Direct consumer approach by Opel

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Opel seems to have understand some essentials of how to address consumers.

In this video message of Carl-Peter Forster, Opel Chairman, Opel explains the where its new claim „We love cars“ comes from and what it stands for and how it should help to lead Opel into the future. He mentions the sympathy Opel has received from the public in the recent weeks. This is indeed something to build on and it is something American makes lack: trust in a brand. If the typical American still believed in American engineering he would not buy so many Japanes cars, and the best-selling car would be a Ford Taurus. But it isn’t….

Here is the wording of the statement by Carl-Peter Forster:

„Wir leben Autos.“ ist der lebendige Ausdruck der langjährigen Markenwerte von Opel.

„Wir leben Autos.“ bezieht sich nicht nur auf unsere deutschen Wurzeln und unsere Liebe zu deutscher Ingenieurkunst. Es ist darüber hinaus auch ein Ausdruck unserer Hingabe und Leidenschaft, die all unser Denken und Arbeiten prägt.

Das „Wir“ steht für die Begeisterung und bejahende, positive Einstellung, die unsere Mitarbeiter und Händler miteinander teilen – Grundvoraussetzung für die Entwicklung intelligenter, überraschender und innovativer Produkte für unsere Kunden.

Aber wir bauen nicht nur Autos, wir leben für Autos. Das Wort „leben“ steht für unser hohes Maß an Energie – eine Energie, die jeder spüren kann, der Opel erlebt; durch die Vielfalt sinnvoller Funktionen, begeisternder Innovationen und das faszinierende, dynamische Design unserer Fahrzeuge.

Nicht zuletzt glauben wir, dass „Autos“ auch in Zukunft sehr viel mehr sein werden als ein Fortbewegungsmittel. Bei unseren Fahrzeugen geht es nicht allein ums Fahren – sie sind ein wesentlicher Teil unseres Lebens.

Wir verbinden unsere persönlichen Erfahrungen mit denen unserer Kunden, um ihre tägliche Mobilität einfacher und angenehmer zu machen. Indem wir jeden Tag aufs Neue darüber nachdenken, wie wir das Leben von Menschen innovativ und nachhaltig bereichern können. Eine anspruchsvolle Herausforderung, die für uns niemals abgeschlossen sein wird.

„Wir leben Autos“ – das ist unsere Leidenschaft, unser Engagement, unsere Liebe zum Detail, unser Verantwortungsbewusstsein, unser Ziel und, ja, unsere Zuversicht.

Das ist es, was uns ausmacht.
Opel. Wir leben Autos.

Here is the link: video

See for yourself and let me know what you think about this approach. Like it? Think its cheap? Not very credible? Open? Transparent? Outgoing?

Aldi senkt weiter Preise und DM installiert Lupen, allerdings weniger wegen der kleinen Preise


Aldi dreht weiter an der Preisschraube. Wie bereits mehrfach in diesem Jahr, hat der Discountriese letzte Woche erneut seine Preise gesenkt. Betroffen waren diesmal Schokoriegel und „Champagner.“ Damit trägt Aldi weiter zu dem bereits bestehenden Preisverfall in Deutschland bei. Die Wettbewerber werden sicherlich mit eigenen Aktionen nachziehen um in der Gunst der preisbewussten Discountshopper nicht zu sinken.
DM, auch ein großer Retailer, geht ganz andere Wege. Die ohnehin schon sehr beliebten und sympathisch gestalteten Verkaufsflächen werden weiter attraktiviert: DM installiert auf seinen Einkaufswägen Lupen, damit auch ältere Kunden eine Chance haben die oft sehr klein gehaltenen Produktdetails zu lesen. DM kann durchaus als Vorreiter gesehen werden. Nur wenige Einzelhändler konnten in ähnlich kurzer Zeit sich derart erfolgreich in einem umkämpften Marktsegment behaupten. Und ich kaufe einfach gerne bei DM. Interessant: Die Sympathie für das Einkauferlebnis „DM“ übertrifft sogar meine Preissensitivität! Ich gehe mit derart viel Vertrauen und positiven Erfahrungen bei DM einkaufen, dass ich mich selbst dabei ertappe Preise nicht zu vergleichen und im Vertrauen auf die Marke und das Image DMs sicher keine „schlechten“ Preise zahlen zu müssen! Respekt, DM!

