In recent weeks we've been deluged with innovative and entertaining campaigns from the automotive world. Moving far beyond the 30-second spot of a driver speeding along a winding deserted road, brands such as Ford
have tapped into popular trends like hack culture and personalisation to offer their customers something new.
Ford is planning to launch a new open innovation platform to let drivers hack their own cars. The brand is releasing the software developer kit (SDK) for its latest vehicles so that car-owners can modify their dashboards to suit their personal needs. The OpenXC SDK
, which was created with open-source hardware and software development company Bug Labs
, New York, lets drivers 'plug and play' with the car's hardware and software, without significant expense. One example of this is Bug Labs' Fuel Economy Challenge
application, which plugs into a Ford car, to show fuel-effectively the occupant is driving, and connects them to others taking the challenge to see who is driving most efficiently in real-time.
Meanwhile, with its Mustang
brand, Ford has taken a different approach to personalisation, providing some entertainment that shows off the car's features. The Mustang Customizer
website allows petrol-heads to personalise their perfect Mustang from dozens of options, including grille, wheels, etc., even a racy cobra decal if they so desire. They can then connect via Facebook to share the car with their friends and even choose a nemesis to 'battle' with and see whose car gets the most votes. Although Ford dealers don't provide all the personalisation options, after creating cars can see all the real parts that were used to make their virtual Mustang and where they can buy them in their area.
While Ford's Mustang Customizer
is all about fulfilling the fantasy of owning your dream ride, Toyota's Yaris: It's a CAR
campaign is a fun take on the very, very ordinary through Saatchi & Saatchi
, LA. The hilarious microsite is a tongue-in-cheek approach to the traditional product demo. Comedian Michael Showalter
shows off the fairly standard features of the Yaris i.e. you can store stuff in the boot and the colour options are 'black, white, silver, other-silver, blue, other-blue, yellow - no! - other-other-blue, and red... and red... and... red'. Contagious Comment /
Ford's OpenCX SDK is a perfect example of brands experimenting with the hack culture trend, giving their consumers the chance to personalise the product's capabilities, not just its aesthetics or engine power, to make it better suited to their needs. This open innovation is an example of the move towards smarter, 'connected' cars.
The Mustang Customizer, again, taps into the personalisation trend. The website is entertaining and showcases the car's features well, but most importantly it reveals how you can make your online fantasy a reality by suggesting the dealerships and companies you can help you customise your real life car.
Like many other brands we've seen recently, Toyota is reinventing the idea of the product demo, and has done this brilliantly by combining genuinely hilarious content with useful product information.
The Yaris: It's a Car campaign works because it is so refreshing, the brand realises that the Yaris is a normal car with a range of useful - but ultimately boring - features, and packages this point with some laughs, rather than pretend that the Yaris is something it's not. These stories originally appeared on Contagious
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