General Motor’s OnStar In-Car Service to Include Facebook Integration

General Motors may be poised to update its aging OnStar in-car service by offering Facebook integration, according to Bloomberg and the Detroit Free Press. It’s believed that this is GM’s effort to mirror the success that Ford has had marketing its Sync feature.

Sync already offers many of the same features as OnStar, such as 911 assistance, vehicle diagnostics and turn-by-turn directions, but there isn’t any sort of social network integrations like GM is reportedly working on.

Expanding the OnStar capabilities with Facebook integration will initially only amount to status updates and messages being read to you while you drive. There are already several third party vendors that offer similar types of features, but Ford has had success packaging these capabilities as a factory service in newer models with Sync.

There are also other possibilities that the reports don’t mention, but that sound intriguing, such as integrating Facebook Places. You can imagine checking in via the system at a drive-thru, or while sightseeing on a family vacation, then sharing that information back to Facebook with family and friends.

OnStar is offered free on many GM vehicles for one year with the option to continue the service on several different tiers. GM has had the most success marketing the service for its benefits in case of an accident or emergency, but there are other features currently built into the service. Owners can get simple diagnostics about their vehicle, such as the next scheduled oil change or service, as well as use the OnStar operators as a sort of live GPS system or simple search engine. Adding Facebook elements certainly updates the OnStar service, but it’s yet to be determined whether or not this is even a service that consumers want.

Mazda Puts Fans Behind The Wheel Of The Mazda2 in Facebook Game DriverVille

Mazda’s new Mazda2 is the star of the company’s new Facebook game called DriverVille, a title that has you souping up your car then racing it. It is also, of course, meant to get more people paying attention to the launch of the new Mazda2 model, with an accompanying sweepstakes also running on the Mazda Facebook page.

The game appears to have been built by Frima, a Quebec-based game developer that creates branded titles. All in all, the quality is good. There’s plenty of built-in advertising, but it doesn’t feel overblown or forced. And it’s actually informative, so it should appeal to casual gamers and those actually hoping to learn a little more about the Mazda2.

The gist is pretty simple — you complete missions to level up, earning Driver Bucks and items along the way that range from a pair of cowboy boots to your very own virtual Mazda2. The Driver Bucks earned can be used to purchase items to accent your Mazda2, your home garage or your DriverVille avatar.

All the activities in the game can be broadcast through your newsfeed to share with friends, and several of the trophies that can be earned in the game center around bringing more people into the game, adding to the viral element.

Once inside the DriverVille universe, you and your friends will be able to move between several locations, including an arcade with interactive games, a movie theater with video clips of Mazda2 advertising, an outlet to use your Driver Bucks to buy items and a Mazda dealership, complete with a brochure rack full of PDFs for all Mazda’s 2011 models.

The actual driving in DriverVille is done on one of several race tracks and leaves a little to be desired. It’s Spy Hunter-esque. The controls are simple and intuitive, so it should appeal to the broad range of people that will probably be playing the game. Most of the attention has been placed on the social elements of the game, and those are well thought-out and complete.

As you wander through the world of DriverVille, you’ll encounter the avatars of other players. You can engage them to see their garages and cars, and you can also choose to visit their actual Facebook pages.

The game coincides with a sweepstakes run through the Mazda2 Facebook page, with the grand prize being an actual Mazda2. Several 64GB iPod Touches will also be awarded as weekly prizes. The campaign is being run by the ad agency Doner, which also worked on the Mazda3 launch for Mazda.

Ford Shows Off New Explorer to Facebook Fans with Full Day Of Content

Ford used the Facebook Page of its iconic Explorer to reveal the 2011 model to the public. The campaign has been building for awhile — the company has been posting teaser photos and videos to the Page after it first announced the launch in early June.

Scott Monty, Ford’s Multimedia Communications Manager, tells us that launching the totally redesigned Explorer through Facebook was the most effective way to get the word out about the new model, and the numbers from the first day of the launch back that up.

The Ford Explorer Page began the day with about 42,500 fans, and Monty was hoping to end the day with 50,000. The Page passed that mark, increasing its fan numbers by about 25% to more than 53,000. The launch of the redesigned model also included individual reveals around the U.S. and Canada, all documented with an often-updated Flickr stream that was linked to the Page.

