Range Rover Evoque, Pulse of the City, the City Shapers & Pay per Tweet?

I’ve wanted to write about the marketing they’re doing for the Evoque for a while now.  They just keep coming up with new things, like a twitpic scavenger hunt for the Evoque wireframes in LA before the big reveal next week.  I just wasn’t sure if I want to be critical of it or not and my mind has changed over time.  So I’ll just break it down a little.

With regard specifically to the Pulse of the City app – at first I didn’t get it but then I tried it out and created this cool visualization of a short trip the other day.  It’s a simple app you install on your iOS device, you hit start at the beginning of your trip and end when you reach your destination.  It uses the live GPS data to plot points along the way, then it emails you a visualization of your trip, as seem below.  I had thought it was just for the “City Shapers” but it’s more then that.Pulse of the City - Large

It’s a neat idea with a cool personalized product at the end, you should check it out.

Now on to the City Shapers, this I’m not as cool with.  It’s described as:

40 influential names from ten cities, working in fashion, design, music and film who will collaborate with Range Rover over the next 12 months to launch the highly anticipated Range Rover Evoque.

When I heard this the first time, I didn’t think much of it in the way of paid product endorsement.  But then the news started appearing about how these celebrities are getting paid to tweet about the Evoque to their many followers.  I know it’s not a new thing, and getting paid for things like this is becoming more common, but I just don’t think it’s transparent enough.  Using Twitter to broadcast about a product and not have a clear “Promotional considerations provided by” tag really seems like it would hurt Twitter in the long run?  And it seems like it would be disingenuous to the actual followers to just be getting basically commercial messages without any notification

Here you can see an actual promoted follow suggestion from @RangeRoverUSA:

twitter-rrusa

That is clearly marked that it’s promoted, and I have no problem with that.  But then you have tweets from @bevysmith, one of the New York City Shapers.  It’s not as clear as to whether or not she’s being paid to mention the Evoque.

bevy-twitter

On researching this, I found some great articles on the subject from people who write a lot better then I can, you should check them out:

Twitter: just another channel for celeb endorsement?

Range Rover use brand and consumer generated content to engage consumers about new models

And there was one tweet that I now can’t find!!  The tweeter worded it very well on how this is a slippery slope between advertising and a true experience – when I find it, I’ll update this article.

And Land Rover Range Rover did clarify the program:

Range Rover this week announced that it has recruited 40 global “city shapers” to drive the new Range Rover Evoque car and be part of the Pulse of the City campaign. These people are all well known voices in their city and come from the fields of art, culture, film, music, fashion, TV in fact anywhere where they’ve made a mark in their own city. They have an interesting and often talked about point of view and appreciate the design thought that has gone in to producing the new Range Rover car.
Further to recent press speculation about celebrities being paid to tweet without acknowledging their association, Range Rover would like to reinforce the fact that at no time have its city shapers been paid just to tweet or endorse our products without acknowledgement.  Each will be loaned a new Evoque and will then recount their experiences as part of the Pulse of the City campaign in their own ways. If Twitter is used, it is through their own choice, what they say is determined by them and will always be linked to Range Rover and the Pulse of the City campaign.  All of our City Shapers have been announced on the Helloevoque.com .

So maybe that’s their out, if they aren’t actually paying them anything and just loaning the car, they don’t have to feel as guilty about it?  The more transparent the better!!

Just going to close on some more criticism , I really think the Evoque turned out well and hope that it’s really successful for Land Rover Range Rover, but do you really think any of these City Shapers wouldn’t just have a real Range Rover?  Like the just announced fifth City Shaper for New York City, New York Jets star cornerback Darrelle Revis, do you really think he’s showing up on game day in a little Evoque or a real Range Rover Autobiography?  And calling back to the @bevysmith tweets above, being in NYC, how many people really do drive themselves?  And how many of these City Shapers would actually drive themselves in NYC?  Why not just use a Taxi or car service – do these Evoque’s come with a driver?  And if you’re going to have a driver, wouldn’t they use a full size vehicle, sort of no compromise?  And I know they’re really marketing it as a city car, but driving in the city is never like the driving in their videos of car-less London.  To me, you drive in the city if you have to, not because you want to.

Just my opinion!

Press releases to follow:

LAND ROVER LAUNCHES RANGE ROVER EVOQUE ‘PULSE OF THE CITY’ APP

(IMAGES AVAILABLE FROM WWW.media.helloevoque.com)

Media notice

EMBARGOED UNTIL 22ND OCTOBER 2010

LONDON, UK: Land Rover today announced the launch of ‘Pulse of the City’, an iPhone app that anticipates the launch of the new Range Rover Evoque. The ‘Pulse of the City’ app lets users create a unique and stunning data visualisation of their journeys across ten cities worldwide.

clip_image002In a world first, the ‘Pulse of the City’ app, launches on iPhone (android available from mid November) and uses GPS tracking to record the collective movements of people within the ten citites. Users will be sent a graphical representation of their journey which they can display on the helloevoque.com website.

Users will be invited to join 40+ ‘City Shapers’ including influencers Daisy Lowe, Henry Holland, Georgina Chapman, Jessica Schwarz and Dylan Jones to download the app for free. City Shapers will be able to add comments about their favourite places, hot spots and journeys, creating a real time, evolving pulse of each city.

