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Forgive me, I will make no other cheap Volvo jokes but this time it was too easy. Why? Read this:

Volvo’s interactive communication was pretty creative recently, due to the C30 release that was targeting urban young people. Here is an example: Mr. Robinson’s Driving School. But what about the other models?

S40 and V50 are rather for families. V50 is the kombi version of S40 so basically they are the same. If I think of Volvo, the first thing it comes to my mind is security. Even though that Renault has more models lately that has the maximum results on Euro NCAP and took over the security as a communication platform. Still, Volvo creates one of the most secure cars in the world – at least I think they do.

In the meantime, here in Hungary auto dealers have to face with a serious problem: taxes are so high on cars that for Hungarians keeping a car is rather a luxury and not a tool that makes their everyday life easier. (The newest trend is by the way that Hungarians buy their cars in Slovakia and drive it with a Slovak license plate – I told you that we are creative.) So the biggest barrier is the price that Volvo wants to build on.

Anyway, what we have for today is a pop-up ad that was published on Startlap (Hungary’s biggest directory page):

Pop-up and pop-under creative formats are pointless in today’s digital world. Pointless because a significant group of people blocks pop-ups (default IE7 setting is blocking pop-ups). And for those ones who don’t block them it is like spam as they didn’t click to see it. Bad choice. Not mentioning that on Startlap there is no way to target the message. Wide reach is guaranteed but without targeting possiblities.

And what about the content of the ad? (not a relevant question as people don’t see it, but let’s just have a look on that)

I know it is a big question whether the product should appear in the spot or not and if so what role it should play. To be honest most of the automotive campaign creatives are boring because it is about the car going in a perfect/natural/digital/whatever environment. The new Lexus ad is an excellent exception for example.

However our ad has no creative idea. The message is that customers can choose where to place extra features in the car. I mean in the age of ABS, ASR, TSP, SIPS, ROPS, BLIS, CBC, EBD, etc. who cares whether there is 24 extras or 27? Is that really a sales argument?

But OK, let’s think that there is a certain group of people who has a strange taste and get excited about the automotive abbreviations. Give them what they want. Create an interactive site where they can add their preferred extra into their virtual S40 or V50. And let’s see what the landing page contains:

 

There is a picture (like a print creative) that has no interactive function at all. Sorry there is, you can download it in pdf format.

Well, the question is: Why do they do this campaign? Just to have internet in the marketing mix? Or why? Seriously? Because the contras are:

– Boring creative idea
– No online adaptation of the creative idea
– Wrong creative format
– No content on the landing page

Sorry, this time I have no any pro. 😦 A perfect example for a useless online campaign.

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I like takeovers. Yes i do, beacause most of the times they are entertaining and therefore the creative itself is a valuable content for visitors. I think the biggest difference between interstitials and takeovers are this: takeovers can be entertaining while interstitials are more like big unavoidable – mainly image – adverts (unless you disable flash content in your browser). However you may find many more examples for interstitials while browsing. That’s because takeovers requires more creative work and co-ordination. Unfortunately, the tight deadlines and sometimes the lack of experience with such a complex creatives does not favor to the wide use of takeovers.

Djuice as a brand of Telenor targeting teens and young adults.  Djuice likes using not-everyday solutions and do spend a lot on online marketing communication as its target audience can be reached via online easily.

Their newest campaign is about promoting multimedia mobile services. Hungary in the CE region is an early adaptor of new mobile functions. The biggest barrier is financing the cost of new services as the biggest part of early adaptor target audience belong to the teen and young adults age group.

So Djuice came up with a promotion of giving back a weekly cost in every month for new subscribers. They created a microsite for the promotion that supports the message by funny modern artistic characters monsters:

 This graphical world is really close to these days’ most popular animation series. But, let’s see the creative that directs the microsite:

The takeover was published on Hotdog.hu, the most popular Hungarian community portal. There is a fake Hotdog opening page that looks like the real one and as the portal loaded monsters appear and conquer the whole screen. The total animation lasts for 12 seconds which is the the time limit of overlay solutions. They should automatically disappear after 12 seconds. Here I have a problem. For such a special overlay creative there should be a following ad because if the visitor is watching what’s happening and suddenly ends but cannot be recalled because one visitor can see it only once per week (there is a weekly cookie) there should be a small reminder later. Otherwise they loose the users that don’t switch in 12 seconds.

I like the creaive idea: Make fun with words. Even though they don’t cover the whole story (we are talking about multimedia content that also includes pictures, videos, music, etc.) I think the creative execution is good. I think Hotdog as a medium was a right choice. It has its own look and feel very similar to the key visuals of the campaign.

And what about the link in between the message and the product? The microsite is as nicely done as the campaign creative. What I am missing still is the connection between the visuals and the offer. I know that there are strict guidelines how to visualize the product and price offer but I would see the monsters on the product offer page presenting maybe. Without keeping them on that page these offers are too direct and tells the visitor that make no mistake this is what is important for us (for the company): selling the phones. Some might not think about that but this nuisance may negatively affect the optimal results.

Pros:
+ good creative idea
+ nice creatives
+ creative mediaplanning

Contras:
– missing follow up of takeover creative
– missing visual link between the creative and the message on the microsite

I would be glad to see such well-done campaigns on the Hungarian market. It was inspiring.

Firstly, Hungarians do visit international portals and consume contents in other languages. Windows Live Messenger is the most popular IM service here and for a while you can book spaces and advertise on Messenger spaces directly from Hungary. Microsoft itself also started to pay more attention on its Hungarian house-ads and the first post is about one of them.

Under the Messenger Buddy List there is a small banner space. Microsoft placed its own advertisement there. When users moves the cursor on top of it, the banner expands. Now here is the story of the communication: “Office brings you joy!… Buy three Office Small Business products and we send a bunch of flower to someone you love…”

but its not over yet. When you click on it, you are directed to the landing page where you can find short video stories of two young adults who explain unnatural stories like how calm they can sleep now at nights and how much easier the business became now that they use legal Microsoft Small Business softwares.

Microsite:

Okay, now let’s go step by step.

1. Target audience: small business owners
First I saw this ad in office hours and I thought that they use time target but as I can see it now too, obviously they don’t. Even though I haven’t noticed any consciousness in age target when I made a small research I am sure that they use it somehow. Anyway, as I saw it many times it reached me well and I am a good target for them.

2. Creative format and idea: expandable banner
I have to add to this that Microsoft want to sell this space for Hungarian advertisers as they have a promotion of buy one get two ad impressions. Otherwise this creative format is not reasonable at all and even the creative execution doesn’t want to take advantage on this. I am trying to understand what the point is because at the moment when I see the creative it has the message for me that there are one reason to buy Microsoft Office, to send a gift to our beloved ones.

And let’s see the contras:
– The promotional message is useless, even they couldn’t link it to the content on the microsite.
– Actors are struggling with the texts they have to say, they are not credible (the copywriter should have worked more on that too)
– Even though the design and the environment is nicely done the stories are really unnatural that makes it a waste of money.

But, there is a pro:
+ Microsoft used videos to deliver the information that is a pretty new trend especially in B2C communication. – So bad that they hadn’t pay enough attention to the content…