XM Intros Interactive Campaign Targeted To New-Car Buyers

XM Satellite Radio is launching its largest interactive consumer campaign to date. The two-phase effort "The Wild Ride" aims to familiarize consumers with XM service before they walk into dealerships so the XM logo isn't relegated to dashboard arcana.

The effort, which lets consumers whet their appetites with an online version of XM, uses a menagerie of animated animals stuck in an old clunker. The effort, which runs through the year, launched late last week, with a "full launch" which includes a second phase in October.

The campaign, via Lowe, New York, targets in-market auto shoppers trolling auto sites for deals and information about new cars. Banner ads with text like "Represent with an elephant" are launching on dozens of auto sites like AutoTrader, CarsDirect, Edmunds and Kbb.com, as well as on targeted business publication sites like Forbes.com.

The ads direct consumers to xmwildride.com. There, consumers can play a game on the splash page that involves using the mouse to catapult various critters from an old beater to a new car parked nearby. The site hosts a sweepstakes dangling a car and lets consumers take an online XM test drive.



The campaign also supports OEM partner brands and models, such as Acura, Honda, Nissan and Toyota by listing vehicles with XM, and offering links to OEM sites.

The second phase will add a viral component in which users can create e-mail messages in which each letter of the message becomes an animated giraffe, frog, elephant, etc. both as one types the message and when one receives and opens it.

XM's Vice President of Automotive Marketing, Jeff Curry, says the campaign is squarely aimed at the bottom of the auto purchase funnel. "We have very good awareness from a brand perspective," he says. "But among new car shoppers we are trying to increase awareness that XM is something you frequently get as original equipment with a new car."

He adds that the Internet focus for a targeted effort like this makes sense because most new-vehicle shoppers shop online before visiting dealerships. "So it's those folks we want to grab, people who are considering the features that are important. We want XM to be one of those features."

He says XM now is either standard or optional equipment in over 140 vehicle models. "We find the earlier [consumers] are aware of XM and feel positive about it, the more likely they are--after the three-month trial--to be a subscriber. Also, the earlier we reach folks in the consideration phase, even before they visit dealerships, the more likely the dealer is to demonstrate XM to those consumers, even during the sales process, and the 'stickier' XM becomes."

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