As the ‘Pulse of the City’ grows, Range Rover will be asking its ‘City Shapers’ and users of the app about their connection to their city. Questions including ‘What inspires you about your city?’ and ‘What are people talking about in your city today? will be posed each month, with the information from each city gathered to build a portrait of each urban landscape.

The ‘Pulse of the City’ app uses the new IOS4+ operating system’s ability to run background applications, thereby allowing users to start the app and leave it running whilst using the phone to take calls or browse the web. It uses the enhanced GPS capabilities of the new OS to track each journey more accurately, making the final visualisation a true reflection of a user’s movement. The app will let users come back to saved journeys, pause the journey they are viewing and then share their journey via Facebook, Twitter and e-mail.
The app, launched in conjunction with the website www.helloevoque.com, is inspired by the new Range Rover Evoque and the cities that in turn inspired its design.

EDITORS NOTES

The Range Rover Evoque is a new smaller, more eco friendly Range Rover which will appeal especially to a younger, urban minded driver. Its design is inspired by city architecture and is being launched in key cities around the world.

The key cities featured on the helloevoque.com website include London, New York, Berlin, Paris, Madrid, Milan, Sydney and Moscow with additional cities added in November 2010.

The City Shapers taking part in the ‘Pulse of the City’ are influential in their cities and have interesting points of view that people listen to. They come from different aspects of culture that make up the varied nature of their cities, from arts, the creative industry, film, music, fashion, media – anywhere where they’ve made their own mark, have an interesting point of view and would appreciate the design thought that has gone in to producing the new Range Rover car. 

The ‘Pulse of the City’ app will be available for iPad and android from mid November 2010. The app offers:

– Bug fixes for distance covered

– Improved UI when tracking a journey

– Improved UI for information submission.

ENDS

For further information, please contact:

XXXX

A collection of images are available from

www.media.landrover.com and www.media.helloevoque.com

 

******

EMBARGOED UNTIL 22nd October 2010, 00:01

LAND ROVER ANNOUNCES NAMES OF 40 INFLUENCERS ON BOARD TO LAUNCH THE ALL-NEW RANGE ROVER EVOQUE AND REVEAL DETAILS OF THE PULSE OF THE CITY PROJECT

IMAGES AVAILABLE FROM WWW.MEDIA.HELLOEVOQUE.COM

Media Notice

London, 22nd October 2010: Georgina Chapman, Henry Holland, Santi Millán and Jessica Schwarz are among 40 influential names from ten cities, working in fashion, design, music and film who will collaborate with Range Rover over the next 12 months to launch the highly anticipated Range Rover Evoque.

Each of the influencers has been recruited to participate in the Pulse of the City project where their journeys will be tracked around their favourite cities to create a living interactive guide to the urban spaces they call home.

Land Rover Managing Director, Phil Popham, said: “The Range Rover Evoque is the smallest, lightest and greenest car that Land Rover has ever produced, making it ideal for city driving. Its design is inspired by city architecture and a big part of a city is the people within it, their journeys and their conversations.  Land Rover has brought together 40+ influencers across key cities worldwide to join the Range Rover Evoque’s launch journey, these will include Shanghai, New York, London, Paris, Madrid, Milan, Berlin, Sydney, Sao Paulo and Moscow. "

The influencers or ‘City Shapers’ have been chosen because they are influential in their cities and have interesting points of view that people listen to.  They come from different aspects of culture that make up the varied nature of their cities, from arts, the creative industry, film, music, fashion, media – anywhere where they’ve made their own mark and shaped the cities they live in.

In a world first, the ‘Pulse of the City’ app, will launch next week and will use GPS tracking to record the collective movements of people within the ten cities. Users will be sent a graphical representation of their journey which they can display on the Helloevoque.com website.

Participants will also be able to add comments about their favourite walks, hot spots and journeys, creating a real time, evolving pulse of each city. Both ‘City Shapers’ and the public will be able to download the app for free.

Inspired by the new Range Rover Evoque and the cities that in turn inspired its design, the app will bring each city to life through the people who shape it.

Global  City Shapers include:

Sydney

Sarah-Jane Clarke – Designer and co-founder of Sass & Bide

Heidi Middleton – Designer and co-founder of Sass & Bide

Mia Freedman – Journalist and blogger

Peter Evans – Chef

London

Henry Holland – Fashion designer

Dylan Jones – Editor of GQ

Ben Shepherd – Presenter

George Lamb – TV personality

Moscow

Vasily Esmanov – Blogger and photographer

Aurora – TV presenter and actress

Gennady Yosefavichus – Producer and journalist

Vlad Lisovets – Stylist & designer

Sao Paulo

Mariana Weickhert – TV personality

Baixo Ribeiro – Gallery owner

Osgemeos – Graffiti artist duo

Milan

Neil Barret – Designer

Sergio Cerruti – DJ

Natasha Slater – DJ & socialite

Francesca Versace – Designer

Madrid

Santi Millán – Actor

Paco Roncero – Chef

Tommy Robredo – Tennis player

Eugenia Silva – Model

Paris

Natalie Simon – TV presenter

Brice Compagnon – Editor of WAD

Greg Kozo – Make The Girl Dance

Berlin

Jessica Schwarz – Actress

Tadi Rock – Pop-Art artist

Luca Gadjic – Model

New York

Georgina Chapman – Fashion designer

Ends

For further information, please contact: INSERT CONTACT DETAILS

A collection of images are available from

www.media.landrover.com and www.media.helloevoque.com