“We wanted lots of engagement,” said Monty. “The Reveal tab had a lot of action, and we had live participation as well as on demand content for people that missed [the initial reveal].”

New car and truck models are traditionally revealed at large auto shows, where any one new model can be overshadowed by the hundreds of other new autos in the shows. Monty saw a bigger problem with using the auto show stage to introduce a redesign of the Ford Explorer.

“Typically at an auto show, with any auto show scenario, we’re talking to ourselves. We needed to step out of that bubble to get that message out there. This is the 100% reinvented Explorer – we needed to reinvent how we get out to the people.”

The Explorer’s Facebook page was used to reveal teaser photos and videos of interviews with designers and engineers in the weeks leading up to the reveal. While the new Explorer was featured in a segment on NBC’s Today Show, the Facebook audience was the first to get a look at the redesigned 2011 model a few minutes earlier, as well as a full day of videos, live Q&As, and more surrounding the model.

The blanket coverage on the Facebook page speaks to Ford’s overall strategy on the social network. At first glance it appears that the auto manufacturer has much lower fan numbers than some of its competitors, but Ford has made the conscious decision to segment its Facebook presence into particular model pages instead of under one large brand umbrella. Monty feels this is an important element to the Ford approach to appealing to the Facebook community, giving the brand the ability to customize content based on what fans want.

Ultimately, choosing Facebook to reveal the redesigned Explorer was an easy decision for Monty. When it comes to choosing the most effective avenues to reaching the largest audience, his approach is simple: ”Our fans tell us where we need to be.”

Ford Will Give Facebook Fans The First Look At The 2011 Explorer

The Ford Motor Company has chosen the Ford Explorer Facebook page to give the public a first glimpse of the totally redesigned 2011 model. This breaks from the usual debut of a new model, which traditionally is made at large auto shows, and shows the auto company’s commitment to its social media marketing efforts. There is no set date for a full unveil, but teaser photos are already up on the site, as well as video of a cloaked 2011 Explorer in action.

Ford launched a dedicated Explorer fan page in mid March, at the time focused on the 2010 model. The page’s focus quickly shifted and became a source of info on the 2011 model, which has received a complete redesign, and appears to be evolving with its target market.

The Explorer became the must-have vehicle for the original soccer moms of the early 90s, but has fallen behind as other crossover vehicles have moved in to provide the space and ride height that moms loved about the Explorer without the low gas mileage and rough ride of a 4×4 truck. The 2011 model will be the first Explorer built on a car frame, giving it better fuel economy, and will feature improved safety features and incorporate touches that are more in line with the way consumers are actually using the vehicles. A video posted to the Explorer fan page shows a veiled vehicle being put through tests for the new traction system, and it’s evident that the Explorer will be much less of a truck and more of a van/crossover.

The director of Ford’s US Marketing Communication said in a recent USA Today article that we won’t be seeing images of the new Explorer parked on a cliff, yet the few teaser photos that were released today on the Facebook page give us glimpses of the 2011 Explorer dashing through forests, snowy lanes and a rocky road. Nothing too extreme, but this could be a little off-target based on the information given in the article.

While some say that revealing the new Explorer on Facebook rather than at an auto show is risky, Ford has had a lot of success with its social media endeavors in the past. The launch of the new Ford Fiesta has received a lot of buzz, with much of the online chatter generated by the Fiesta Movement, which Ford launched last year almost exclusively through a number of social networks. Ford also used Facebook and other networks to generate interest in their Fusion Hybrid with last year’s Fusion 41 challenge, and benefited from leaked information about the 2011 Mustang late last year. However, at just over 3,000 fans, the Explorer Facebook page is lagging behind many of Ford’s other model-specific pages.

The company could also be going after a chunk of the market currently held by competitors that were not previously in the same class as the Explorer, but now share similar features. Toyota’s Sienna wagon will now be more of a competitor to the new Explorer, and is an excellent example of how social network marketing is successfully reaching target demographics. The Sienna’s Facebook page enjoys a loyal and vocal following, and Toyota has scored big with the Sienna Family campaign and the recent Swagger Wagon YouTube video that has been viewed more than 3 million times since its release last month.

