Last week, VW announced a major marketing change, consolidating what had been 40 ad agencies globally to just three: The Britain-based multinational WPP in North America, Cheil (the incumbent) in China, and Omnicom Group for Europe and South America. The marketing budget will stay the same at $1.7 billion, but the company wants to see its marketing spend become 30 percent more efficient by 2020. Digital ads will become nearly 50 percent of the mix by that time (up from 25 percent now).
I recently looked over a friend’s new Tesla Model 3 (pictured at top) and pointed out a couple of flaws. The trunk was misaligned and the paint had visible “orange peel” (textured like the skin of an orange). But my friend is one of several people I know who are fanatics for the brand; who counted down the days until their Tesla was delivered and thrilled to its charms. Which are considerable, I agree. I drove that Model 3, and it was huge fun, totally exhilarating. But c’mon, it’s a car, not a mythical chariot. Tesla builds the full-sized Model S sedan, the Model X SUV and the compact Model 3, all battery electric cars. Its vehicles have flaws -- Tesla is hardly unique there -- but sometimes there are too many to be ignored.
While auto marketing is quickly changing, TV and radio commercials still feel remarkably stale and undifferentiated…locked into 1980s paradigms. Ads shouting weekend and holiday clearances are ubiquitous. Yet, new auto marketing realities are shattering the many outdated notions behind car shopping. Consumers can check to see what other people in their area are buying and how much they paid for it. They can buy their car directly from the manufacturer, bypassing the middleman entirely. And with sites like Carvana, buyers don't even have to leave their home. This company lets buyers browse used cars and narrow down their choices from Carvana's online platform. If buyers want to take the cars for a test drive, Carvana has a concierge service to drive the cars to the customer's home so they can make a final decision, and in some cities new cars can be picked up from a vending machine – a large vending machine to be sure – but yes, a vending machine. And Ford now offers new car pick-up from a kiosk.