Alcone Marketing Group – Consumer Lab

The Consumer Lab is the consumer insights and brand strategy group at Alcone Marketing Group, a consumer activation company.

Companies Dangle Free Gas Like It’s Going Out Of Style

“Across the country people are cutting costs, and Wal-Mart’s
competitive pricing model is attractive to shoppers,” the BIGresearch
report says, noting that shoppers seem to be consolidating shopping trips,
which is boosting Wal-Mart’s share of prescription drug sales, as well.
Walgreens continues to dominate, with a 17.3% market share in May, followed by
CVS, with 13.2%. And while both posted gains, No. 3 Wal-Mart grew faster, for a
total share of 13.1%.

~A

MediaPost Publications – Companies Dangle Free Gas Like It’s Going Out Of Style – 06/03/2008
Last month Chrysler began offering consumers $2.99 per gallon gasoline for three years with purchase of most Dodge, Chrysler or Jeep vehicles. Now, as gasoline tops $4 a gallon, several companies are dangling free gasoline, and they aren’t even in the car business.

Filed under: auto, Consumer, economy, trends

Rand McNally: Some Road Travel Affected By High Gas Prices

Three-quarters of Americans said they are at least somewhat likely to
take a road trip this year. Nearly a third said they were very likely to take a
road trip. However, two-thirds of U.S. adults who planned to take a road trip
this summer have altered their plans. More than half will shorten their trip’s
duration or distance. However, only 10% will cancel their trips altogether.

~A

MediaPost Publications – Rand McNally: Some Road Travel Affected By High Gas Prices – 05/27/2008
As gas prices increased into Memorial Day weekend–the traditional start of the summer travel season–consumers admit those rising prices are having an effect on their summer travel plans, although perhaps not as much as one might expect.


“In recent years, we’ve seen rising fuel prices and airline-related
concerns prompt travelers to take shorter trips,” said Rand McNally
editorial director Laurie Borman, in a statement. “Even so, the
American tradition of the summer road trip remains strong, with
three-quarters of adults at least somewhat likely to take a summer road
trip in 2008.”

Filed under: auto, Consumer, travel

Ford’s Newest Hispanic Campaign Turns On ‘Luchadores’

The effort uses the Mexican version of professional wrestling–in which masked
luchadores compete–to extol the virtues of the Ford Edge crossover,
Focus and Fusion cars, and the F-150 truck. The campaign’s theme line:
“Campeones del Camino” (champions of the road).

~A

MediaPost Publications – Ford’s Newest Hispanic Campaign Turns On ‘Luchadores” – 03/05/2008
FORD HAS LAUNCHED A YEAR-LONG Hispanic-market ad campaign in the largest car market in the U.S. The Hispanic campaign uses the Mexican version of professional wrestling–in which masked luchadores compete–to extol the virtues of the Ford Edge crossover, Focus and Fusion cars, and the F-150 truck. The campaign’s theme line: “Campeones del Camino” (champions of the road).

The campaign, via Ford’s Hispanic marketing agency, Zubi of Miami, will comprise 18 TV spots, plus interactive and grassroots efforts for local sales promotions. In the launch spot, the four vehicles are introduced along with the luchadores who embody them.

Filed under: auto, Consumer, Hispanics

Luxury-Car Sellers Put on the Ritz

For dealers that sell the three top luxury brands — Lexus, BMW and
Mercedes — building palace-like showrooms is also just about the only
way to grow. Many of these dealerships offer services such as manicures, coffee bars, massage chairs and other luxurious amenities to draw in super-rich customers.

~A

Luxury-Car Sellers Put on the Ritz – WSJ.com
For many people, a trip to the auto dealer means a mind-numbing hour or two in a plastic chair with some tattered magazines and stale coffee.

But some major auto retailers are starting to change that, at least for buyers and owners of luxury vehicles. In the past year or so, several dealership chains have begun giving their luxury-car showrooms multimillion-dollar makeovers. The goal is to create the look and feel of five-star hotels for customers, increase the dealerships’ car allocations and even make it less likely that rival dealerships will pop up nearby.

Filed under: auto, Consumer, Customization, luxury

Harley To Woo Women At South Dakota Rally

This year, the company will, for the first time, launch a series of events
specifically for women. Harley-Davidson will have a booth serving as kiosk for
women-centric activities being held at the Rushmore Plaza Civic Center, August
4-11, as well as a “women’s day,” which will feature women-only demos, seminars
and special guests.