Ford not recognized as a German brand

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The drama about German automaker and GM subsidiary Opel is not only an advantage for rivaling automakers. Although profiting from consumer uncertainties by winning former Opel drivers, the worries and the public discourse about the future of the Opel brand also did harm Opel rivals. According to a current FAZ article, a central insight for Ford was that Opel not Ford is generally being perceived as the more German of the two brands. Thus it can be said that the Opel crisis also helped Opel to strengthen consumer loyalty and to interest patriotic Germans for their affordable vehicles. To Ford this poses a completely new marketing challenge. Still suffering from the image of producing conservative, emotionless cars, sympathy for Ford may have further decreased. But it should also be mentioned that in the US as well as in Germany, Ford’s management had taken early and wise measures to prepare for the current auto crisis. Thus a scenario similar to that of Opel would not seem credible (begging for givernmental aid,…). So Ford’s marketing challenge for the future will be to produce more emotional cars, such as the Insignia or new Astra and to improve its perceived ‚German-ness‘.
One consequence of the current auto crisis might be that that markets which formerly were a taboo are now considered attractive segments. Ford and even Fiat (together with Chrysler) are considering entering the US automobile market. The cause? Perhaps this will improve competition and contribute to the overall quality of US makes. Still today, these millions of cars American automakers are producing each year simply won’t sell anywhere but the US. Europe is simply much more advancaed and competitive. If this is the scale for US makes, then and only then, there is a chance that they will survive in the long run.

Who said big corporations are slow to adapt to trends

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Please take the time to compare these two videos.

The first here, „Bathtub IV“ is by Keith Loutit and a perfect example of time-lapse and tilt-shift which results in a perfect stop-motion effect.

Bathtub IV from Keith Loutit on Vimeo.

Then look at this current Telekom commercial which nicely makes use of this technique. Surprisingly modern for a telecommunications giant such as Deutsche Telekom:

It is not by accident that these two are so similar. Both have been created by Keith Loutit, a master of his craft!

Blogging about harddisk shopping…

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Where to buy an external harddrive when you know you need one?
Usually my purchase decision-making processes are fairly complex. Often more complex than necessary. That’s the fate of many marketing people. Anyways, having bypassed the procedure of realizing a true need, I at once jumped into the phase of searching for the ideal shop. The next big issue. A big electronics chain such as Conrad, Media Markt or Saturn? Or rather an online store? The first offer the opportunity of really being able to hold the product in your hands. That is, if it is unpacked. The „price you pay“? Usually unexperienced personnel with no time always in search for the next shelf to hide behind. I must say I barely shop there because of a constant fear of being fooled by the advertised special offers (which often are attractive, I must admit) while other products cost more than elsewhere. But even if the price seems right, does the product really hold up to the promises of the store clerk? Or is he just trying to sell what the management told him to, for example to get rid of overstock. Decision-making can be a pain in the ass in our culture of affluence. Buy a TV and choose between a hundred different models. Buy an mp3 player and you’ll be overwhelmed by at least 25 models, many many more when shopping online. This is the golden hour of strong brands serving as lighthouses, visible from afar although perhaps equipped just like the others. Take a basic iPod for example. Comparing such a magnitude of products is almost impossible. At least in the store. But there is one feature, one critical advantage of online stores that no clerk can outmatch. The objective and critical opinion of the crowd, of the masses of consumers out there, all searching to maximize their utility given a certain budget they are willing to pay. Recommendations put light into the darkness. They offer personal impressions that are so much closer to everybody’s daily life. They praise good products and positive experiences hoping that when you do good something good might come back to you. And although this system could theoretically be corrupted by companies, in the overall run it can be trusted.
This leads me back to my initial purchase process. I need a new external harddrive.
As time is usually limited, I too, am glad about every simplification and short cut. So it was a reasonable thing to first check for harddrives. The benefits? Good overview of what harddrives currently offer, a good impression of the price level, and user insights on most of the products offered. This eased my choice alot. I barely felt a risk buying a product that with more than 80 recensions received an average of 4,7 stars. Plus free shipping on top. This post is not intended to glorify amazon but it just shows why amazon is so popular and the perfect place to shop for me. At least when it comes to electronics. Amazon is also an example of the democratizizing effect of the internet. It may be easy for a store clerk to fool a pensionist but given the transparency of prices and product evaluations on the internet, the internet gave the consumer one thing: power. Power to quickly access expert knowledge, to easily compare and to look behind the product specifications on the package. May the best platform win!

