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Outlooking Part 2 – Top Car Brands

Wayne McMaster

12 December 2013

In an effort to stay ahead of the game, sometimes it pays to look beyond the borders of your own category for inspiration. This 'outlooking' forces us to look at things with a different perspective; so what if our premium home interior brand acted like a leading Car brand?

Lessons to take from Leading Car brand strategies

  1. The Reveal—Jaguar
  2. Facebook timelines celebrate Heritage—Mercedes
  3. Collaborations celebrate Values—Aston Martin
  4. Lean Principles—Toyota
  5. Reality over CGI—Honda

The Reveal

  • The F-type coupé is the fastest and best performing Jaguar ever built. The car’s speed and power, they say is set to 'disrupt the order of the automotive world'. The creative agency IMAGINATION prepared its introduction to the world's media with an equally disruptive approach to bring to life the idea of ‘Power emerges from the shadows’.
  • The traditional presentation was dramatically interrupted by a Hollywood style helicopter car chase outside and the venue was plunged into darkness. Helicopters' searchlights peered through the windows, finally revealing the full scale of the hangar. A striking red laser tunnel and spotlights created a runway. The car silhouetted in the distance suddenly roared into action, accelerating aggressively towards the audience. It showed no sign of slowing and drove straight through a hidden tunnel under the grandstand, into the area the guest had been in moments before. 
  • Within 24 hours, on twitter alone, the total potential reached was 41m and 6,955 hashtag mentions were gained – three times that gained by #PorscheMacan which also debuted that night. Within 36 hours of the reveal 12,000 users accessed the media website, with 33000 pageviews and 64% being new users.
  • Facebook timelines

    While luxury fashion brands have made limited efforts to populate their historic timelines, which suggests that social marketers are unconvinced that it’s really worth the time and effort to catalogue their brand’s historical milestones.
  • This is not the case for the major top car brands. Their ability to celebrate their brand's heritage and their key milestones offers an important insight into their innovations and cultural impact. While most brands are now using timeline to post regular content, top car brands offer the perfect example of showing off their former glories. Mercedes has detailed entries dating back almost every year to 1884.
  • Mercedes social team has also prioritised its new social apps above less interesting content such as 'likes', along with a bold cover image.


Aston Martin has a distinguished heritage, coupled with exceptional design, craftsmanship and quality, these values coupled with a reputation for understated style and elegance, allows Aston Martin to pursue collection of unique collaborations of luxury lifestyle products that have been developed under licence. These exclusive items have been produced by carefully selected partners across a range of products from contemporary furniture to technologically advanced bikes, fine jewellery to stunning silverware.

The collaborations offer both simplicity and intergrity in the mind of the consumers, with a true brand story of how the two parties 'came together' with the 'birth' these new creations.

What is particularly revealing of all the collaborations when we view them in detail is the control that Aston Martin has been able to achieve online - on their collaborators websites, in keeping all the various collaboration project in the same Aston Martin style and format.

Lean principles

America's Ford is renowned for his production line, but Lean manufacturing is a management philosophy derived mostly from the Japanese Toyota Production System to constantly reduce waste, which in turn preserves value, improving customer value. For many, 'Lean' is the set of "tools" that assist in the identification and steady elimination of waste. Most of the basic rules of lean manufacturing are common sense, however not one to overly simplify and therefore undermain the importance of such management philosophy on operation improvements we would defer to our friend and associate, former Manufacturing Advisor, now independent consultant: Gail Freeman-Bell

Reality over CGI

Truly great things take a lot of time to do, and do well. The epitome of this is what went into the 'Cog' advert for Honda.

The greatest thing about what they did is—they did it without any computer animation or trick photography. Of course it would have been much much easier for them to just simulate everything on the computer. Speed—give it to us in CGI, it'll be cheaper…". But the Weiden and Kennedy advertising executive who came up with the idea wanted none of that. And the Honda management agreed to spend the reportedly more than 1 million dollars needed to make it in real-life and not on computer.

How difficult was it to make it run perfectly? We understand it took 606 takes, very difficult. For example, since there were so many people and so much equipment in the studio, the temperature increased in the enclosed space, which meant that the wooden floors started to expand, just enough to make the cog and the exhaust that were rolling on the ground move faster and the crew had to alter the precision setup.


 Images courtesy of: IMAGINATION/Jaguar. Mercedes Benz. Aston Martin/GrantMacDonald/Euroschirm/Formitalia. Honda

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