NEW YORK – Awareness of Dodge brands was up 27.6 percent among Internet users who had played a new online branded game called “Race the Pros,” according to one of several case studies presented by Jeff Bell, Daimler-Chrysler’s VP of Chrysler/Jeep marketing. Bell shared the results during his keynote address at today’s Jupiter/ClickZ Ad Forum conference in New York City.
Other results for the “Race the Pros” game, which was created by Wild Tangent and promoted during Fox broadcasts and online at MSN and Fox Sports, included a purchase intent lift of 19.6 percent for Dodge brands and a boost in awareness of 24.7 percent for all Daimler-Chrysler brands. Chrysler and Wild Tangent said it was the first extensive branding survey undertaken in the gaming environment.
Bell presented the branding metrics along with numerous other online initiatives, including a golf game seeking Chrysler leads and several Web-only spots targeting emergency workers.
“Our fastest growing area by far is in the Internet,” he said “The great thing about the Web is you can take a risk, learn from it quickly and move on.”
Bell said the measured boost in brand metrics would contribute to an overall increase in the Internet as a marketing channel for the auto maker. Since the inventory on dedicated auto sites is limited, Bell said the company was expanding its online media strategy to include other sites and content categories.
“We’ve started moving from traditional automotive toward lifestyle sites,” he said. “We’re using gaming to start to play with sports, for example.”
Yet despite the its excellent numbers on its branded games, Bell said the company isn’t strongly pursuing product placement in console games. “We’re not that interested. We did it with Tony Hawk, but it’s got to be measurable and it’s got to stimulate more interest.” He said those elements were not yet present in the console gaming environment.
The company also presented several Web-only spots that are now running on sites that are targeted to fire, police and rescue workers. Sites include the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund.
Other ways in which the company intends to use the Web to market its products and services, as well as to enhance its overall business. Bell said Chrysler will roll out redesigned brand Web sites in the next two months, and will integrate all its dealer sites. It will also coordinate test drives online for all dealers.
Additionally, Bell said the company now monitors blogs to get a sense of brand perception.
Yet even while the auto maker has boosted investment in interactive advertising, it has not backed off television.
“We were up a little [in our upfront investment] this year,” he said, but added that was largely because the company had so many vehicle launches. He suggested the company’s overall upfront spend is essentially flat. “We have continued to maintain our presence [in the upfront], but we allocate more to cable than to the networks,” Bell said.
Wild Tangent, which created the game, is building online games for a number of other blue chip clients, including Nike’s Speed campaign.
“We’ve created a whole suite of games for NikeSpeed.com,” said Dave Madden, EVP of Marketing for the company. “Those are all tied to broadcast spots, event promotion, and the site is very tightly integrated across a variety of media.”