren’t, it’s time to start reviving the emotion, joy, and excitement that once drew customers toward the brand. Instead of trying to be funny, or marketing your cars for what they aren’t, be real. Consumers are human beings with emotions, and their buying decisions are made through those emotions. Start appealing to the younger generations, get them excited for the vehicles you offer.
By not bringing your cars to life, you become like every other high volume seller. Bring back the emotion and appeal that has a lasting impact on consumers, and you’ll begin to see a loyal following that will continue to buy from your brand. Only then will you find the voice that speaks up amongst the rest on YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
In the previous article of this mini-series where we take a look at Youtube marketing by car manufacturers, Hyundai was the center of attention, as their 15 second adverts gave no reason to consumers as to why they should buy a vehicle from the Korean automaker. Toyota now finds themselves in the BostonAutoBlog spotlight, magnifying Hyundai’s bland marketing campaign, by going one step further in advertising technology or features that all or most car manufacturers offer in today’s market. Toyota has always had a loyal following, but if their goal is to increase sales, they’re missing big in their recent onslaught of 15 second videos.
Before we analyze the video above; is this the state the automotive market is in right now, marketing pre-existing features that any car company offers? In this 15 second clip, LED headlights are the main focus, with the spokesman saying, “How do you make Camry’s headlights stand out even more? Skip ahead a few hours”. It sounds like a punchline to a corny joke, one which won’t break the ice if you’re at a table surrounded by strangers.
Most cars come with LED headlights or you can order them to modify the current car you own. Toyota’s LED’s can’t even hold a candle to three year old used Audis or BMWs which would be in the same price range as a new Camry. Worst of all, as a consumer, why would I be attracted to a Camry after watching this quick ad? Yes, by now we should all know Toyota’s reliability record, but there’s no need to start marketing features that buyers wouldn’t find relevant.
The corny jokes don’t end there, it continues with yet another quick ad. At this point, you have to wonder if the same marketing firm that worked with Hyundai, moved onto Toyota a few months later. Toyota’s are not known for their handling, and as someone who has driven a Rav4 in the past, you don’t feel very connected to the road. If great handling is the focus of the commercial, there needs to be actual footage, and not a guy playing with a toy car who then places it in the driveway.
While 15 second clips on Youtube are the norm for automakers now, less information about the vehicle being marketed is presented. Even though there’s a risk of viewers pressing the skip ad button, it would be better to extend these ads to 30 seconds to offer potential buyers selling points as to why they should buy a Rav4 or a Toyota Camry.
The last video worth highlighting, might just be the worst of them all. People who buy a Toyota Prius purchase them for one reason, it’s environmentally friendly. Toyota has been marketing the Prius like a race car, or during the Super Bowl, a getaway car. It’s time to go back to their roots and advertise the Prius for what it is. It’s not “agile”, it’s not “fun”, and it certainly doesn’t need racing decals as the car doesn’t deserve racing credentials.
What’s lacking in this commercial? Fuel efficiency. Isn’t that why people buy a Prius? What YouTube marketing has done is take common sense and a well thought out commercial out of the equation. There’s no selling points, no facts about what the car can do, no demonstration as to why it’s “agile”, and there are no legitimate reasons as to why I, or anyone else should buy one.
Hyundai and Toyota have made the ads that popup before watching a video cringe-worthy. These two manufacturers can offer better in terms of marketing to the masses, as their cars speak for themselves. Both their reliability ratings and customer satisfaction should be the main focal points of these ads, not the technology or features within the cars.
If Ford, Chrysler-Fiat, GM, Mazda, Kia, and Honda are watching, they should take notes. Hyundai and Toyota have left the door open for better YouTube advertising that grabs consumers’ attention, thoroughly goes over what their cars offer in terms of reliability, safety, and performance, and not worry about the technology within the vehicles. What is truly lacking in the automotive market is passion, emotion, and excitement.
We should get excited when we see your commercials. There should be a desire to want to drive and buy your vehicles. Every time your vehicle passes us by on the street, our first thought should be that great commercial you marketed that created an emotional connection. It’s time to start marketing your cars as if you love them as much as the consumer. Without passion, you become a Toyota who is trying to crack corny jokes, or Hyundai who is in an identity crisis as they’re not sure whether to brand themselves as a company that offers luxury vehicles, or a company that has reasonably priced cars for the middle class.
YouTube has become a major component in digital marketing for car companies, as video content’s ability to grab consumers’ attentions is well worth the investment of money and time. Hyundai and Mazda are the two manufacturers who use YouTube advertising the most, and their short 15 to 30 seconds videos pop up on the screen before your video starts. While Mazda has been pushing a message that resonates with those who love driving, Hyundai on the other hand, has taken a different approach by pointing out the features their vehicles offer. Unfortunately, that marketing campaign swung and missed as they had the right idea, but executed poorly.