Post-It Celebrates 30 Years With Facebook Trivia Game To Help You Appreciate Your Friends

The venerable office adhesive reminders (and medium for popular YouTube videos) turn 30 this year, and Post-It Notes are celebrating the anniversary with a unique Facebook application called Don’t Forget Your Friends. The trivia app rewards users for recalling facts about people in their Facebook networks, with Post-It Brand products available as prizes in the early rounds a grand prize of a “holiday of a lifetime” for the winner and a few of the winner’s friends.

The Facebook application is being supplemented with a real-world advertising campaign, including Post-It-shaped posters and billboards placed around busy business centers in the UK. Each ad will feature the Don’t Forget Your Friends branding, along with the URL for the Facebook app. The most prominent advertisement will be going up in London’s Broadgate Circus — a huge replica of a Post-It pad with the game and brand information.

As for the trivia game, Don’t Forget Your Friends is meant to help remind us that while it’s easy to accumulate digital friends, we should not forget why we have chosen to bring them into our circles. The application pulls info and photos from your personal profiles and actually tailors the questions based on your friend networks. Each question is multiple choice, with images puled from your own photo albums appearing along with the questions.

Answering the first round of questions, and there are a few Post-It products as prizes, however  only residents of the UK and Ireland are eligible to receive them. Go deeper into the trivia app, and after a couple of more rounds of increasingly difficult questions, you will be in the running for the grand prize if you can score above 80%.

After each attempt at Don’t Forget Your Friends, you can post your score in your newsfeed and challenge others to try to top your score and nab some prizes of their own.

This is a rather comprehensive campaign, combining a number of elements from past applications, advertising and gaming that have worked well individually (trivia, give-aways, challenges, cross-promotion and more). It’s a well designed and executed application, and brings a lot of brand awareness to a product that really has no place in the digital world. Yes, everyone knows one or two people who have ringed their computer monitors with the little notes, but there aren’t too many opportunities for their use on Facebook. Don’t Forget Your Friends reminds Facebook users through a fun, rewarding trivia game that there still needs to be some connection, and remembering the details is important.

Nike Football Doubles Facebook Numbers With Early Preview Of Latest Soccer Ad On Its Fan Page

Nike recently used Facebook to unveil a new 3-minute soccer ad spot that contains some of the world’s biggest soccer stars to help promote their brand going into next month’s FIFA World Cup. The ad premiered on the Nike Football Facebook page and is dubbed Write The Future — it follows the fate of of a few of soccer’s greats and what may or may not happen to them based on pivotal moments on the pitch. According to a recent New York Times post, the ad buy is among the largest in Facebook’s history.

The ad was premiered on the Nike Football page last last week a few days before being debuted in television spots at half time of the UEFA Champions League final between Bayern Munich and Inter Milan. Nike announced early last week that the mini-movie would be available on its Facebook page, apparently causing its fan numbers to double from roughly 550,000 to well over 1.1 million as of today.

While Nike is the primary sponsor for all of the athletes featured in the ad, as well as many of the countries competing in the 2010 FIFA World Cup, it is not an official sponsor of the tournament. By slipping this ad onto Facebook, filling it with some of the most popular names in soccer, sport and pop culture and releasing it on the eve of the FIFA World Cup, the brand is obviously looking to steal some of the recognition associated with the game from Adidas.

Adidas is currently ahead of Nike in worldwide soccer sales and is an official sponsor of the 2010 FIFA World Cup.

By including some faces in the spot that are not usually associated with soccer, Nike and ad creator Wieden + Kennedy have also opened up the door for a broader audience outside of the normal soccer circles. Kobe Bryant makes a brief appearance in one of the segments of the ad, so of course it was posted on his fan page on Facebook, which boasts more than 2.4 million followers. Roger Federer also makes an appearance, and while there has been no official post promoting the Nike ad on his wall, a few of his 3.4 million fans have already put it up in the fan video section.

