As automakers accelerate production of vehicles designed to be sold everywhere on Earth -- not just in specific markets -- so are they creating marketing campaigns to introduce the vehicles, also designed to run everywhere, without having to be radically tailored to different countries.
Ford's new campaign for its first truly global car, the new Focus, is one example. Developed by a global WPP agency working group, it features 15-second ads that highlight specific features -- ads that were developed to run in all markets. Chevrolet and Volkswagen are taking that approach to vehicle unveiling activities one usually associates with auto shows. They are creating media-streamed Web events that will run on different continents at more or less the same time.
Volkswagen, for example, said it will launch the 21st-century Beetle with live events in Shanghai, Berlin and New York City streamed online through a partnership with MTV. The events will include performances from bands like the Black Eyed Peas.
General Motors' Chevrolet division will launch its global car, the new Malibu, on Monday with a Web happening timed with the Shanghai auto show. The effort -- which is also two days before the New York International Auto Show press days -- includes a live, full-screen, high-definition video around the debut of the new vehicle in Shanghai, in formats that will run on social networking and media sites, iPad and iPhone personal mobile devices.
"We are expanding the reach beyond mainstream product introductions typically seen at auto shows," said Russ Clark, product director at Chevrolet, in a statement. The car is to be sold in 100 countries on six continents, according to the automaker.
The company said the effort is timed to obviate time-zone issues: the online reveal of the April 19 Shanghai event will be simultaneous at 8:30 p.m. EDT the night before. The reveal will be on Facebook, with a custom broadcast available on iPad, iPhone and mobile devices.
Chevrolet's exterior design director, Bryan Nesbitt, and marketing manager Jon Hahn will field questions during a live video Web session. People can post questions during the reveal on Twitter or on Chevrolet's Facebook page.
Chevrolet did a similar, U.S.-focused program earlier this year with a Web-streamed reveal of its new MyLink telematics program on the technology Web show "Engadget." Earlier this month, the automaker started teasing Malibu on social networks worldwide.
Toyota's Scion division will do its own less global Web debut, minus the bands at next week's auto show, with plans to unveil a concept vehicle for the division and stream the presentation on ScionDimension.com.
Chevrolet is talking about the upcoming Web reveal with Web videos explaining the global nature of the car and showing a designer manipulating a holographic image of the model-year 2012 vehicle. The video urges viewers to watch the live Web event.