Compact Car Tries Making Sexytime with Consumers

As global economies continue to teeter on the edge of oblivion, consumers everywhere are being more conscientious about spending. The auto industry is being hit particularly hard, especially in the U.S. Drivers are traveling less to conserve on gasoline spending and trading guzzling SUVs for more practical, gas-sipping alternatives.

It seems that as vehicles become more fuel efficient and practical, they also move further away from the sexiness of, say, a Lamborghini or Ferrari. So, what’s a marketer to do? The last time I checked, talk of fuel efficiency didn’t get the average consumers pulse racing in anticipation.

French automaker Renault, known for fuel efficient, yet otherwise uninspiring cars that are sold primarily in Europe, is taking a stab at sexing up one of its compacts, the Twingo, in a new integrated marketing campaign. It is driven primarily via online videos and a racy website and is supplemented with print and TV ads. To me, it seems that they’re taking a page from the Mini Cooper playbook in making compact sexy.

The Wall Street Journal ran an article about the forthcoming campaign that focuses on the theme of being “in tune with today” and markets the Twingo through ads that inject sex, cross dressing, and even stripping to push the car that otherwise doesn’t appear to have had major redesign or look much different than the average compact.

Like it or not, porn has helped to drive the growth of the Internet, for better or worse. Renault has taken this concept and integrated it into the site that’ll launch to promote the Twingo.

It will apparently feature an age verification landing page where users confirm that they’re at least 18 years of age, a la porn sites, and then, upon clicking yes, are greeted with envelope-pushing (at least by U.S. standards) video clips and risque shots of the car itself, complete with pasties over the headlights, as seen here:

One of the viral videos that is launching to promote the Twingo features a guy driving the car to a nightclub with a group of friends, who, upon arrival, see the guy’s father dressed in drag waiting in line to get into the club. Despite what the viewer thinks will happen next, the guy asks his dad if he can get he and his friends into the club. Then, the Twingo tagline “In tune with today” runs to further promote the cars alleged “edginess” and hipness. Give it a look, and decide for yourself whether you think this viral tactic will actually convince consumers that the car is hip.

I think, from an integrated marketing campaign perspective, Renault is taking a unique approach in using humor and sex to change perceptions about an otherwise practical, yet uninspiring, car. It will be interesting to see if the campaign gets legs and helps to boost sales especially given the state of the economy. If nothing else, I think the videos that will be tied to the campaign are humorous enough to build some buzz and pass along.


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