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when digital got in the way April 7, 2011

Posted by nicholas gill in advertising, automotive, digital, digital advertising.
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This time last year I had a strange desire. No, not that you dirty minded pervs. No, a desire for throbbing engines, helmets and leather. Yes, I wanted a motorbike. Part practicality – I could save a chunk of cash by parking at a different train station – and part just because I’m heading into the dreaded 4 and 0. Not yet though. And then it all went away. Overnight. And it’s been taken over by another desire.

For a massive 4×4. Partly because any moment now we will have child no. 2 but also because I enjoy driving big cars. I enjoyed immensely driving the humoungous 8-seat Dodge Durango while on holiday in Florida a couple of years back – except when you went round a corner. We have corners in Europe.

So I should be frothing at the mouth at this new partnership from Microsoft and Ford for the all new C-MAX. I know the old C-MAX from my previous life on the Ford of Europe account (I didn’t work on it btw). It was the bastard child. Nobody liked it. The Focus and the Mondeo looked down on it and the S-MAX showed how versatility and all those other things can be put together in a great driving package. Some time down the track it’s been re-born. And here’s where my current desires fit in. I perceived the C-MAX as crap. Then I saw the telly ad. It looked nice. And what’s this? It has 7 seats! Woo hoo. We NEED 7 seats. (I know we will have 2 sproglies but have you EVER tried fitting your mum/mother-in-law in between 2 car seats in a V50? No? It just won’t go. So 7 seats are now officially tick box requirements for our next automobile.)

And then I completely forgot about it. And then I saw this tie up with MSN. Partnering with MSN gives you lots of good content, instant access to a gazillion people and a whopping amount of digital platforms on which to share the product love. It’s got lots of nice technology content, men things, stuff that men will like, manly stuff and things that are loosely related to the technology and men things about the car. I didn’t read any of that though because I watched Tiff Needell driving the car. The production quality was horrific which is inexcusable for a brand like Ford. And the car was DIRTY! I almost fainted. But the film content was good. I had no idea it had Active Parking. Which would terrify me at first in the same way Stop-Start mechanisms do. I am paranoid the bastard won’t start again. I couldn’t get as excited as Tiff at the automatic boot release though. I would get more excited at an automatic boot close as you get on premium motors from Germany. No more slamming. I even smiled knowingly as Tiff flashed his headlights in a retro Top Gear over-taking manouvre on the Oxfordshire back roads where it was filmed.

But where are the 7 seats, Tiff? WHERE? Nothing. Not even a nod to say “for those who want extra versaility there’s a 7 seat version.” So I had to jump ship to the microsite. Which seems to have no reason to live as it’s same content as the main site. And discover it’s called the Grand C-MAX. And try and find the video for that. And it was a bit rubbish. And then I looked at the prices and thought ouch! And then I figured I could get a decent used XC-90 for the same amount of cash and enjoy it more. Because it’s bigger. And it’s what we wanted all along. And they have some lovely films of Sweden. For the first time in ages I felt let down by digital because it got in the way.

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