Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Close but no cigar: Subaru

Here’s a quick example of translinear marketing done half-right.

Subaru sponsors “Run For Your Lives,” described as “a zombie infested 5K obstacle course race.”  They produced a video to promote the sponsorship.

The video sets up the premise pretty cleanly.  It can’t be a coincidence that it runs :30 seconds on the (chewed-off) nose.  That length works well not only on TV, should they decide to run it there, but also makes for a quick view online.

The video also hits all the right brand notes: it promotes the WRX model, a turbocharged, four-wheel-drive compact beloved by males pretty much from infancy through their early 30s.  Again, no coincidence that this demographic enjoys the zombie meme so prevalent in culture for the past few years.  On top of that, it’s funny.

Clicking on the race link takes the user to the race’s home page.  And here, the trouble begins.

Options include race registration (for a fee) and sharing links to Facebook and Twitter.  A revolving ad space shows slates for both Subaru and Warwear Performance Training Apparel.  And...that’s it.

Clicking on the Subaru link takes the user to the Subaru USA homepage.  No mention of having come from the Zombie Race site.  No special mention of the WRX.

The video speaks well both to car enthusiasts and to zombie/horror fans.  But then it fails to engage them beyond the race itself.

C’mon Subie, would it have been that hard to:

  • Include a “learn more about the WRX” link on the race site?  You’re a sponsor; they need you more than you need them.
  • Drive the visitor from the race site to a zombie-fied landing page featuring the WRX?  You spent money on a video; a landing page would be a trifle after that.
  • Allow non-racers to sign up for updates sponsored by Subaru?  The race has one course (Baltimore).  Since not everyone will travel to see it, why not let them participate virtually or offer clips of racing action?

At this point, Subaru may wish to point out that the author couldn’t run five kilometers even if zombies were really chasing him.  However, that’s no excuse for not getting more out of this opportunity.

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