~A

MediaPost Publications – Harley To Woo Women At South Dakota Rally – 07/25/2007
HARLEY-DAVIDSON PLANS TO MARKET TO women at one of the most important motorcycle events in the country next month. The Sturgis Motorcycle Rally, at which tens of thousands converge on a small town in South Dakota for a week in early August, is a critical marketing venture for the Milwaukee company, which uses the event to, among other things, let consumers test ride its new models.

Filed under: auto, Consumer, Women

Mercedes’ new insight was born in the USA

During the marriage of Daimler and Chrysler, the German executives running the
company fought to keep Mercedes and Chrysler separate to preserve Mercedes’
luxury image. But Mercedes appears to have taken one key thing from the union:
It gained insight into the American consumer and is better poised to woo U.S.
buyers.

~A

Mercedes’ new insight was born in the USA – USATODAY.com
DETROIT — Much like a recent divorcé, Mercedes-Benz is about to face single life for the first time in nine years, and industry watchers say the German luxury brand is better poised to woo U.S. buyers than ever before.

Sure, it faces challenges in the USA as consumers delay purchases while waiting out falling housing prices. Higher gas prices, unfavorable foreign exchange rates and rising interest rates also could be stumbling blocks for the automaker.

Filed under: auto, Consumer, Customization

MySpace Mini-Episodes, Courtesy of Honda

Honda plans to run smaller commercials for a smaller car in smaller versions of television series.

~A

MySpace Mini-Episodes, Courtesy of Honda – New York Times
YEARS after Volkswagen challenged drivers to “Think small,” another automaker, Honda, plans to run smaller commercials for a smaller car in smaller versions of television series.

Honda will be the sole sponsor of what Sony
Pictures Television is calling the Minisode Network, which is scheduled
to begin next week. Visitors to the MySpace Web site
will be able to watch episodes of 15 vintage Sony series like
“Charlie’s Angels,” “The Facts of Life,” “Fantasy Island” and “Who’s
the Boss,” edited from their original lengths of 30 or 60 minutes each
to an Internet-friendly 4 to 6 minutes.

Filed under: advertising, auto, Consumer, Internet, social networking, Virtual Worlds, Young Adults

Cars.com Adds Women’s Car Site To Network

Is it at all surprising that women purchase just over half of all new cars – and more importantly influence 85% of all car sales?

~A

MediaPost Publications – Cars.com Adds Women’s Car Site To Network – 06/05/2007
CHICAGO-BASED CARS.COM HAS ADDED WOMEN’S automotive Web site Mother Proof to its network of car sites. Motherproof.com will continue to operate as a separate web site, and Cars.com will add Mother Proof as a featured channel to its site.

Women purchase 53% of new cars and influence 85% of all car sales, according to Cars.com.

Filed under: auto, WOM, Women

Ford, Funkmaster Flex Pair For Promo, Sweepstakes

Funkmaster Flex and Ford are teaming up again for the second season of his reality show. The success Ford has seen with its partnership with the DJ seems to have resonated with its target market.

~A

MediaPost Publications – Ford, Funkmaster Flex Pair For Promo, Sweepstakes – 05/22/2007
FORD IS TEAMING UP WITH radio and TV personality Funkmaster Flex for the second season of his reality TV series, “Car Wars with Funkmaster Flex.” Season two of “Car Wars” debuted on Sunday, detailing a six-week race by four customizers to bling out a 2007 Ford Expedition.

Filed under: auto, Customization, Internet, Men, TV, VOD

Chevy Pitches Fuel Efficiency To Hispanics Via Mexican Band

Chevy wants band members to be more than talking heads; it’s looking to
make them the spokespeople for the brand, particularly within the Hispanic
community.

~A

MediaPost Publications – Chevy Pitches Fuel Efficiency To Hispanics Via Mexican Band – 05/16/2007
CHEVROLET IS PITCHING FUEL EFFICIENCY to Hispanic consumers via exclusive automotive sponsorship of the 2007 Maná “Amar es Combatir” U.S. Concert Tour.

The Mexican band, which founded The Selva Negra Foundation, an environmental organization is, per GM, the first Latin-American band to break into a Top 10 spot on the Billboard 200.

Filed under: auto, Hispanics

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