Brea, Calif.-based American Suzuki is expanding its Web-based rewards program, AllPoints, with a new video contest and virtual racing game. The site is designed to give people an incentive to visit and interact with SuzukiAuto.com and associated sites on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube through reward points and sweepstakes.
The "Kizashi Ring of Fire" game mirrors the "Tokyo to LA: The Hard Way" a transnational tour -- now wrapping up -- in which editors of auto-enthusiast pubs are driving Suzuki vehicles and a Suzuki V-Strom motorcycle from the capital city of Japan across Russia, Europe, and the U.S.
The game is a futuristic urban street race in which players have to be among the top three scorers to move to the next level. Each level represents a city or place traversed on the road trip. The player with the highest score at the terminus of the AllPoints program on Jan. 3 will win a trip to a racing school.
The AllPoints site is via Suzuki's digital agency, L.A.-based Matrix Consultants, which brought in Culver City, Calif.-based Dvelop for the "Ring of Fire" racing game.
There is also a consumer content program, "Live Large!," wherein consumers can upload videos of themselves and their Suzuki vehicles and the kinds of activities they do with their cars. Suzuki will post the top videos at SuzukiAllPoints.com and its YouTube channel. Those who post the top three videos, based on consumer voting, get prizes. The grand prize is a trip for two to any U.S. city, and the first- and second-prize winners will win a $1,000 shopping spree to Target or Macy's and a Sony PlayStation 3, respectively, per the company.
Gene Brown, VP marketing at American Suzuki, tells Marketing Daily that the AllPoints program, a half-year campaign that launched July 29, has brought in 40,000 unique visitors both through the Suzuki Autos Web site and the brand's social sites. "It's about the brand's personality rather than just the facts," he says. "A brand needs to be more than the sum of its parts, and this lets us tell more than just a product story."
Brown says Suzuki is driving people to the site via online ads and a search campaign, but that ultimately, the company wants it to be self-generating. "There's a viral element to the traffic, and explicit efforts to drive traffic to the site are limited -- it's more about seeding. As we reach critical mass, it will be organic," he says. The company launched Kizashi late last year, and Brown says the car, which Suzuki desperately needs to help bring in new buyers and vitalize the brand, is doing just that. "The majority of buyers are new to Suzuki; they are more affluent and better-educated. And they are very happy with the vehicle," says Brown, who cites a recent award from auto research firm AutoPacific, which named Kizashi top vehicle of any kind for vehicle satisfaction among any 2010 model.
The company just launched the Kizashi GTS Sport version of the car and will, per Brown, ramp up advertising for the vehicle this fall.