In defence of straight talking..

In defence of straight talking..

I’ve undertaken my fair share of ‘teaser’ or pre-launch marketing campaigns and they can be a very effective means of grasping and then holding customer attention in the build up to a major launch. But they rely on the element of surprise, of the unknown – where the audience are intrigued and curious about what will happen next and where the foreplay becomes nearly as satisfying as the main event…

But in the past few years it’s becoming a bit predictable and too many car makers have been jumping on the same bandwagon of tease-tease-tease-reveal. To put it succinctly the, seductive tease is just getting a bit boring. But not only is it rather frustrating to be so cruelly teased, it also doesn’t work – most of the time. Rather than audience interest increasing from tease to tease, we usually observe a significant decrease in engagement, not just in terms of viewing figures but more so in terms of discussions and social activity. People quite naturally are initially intrigued and keen to discuss with others in their social circle, but thereafter viewing becomes a more solitary affair.

Before I divert too far off message, you’ll have gathered by now that Pagani have revealed yet another teaser (the 4th so far) for its Zonda replacement, which is likely to be called either Deus Venti or Huayra (and you thought Lamborghini’s Murciélago was hard to pronounce!). This latest teaser doesn’t tell us much more than the previous 3 before it, so we’re still awaiting something tangible that we can place in our minds and start dreaming about.

Without turning this article into a dissertation about quantitative marketing data (it is Friday evening after all), it’s becoming increasingly difficult to understand why so many brands are resorting to this burlesque style of pre-launch communication.

If you take a look over the last year or so at some of the launches that have hit big in terms of viewing numbers, social conversations and subsequent headlines then there’s Porsche’s 918 Spyder at Geneva last March, Jaguar’s C-X75 and the Lotus NewEra bombshell in Paris last September and then perhaps Ken Block’s Gymkhana III (which, although not really a car launch, was in fact used by Ford as part of the Fiesta’s US launch in the 43 Fiestas campaign).

These were mostly singular events, in some cases we had an inkling that something might be happening but they took most people by surprise and the subsequent response relied heavily on the fact that the audience started with zero expectation and were then delighted (or perhaps shocked in the case of Lotus) by the subsequent reveal.

By contrast, let’s look at some of the recent teaser campaigns; Lamborghini’s 4-door Estoque which although 2-3 years ago now, is perhaps guilty of starting the whole trend, with its 5-step teaser images which brought us to the point of euphoria only to drop us stone-cold, never to be seen again. Then of course, not satisfied with inflicting such obvious torture on its fans the folks from Sant’Agata repeated the tease with the Sesto Elemento in September last year. Are they likely to make it? Probably not. Did we enjoy the foreplay and build-up to its reveal? Not really. Quite frankly we’d much rather have been shown more insights into Lamborghini’s LP700-4 Murciélago replacement, rather than yet another prototype.

BMW also seem to have caught the bug – its pre-launch activity promoting the 1 Series M Coupe were perhaps the most-burlesque we’ve witnessed so far, with the zipper of its skin-tight bodysuit being gradually removed, to show a little bit more of its seductive curves each time…

Then of course the now infamous DontBlogAboutThis (which we ALL BLOGGED ABOUT!) a series of teaser videos and images leading up to BMW revealing an evolution of the Vision EfficientDynamics Concept, and yet ask the average car enthusiast what it was all about and I doubt you’ll find a single person that understood it.

Just in case you’ve missed it, BMW are at it again, this time with its ConnectedDrive Concept vehicle. Don’t worry if you missed it, we’re still on tease No.1 so you’ve got time to catch up, but do you really want to?

Back to Pagani…

It seems absurd for me to say that I’m bored of a Pagani – I’m not, but I suspect I’m not alone in thinking, “wake me up when you get to the point where there’s actually something to show me!” Every red-blooded enthusiast loves Pagani and I’m sure we’ll all be riveted to our screens when Horatio’s new baby is finally outed.

But please Pagani/BMW/Lamborghini et al, give us the meat and stop serving up zero-calorie appetisers that frustrate us more than they satisfy, otherwise we might just revolt against your silly games and stop playing.

With Geneva coming up in 6-weeks time we’re vulnerable to yet another onslaught of marketing seduction, but if car makers continue to tempt and tease us, perhaps it’s about time we asked them, “are you just playing, or are we ever going to get l**d?”

And here’s the video.. [Pagani Deus Venti / Huayra teaser No. 4 released]