The Write The Future spot also teased an upcoming promotion, which will be run through Facebook and the Nike site, called The Chance. The Chance currently has a Facebook Event page with more than 13,000 confirmed guests and there’s a brief video on the Nike Football page. From the little that’s been revealed, it appears as if The Chance will give undiscovered players a shot at landing on a major team. More will be revealed through Facebook and NikeFootball.com on June 10th.

Visa Gives FIFA World Cup Fans The Ability To Track Games With Match Planner App

With the 2010 FIFA World Cup happening in South Africa this summer, we’re starting to see more promotions come to Facebook. Now, an official sponsor of the event, Visa is teaming with developer AKQA to help fans of the beautiful game follow their favorite teams through Facebook and plan viewing parties to partake in the competition with their friends through the Visa Match Planner application.

The Match Planner app is a part of the larger Go Fans campaign and allows fans to choose their favorite country in the 2010 FIFA World Cup, as well as a few secondary teams they want to follow. It sets up reminders on an calendar for each of the games that feature those teams. Clicking on each date shows all games for the day with venues and times, and which friends are also following that particular game. Game details will be posted once each match is completed.

An Events tab allows users to schedule viewing parties or other events and keep them organized on the calendar. Setting up events also allows users to send out invitations and alert friends directly from the app, including selecting venues from a map, adding your own venue, and setting up a shopping list for the party. You’ll be able to track attendees by who’s accepted, opted out or is hasn’t responded.

All results are tracked in a separate tab, with the field broken down in their respective groups. The Group Stages and Knockout Stages are each represented, and you can even view the Knockout Stage as a list or bracket.

Also included in the app is a tab to upload your best Goal cheer, with a winner ultimately receiving a trip for 2 to the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil. The contest kicks off June 1.

You can change the teams you’re following, your location and set up email reminders about matches and invitation requests from the Preferences tab to make adjustments during the competition to follow the hot teams.

The Match Planner app includes special offers from partners, such as Adidas and the FIFA Official Store, for savings on merchandise and more. The app is available in a number of languages, including English, Japanese, Spanish and Portuguese, so it has even more of a global appeal. So far, it’s the most comprehensive among the many apps that have been popping up centered around this year’s competition, and as the beginning of the 2010 World Cup approaches, we expect to see a significant jump in users. Visa is also a veteran of successful Facebook campaigns, with a page based around its sponsorship of the 2010 Winter Olympic Games that still has more than 100,000 fans.

5 Gum Will Offer Free Streaming Of This Weekend’s Coachella Music Festival Through Facebook

For those of us you that didn’t get your Coachella Valley Music And Arts Festival tickets for this weekend’s uber-concert in southern California, 5 Gum is offering you a way to enjoy the festivities live through your Facebook page. Coachella and the Wrigley brand have teamed up to offer three live streams from the show this weekend, with special behind-the-scenes content and on-demand material appearing May 3.

Company promotions at concerts are nothing new — but social media is, relatively speaking. And as brands have gotten more comfortable marketing on Facebook in the past couple of years, their tie-ins with concert marketing have gotten more ambitious. Levi’s began live-streaming a concert venue at South by Southwest last month — a venue that it had already been involved with for years. Microsoft is planning a big push for summer concert ticket giveaways on Facebook together with Live Nation. Odwalla meanwhile, has its own Facebook promotion already going for Coachella and other festivals this summer.

This latest offering from 5 Gum is being run to promote the company’s release of two new React flavors (Mint and Fruit) and lets fans of the brand create a custom itinerary based on a select list of artists. Fans can preview the artists work through both Facebook and MySpace buttons housed in the application(which was developed by Appssavvy) and piece together their favorite bands from the list to post to their news feeds. The festival will then be streamed live through three different channels, one of which will be in HD, and fans will be able to interact with each other during the concerts through Twitter and a real-time chat function built into the site.

The Coachella festival has become one of the larger music events of the summer concert schedule, and this year’s lineup features everyone from big names like Jay-Z and the Gorillaz to up-and-coming indie bands, as well as a much-anticipated reunion from alternative rock pioneers Pavement. The $270-plus 3-day passes sold out long ago, with prices for tickets on sites like Stub Hub reaching as high as $4000 right now. So the Facebook application could gain more prominence as a way to give every Facebook user a chance to join in the festivities.