New 2009 Jaegermeister TV commercial


Finally received the link to this new Jaegermeister TV commercial.
Shirtly after the retirement of Rudi and Ralph, Jaegermeister chose a real stag to be featured in this spot.

Opel to change its claim – once again…

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Amidst all the confusion about the future of Opel, the marketing experts of Interbrand have been asked to develop a new claim for the shaken automaker Opel. According to today’s article on, the new claim was inspired by the shirts Opel workers used to wear while protesting for a soon and satisfying concept for Opel. „We live cars“ may see its official debut at the IAA in Frankfurt which will open its gates on September, 17. The new claim is expected to be accompanied by a remake of the Opel Blitz brand mark.

I argue that claims should show the same consistency as the brand as a whole. Too many quick and not well thought of changes weaken a brand’s perception in the eyes of the consumer. In the ideal long-run marketing strategy all is in line: The logo, the claim and the values a product represents. BMW for example has only slightly changed its logo over the years, and for centuries, driving pleasure has remained the central element of any BMW communication. The same consistency can be found in their cars: Whether a 635 CSI, a 2002, or the latest X1, sportiness and pleasure are still central facets of the BMW brand.

To me personally, Opel represents German automobile history. Not in the negative sense. There is still a lot of sympathy for this brand. And in recent times, this has been paired with fair value and decent quality. With the Opel Insignia and the new Astra, asthetic design also returned, and paved the way for a new generation of Opels. Given, there will we one.

As it looks now, GM has discovered that within its corporation Opel is a diamond in the rough that might also lay the foundation for a GM future. But I am convinced many people at Opel are tired of the ignorant and self-aggrandizing GM managers…

The dream: Let Opel take over GM and clean up this American mess of a carmaker.

Link to the cited ftd article:

DaimlerChrysler-Daimler+Fiat = Brand Confusion


Chrysler’s New Ram Plan Poses Brand Jam

Posted by: David Kiley on September 07


Chrysler is potentially headed for a brand problem that will rival the pickle that GM is trying to extricate itself from.

Here is the deal. Chrysler has three main brands at the moment: Chrysler, Dodge and Jeep. But it has made it clear to the ad agencies pitching its ad account that it is splitting off its pickup truck and commercial vehicle business off to a new brand—Ram.

That’s right. Going forward, and as soon as Chrysler has the idea to run with, the pickup it sells now won’t be sold as Dodge Ram, but rather….Ram. Other vehicles that will come from the Fiat-Chrysler tie up in the commercial segment will also be called Ram.

So, now we are up to four brands to support. Now, add the Fiat 500, which will be sold as a Fiat when it arrives in Chrysler showrooms in 2011. And, don’t forget Alfa Romeo, which Fiat will sell through Chrysler distribution in key markets that make sense for the Italian sport car maker.

This seems like a lot of brand differentiation to manage and support by a company that has been poor at both.

As I look at auto sales numbers through August, I see a 9.2% market share for Chrysler spread among the three brands it has. That share is inevitably going to go down as the company pares models. Indeed, Merrill Lynch projects that Chrysler loses a whopping five to six points of share in the next four years unless it comes up with some product surprises from the Fiat alliance.

If you consider it likely that Fiat and Alfa-Romeo combine for less than 1 point of share, then you have five brands potentially carving up something between 4 and 6 points of share, and that is if the company over-achieves. Also…four brands at a single showroom, while we wait to see how the company sort out the distribution real estate for Alfa at Chrysler dealerships.

This goes to brand/distribution/marketing efficiency. Toyota has 16.5% of the market spread across three brands. GM has 16.7% of the market with the four brands it plans to go forward with—Chevy, Cadillac, Buick, GMC.

If Chrysler isn’t clever beyonid all expectations, it is going to have a brand jumble that will make people look to GM as a benchmark of brand/marketing efficiency.

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