You’re probably familiar with these 15 second blurbs that Hyundai has been advertising for the past few months. With such a short window of time, there’s very little a spokesperson or influencer can say to entice consumers to do further research into the car and possibly buy it. No matter who was behind the wheel of the new Genesis, the lack of creativity, thought, and selling points is why this video, and the rest in the campaign, failed to get the reception the manufacturer was looking for. In this particular video, the woman is pointing out the touch screen navigation system that comes with the Hyundai Genesis. She further says that when she was shopping, she couldn’t find a car that offered this amount of technology standard.
While the target audience appears to be middle-aged women, the average female consumer would be aware that most cars come with the technology, and that Hyundai is not offering anything different from other manufacturers. In related videos, a panoramic sunroof and automatic rear lift gate are also noted in other 15 second videos, but again, BMW, Audi, and Mercedes Benz offer the same. The woman ends each video with a similar question, ‘Does your car have this feature’? In 2016, it’s very likely 50% or more of the viewers have at least one of these features in their car already, leaving each video valueless to the consumer.
Over the years, Hyundai has changed and evolved into a respectful car manufacturer. They’ve been named one of most reliable car companies on the market, they offer an array of models that target different types of consumers, and their cars have improved in quality and overall build each year. Their selling point should be quality, instead of the features they offer. Every car company in the 21st century has become the same as they all have similar safety and tech features, which is why Volvo, the standard barer for safety, had to completely change their marketing and advertising for the brand.
To be more effective. Hyundai should have made longer videos highlighting why their cars are better than Honda, Toyota, and Nissan. While they are extending the brand to become more high-end with the Genesis product line, pushing reliability should be the cornerstone of their advertising. Selling luxury is one thing, but selling durability and quality is quite another, which is needed in the automotive market with the endless amounts of recalls.
Hyundai’s biggest miss was the platform they decided to use for the ad campaign. Facebook would have been better as they could have targeted women, both single or married, with or without children, which would have received a better reception. By going the YouTube route, they’re reaching thousands of people who are already brand loyal with competitors or may already know that these features are available on many cars.
Hyundai’s vehicles speak for themselves. Their improvements are well noted by consumers, and the features they’ve put in their cars is icing on the cake. With longer videos, more in-depth looks at the car, and using other platforms for 15 second adverts, Hyundai will get the conversion rates they’re looking for.
Mike Cerra is a social media marketer in the automotive industry, serving the Boston area. If your dealership is in need of social media services, you can contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Just over 10 years ago, a website by the name of YouTube was created, forever changing the Internet and the digital world as we know it today. Fast forward to 2016 and we now have live streaming apps: Facebook Live, Periscope, and Meerkat which all achieve the same goal; reaching followers and customers in realtime. While used by individuals and media for the most part, businesses in any sector can see results by going live, as they can answer questions and go in-depth on their products by showcasing and testing them for their followers to see. One industry that up to now refuses to take part in going live or using any native video content of their own, the automotive industry, could see massive growth in sales by posting videos to their social media platforms.
Car dealerships as a whole are very hesitant towards experimental marketing. Anything that strays from traditional marketing is often looked down upon as it’s immediately perceived to not work or could have a negative impact on the dealership’s reputation. Live streaming or video content that is created and further promoted on Facebook will be anything but negative, and in fact will yield positive results, more overall reach, and more engagement. Most importantly, by going live, you now show the audience that you’re in fact human instead of a company web bot.
Back in the 1990’s, car dealerships would have time slots on local television stations, usually 30 minutes. They’d have a salesman in front of cars discussing the price, performance specifications, and options that came with the model. Today in the 21st century, when video content can reach thousands of people without great expense, there’s dealerships who shy away from live streaming or recorded video altogether, with very few companies posting videos on YouTube at the very least.
While YouTube has the ability of going viral, your videos will not be targeted directly to consumers in your dealership’s area. With Facebook, you can promote to and target people within your region, state, and even city your dealership is located in. Whether you record live or not, your chances of going viral are much higher as your followers and customers can easily share, like, and comment.
In terms of specifics, you could do a weekly video discussing certain models, trim levels, and varying prices. Since cars have different features, engine types, and drivetrains, your content can help customers choose the car that fits their specific needs. Consumers who aren’t quite sure which car brand they should go with, would benefit greatly by your videos, especially if the model you’re reviewing is a rival to one of the brands they’re looking at. For example, you’re the General Manager of a Hyundai dealership and you want to increase sales of the Elantra GT. With a video taking an in-depth look at the Elantra GT, you could pry consumers away from buying a Honda Fit or Volkswagen Golf.
The possibilities are endless. There’s no need to hop on the YouTube train when you could go in a completely different direction and reach potential customers within minutes. With Facebook promotions, your videos are seen on people’s news feeds, rather than hoping an intrigued potential buyer searches on YouTube, with the possibility the video they watch isn’t from your dealership. Live streaming and videos is what the market responds to, and by not advertising and marketing in the year we live in, you’re setting yourself up for shrinking sales year after year.
Mike Cerra is a social media marketer in the automotive industry, serving the Boston area. If your dealership is in need of social media services, you can contact him at email@example.com.