There are currently a little more than 40 artists listed in the Coachella application, but artists are being added and updated as this weekend’s festival approaches. Once you’ve entered all the bands you’d like to check out, you can go back to watch the groups through the live streams. And there will still be plenty of content available even after the last band has played — 5 Gum will be posting exclusive content on their Facebook fan page, including interviews, backstage footage, on-demand performances and complimentary downloads starting May 3.

Guinness Promotes New US-Specific Facebook Page By Highlighting Local Music Series

Guinness recently launched a new Facebook fan page to promote its US division, appropriately named Guinness US, and it’s now promoting the page with a campaign called the Emerging Artists Series. The new promotion is part of the overall Fortune Favors The Bold campaign, which the brand has been pushing through social media and TV spots since late last year.

The Page is following a couple trends among brands using Pages. One is that it has decided to target US users separately from its other efforts on Facebook. Other brands, notably rival brewer Budweiser, have made the same decision. The other trend is that it is trying to tie itself to up-and-coming musicians, as Levi’s, Odwalla and Microsoft have recently been doing.

The Emerging Artists Series is currently focusing on a variety of musicians from the Washington, D.C. area and is being backed by both Guinness and Marc Ecko’s Complex magazine and website. The artists range from soul singers to DJs — each artist receives a feature bio, and an events calendar highlights the upcoming appearances for the artists.

Guinness recently launched the new Facebook page dedicated to its US brand, and the Emerging Artists Series promotion is immediately visible on a The Bold Life tab that’s now its landing page. The fan page is a bit of a break from the original Guinness brand page, with more of a focus on traditionally American demographics.

While the promotion is readily visible on the complex.com site, there’s no mention of the campaign on the Guinness site. There was a post a couple of weeks ago on the original Guinness fan page alerting fans to the new US page, but there’s currently no mention of the promotion anywhere on the international Guinness page, which currently has about 77,800 fans from around the world.

Guinness’s original fan page is well-populated with videos and photos, and the administrators post regularly and respond to posts by fans. The new US page seems to be run in a similar fashion, with ongoing, engaging contests that highlight fans, and a few photos and videos from both Guinness and its fans. The Guinness US page currently has more than 3,300 fans.

The new campaign is being promoted through banner ads, such as the one on dimemag.com, an online basketball and urban lifestyle magazine,and it appears that Guinness is attempting to establish a completely unique identity for its states-side endeavors. By using this specific music series the brand seems to be targeting a more urban market for a their product, which is already wildly popular with the pub crowd.

5 Gum Uses 3D Generator To See How Facebook Fans React To New Flavor

The latest craze in movies and TV seems to be the resurrection of 3D, and now Wrigley’s 5 Gum is bringing a taste of the third dimension to Facebook. To promote its latest flavor, React, 5 Gum has developed an application that allows you to create your own image scape, with your keystrokes determining the shapes and patterns that drift across your screen. You can then share your creations with Facebook friends by inviting them to view a gallery of screen shots that can be seen in 3D or 2D.

A dedicated tab on the 5 Gum fan page shows a brief video and displays a link to the 5 React site where fans can find out if they’ve been chosen to receive a free pack of 5 React, a pair of 3D glasses and their unique code to unlock the React sensory experience. The application pulls in pictures from your account and displays them on a series of monitors before deciding whether or not you’ve been chosen to receive a free black envelope.

Once you’ve logged into the experience through Facebook Connect, a series of changing shapes and colors can be controlled with your keyboard to create a one-of-a-kind image that is periodically saved into a gallery that can be shared with friends. You can then invite friends to check out your creations with a post in your Facebook news feed that links back to the 5 React site.

5 Gum has more than 1 million fans of its Facebook page, with some significant spikes in new fans over the last couple of weeks. The page’s growth appears to be fairly organic, as there isn’t much to view on the page other than the current React promotion.

This latest promotion will help gather important information about which demographics to target for future advertising for the new flavor, but it does come with some risks. By attaching an offer for a freebie to the promotion, there is the reality that some users will sign on just to get the complimentary goods while not really being interested in the product. This does still spread brand awareness, however, so it can still be viewed as a positive when implementing this type of campaign.

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