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Why Is Everything Cooler in Asia?

by on August 7, 2010

I’m not sure why, but it feels like since the beginning of my existence (excessive exasperation intended) everything that uses technology is cooler in the Far East.

When my parents got us Nintendo for Christmas when I was 6, it was incredible… until my brother came home from school one day with rumors of how much more awesome it was on the other side of the Pacific.

And don’t even get me started on what they’re doing with robots over there (China won the robot World Cup this year – maybe time Landon Robotovan).

Just when I thought I had heard it all, it’s official, even advertising is more fun in Asia.

As automakers from the Autobahn to Motor City scramble to find growth following the recession, car companies have been flocking to China like trendy dessert lovers to Georgetown Cupcake. In terms of using social media to find that audience, BMW certainly takes the cupcake, so to speak.

Much like your standard cupcake confectionery, BMW is trying to target a younger audience in China. Using their research, they found mobile was a strong channel to use to broadcast their message.


Why don't you love me like you love your Chinese audience, BMW?

With a list of 11,000 contacts in their target audience in Beijing, Shanghai and Ghangzou, BMW sent each person a BMW video along with a personalized message inviting them to come test drive their X1 brand. Thanks to Israel-based tech company Clip in Touch, BMW saw more test drives in that three-day period than any other three-day period last year.

Sure, seeing the success BMW can find by sending ads to their target audience makes me nervous. It is easy for me to say that I welcome compelling content, but what’s to stop the floodgates from opening to a steady stream of unsolicited text ads of questionable quality?

As more and more companies get wise to narrowcasting, surely tactics like this that allow companies to ensure they are targeting exactly the 11,000 individuals they wish to reach will get more popular. Clip in Touch discusses why it works and has three more good case studies showing mobile marketing success that make this case.

Personally, I like that my creative colleagues are finding ways to send me content that I may enjoy. Obviously they aren’t going to hit home runs every time, but I think we are in an age of particularly creative advertising. Audiences aren’t as easily convinced to make a purchase using a mediocre advertisement, and that increased pressure to produce great content should result in more creativity.

I do worry though about the general public’s willingness to accept this kind of “close to home” marketing. It’s one thing if someone is coming to your door, or talking to you during your favorite TV show, but I think it’s a different bargain all together to have someone showing up in your pocket to make a sale. It is bound to make some consumer’s uneasy, and I imagine some kind of opt-out agreement, similar to telemarketing and credit card mailings could be down the road.

How do you feel about mobile marketing? Is it just for the Mad Men friendly, advertising loving audience? Or will the general public embrace this kind of marketing?

Who wants to go drive a BMW to get some cupcakes?

From → China

One Comment
  1. I liked your tone and writing style, as I do every week. This post did confuse me a bit though – I was not quite sure if you were trying to say that more advertisers in China need to have fun with their marketing as BMW is trying to … or that you think there is more promise for mobile marketing in China (or in the US) than advertisers are currently taking advantage of. The example you chose to write about was strong and your point of view on liking it and the lessons it might offer came through … it was just a bit confusing what the main point you were making was. Just a simple caution, that when you have a natural ability to write as you clearly do because of your tone in your post and also what you do for a living, it can sometimes be easy to fall into the trap of focusing on the writing instead of the “bottom line” of making sure your strategic point of view comes through. You have the ability to focus on that, and when you do your posts are fantastic. Just make sure you don’t unintentionally lose sight of that and let your main point diverge a bit too far off course. I did like the ending and your choice to pose a question instead of just saying that the truth was one way or another. (4)

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