By on February 24, 2012

As a “glass-half-empty” kind of guy, I would need a minute to think about the most fascinating story I’ve ever written, but could easily tell you about the most infuriating. That dubious honor goes to the Facebook launch campaign for the 2012 Ford Explorer.

Starting in June of 2010, Ford released a series of “teaser images” of wilderness or other scenes with an Explorer barely visible. The process went on for roughly a month, and I was responsible for writing blog posts about the new images, which proved to be trying. By the time the 2012 Explorer launched, I was sick of hearing about it, and didn’t care whatsoever about any of the new technologies or improvements.

The Explorer is far from the only car to get this treatment; most notably, the Chevrolet Camaro and Scion FR-S/Subaru BRZ underwent this excruciatingly uninteresting method of endless concept cars and leaked details. Other vehicles, like the Dodge Dart get social media soft launches where little teaser photographs are dribbled out bit by bit.

The car companies feel that this builds buzz for the “brand”, but most importantly, it’s great for the auto bloggers. Every new photo or piece of information can generate a new post, which can generate an all-important “click” (see also: Top 10 lists, slideshows, reporting on social unrest and natural disasters). It’s a symbiotic relationship between the OEM and the media that’s unlikely to change, given the dysfunctional economics of blogging, that rewards speed, sensationalism and superficial content (which generate clicks) over the kind of slow, measured, in-depth work that the foundations of real in-depth journalism are built on. The kind of content that takes time and money to produce, bores many readers because it’s over 800 words long and often gets displaced in the article hierarchy because a new Toyonda Camcord Juicy Couture Special Edition was released and if we’re not first at re-hashing the press release and stock photos, we’ll be rendered irrelevant. Now if you’ll excuse me, I have a new Ferrari teaser photo to write about.

 

Get the latest TTAC e-Newsletter!

20 Comments on “The “Slow Reveals” Need To Stop...”


  • avatar
    missinginvlissingen

    Why do the teasers need to stop? Because they annoy bloggers? No, because as you point out, the bloggers are addicted to the clicks. (Oooh, there’s an image of the new Mustang light cluster!)

    Do the teasers work? Do they “generate buzz” that translates into sales? Do blog readers/consumers get any benefit from them?

    Is there any way to stop this from happening?

    Sorry, I used to be a college professor. This assignment is incomplete.

  • avatar
    stuart

    If you don’t like the game, don’t play. Ignore “slow reveals.”

    Speaking for myself, I won’t mind a bit if TTAC decided to ignore these pointless marketing exercises.

    stuart

  • avatar
    Steven02

    But this does create buzz for auto companies and launches, at least for cars people care about. TTAC had a few articles on the Buick Encore and the Ford Explorer because of this. If you don’t like it don’t cover it, but others will, and people will go there to get it.

  • avatar
    flomulgator

    I tried to read this whole article, but it was too long.

    TROLLOLOLO!

  • avatar
    Felix Hoenikker

    Eric,

    According to my 24 year old son, Facebook is passe. He and his friends have abondoned it after finding it to be corrupted with the kind of thing you described above.

  • avatar
    Chocolatedeath

    I actually miss it when the old days such as Honda, would just come out with a new car and wouldnt even tell you its new until it was pretty much for sale. I actually prefer not knowing in some instances so that I am surprised. I am not talking about updates, I am talking about complete or mostly complete redo. Ford (as much as I like you) did not have to show me the 2013 Taurus early last year and not have it on sale until October of this year….Its not even new for crying out loud. If you have improved you product then just come out with it and run some commercials.

  • avatar
    tallnikita

    I tease myself every night but feel no need to blog about it. Am I sick?

  • avatar
    PintoFan

    The Scion FR-S/Subaru BR-Z DOES NOT EXIST. It is an incredibly elaborate, multi-stage hoax carried out by Toyota with the assistance of easily duped bloggers and journosaurs. All of the cars demonstrated in press launchers were ringers based on some old Levin Corolla platforms with fiberglass bodies tacked on. Nobody can prove that the car is actually in production, and nobody ever will.

    The entire thing is a clever deposit/insurance/tax flimflam by Toyota executives designed to drive up flagging sales in the U.S., particularly of the Scion brand. What will happen is that the transport ship supposedly “carrying” the first shipment of FR-Ss’ will mysteriously “sink” in the Pacific, and Toyota will use the opportunity to cancel the program while at the same time writing off the whole thing as a tax loss and collecting big bucks from insurers. Then, customers who have put down a deposit will instead be issued a credit for another sporty new Toyota, such as a Camry or Sienna. These are all 100% true facts and it will all come out in the wash!

  • avatar
    Landcrusher

    Marketers using Facebook aren’t thinking straight, and neither are websites who do more than use the share feature. FB is a brilliant plan to move power from others to itself. If your life, company, and relationships are valuable, you would be wise to keep them away from Facebook.

  • avatar
    Ryoku75

    Slow reveals are nothing new, but I never cared for them nor did I ever care for dressed up prototypes, its all to stir hype and hype dosen’t always equal sales.

    Plus, I’m more interested in what a car and do and fit, not its ring times nor the latest and bizzarest styling.

  • avatar
    replica

    tldr

  • avatar
    WRohrl

    No, no, no, Derek, in my opinion the most infuriating story you ever wrote were the total of 13 words on the California gas prices topping $5 (including the headline in that word count)….

    :-)

    Jim

    • 0 avatar
      MrGreenMan

      That story was a great day for reading comprehension among the commentariate. We learned that the phrase “Crest above $5/gal” was open to criticism for cherry picking the highest value instead of the average for the “crest”, or highest, value.

      I hear an H3 fuel economy can crest at 25 mpg when oriented downhill on a mountain running at idle operating only under downward pull of gravity.

  • avatar
    obbop

    “superficial content”

    That describes my blogs.

    Ryoku75: “Slow reveals are nothing new”

    The gals at the blue-collar, social club/beer drinking/pool-playing place had one or two skimpy bikini-clad young cuties (legal age) who, at times, removed their top (legally) when they felt like it but was done in a friendly way and all within were jovial and I never witnessed hostility or bad behavior and the gals always were respected and actually most within did not devote much attention to the gal’s presence.

    The place was so “all-American” Bruce Springsteen or John Cougar/Mellencamp could have written a song about the place.

    Located in what some would have labeled the “bad part” of town it was, in actuality, the blue-collar light industrial area where I felt safer than many parts of town.

    And semi-rusted out but still well-running Chevy and Ford pick-ups and Harley “scooters” were common parked out front, along with the occasional “bob tail” semi.

    Alas, that bar-type has become increasingly rare as the factories have been abandoned and the front gates locked with chain and padlock with a weathered “for sale” sale sign and a large asphalt parking lot with a bounty of weeds growing through the cracks.

    Common across the “rust belt.”

    It was a sad sight that became increasingly common as I shifted through ten gears and passed what was so often the outer edges of mid-sized and smaller towns in too many states.

    And when those arterial non-Interstate roads did not bypass the burghs, running instead through the town I often saw the local effects of the plant’s closure in the too-many empty store fronts, lack of local activity and “for sale” signs on houses.

    Sigh………………….

    • 0 avatar
      Ryoku75

      I’ve taken strolls through areas with plenty of “For Sale” signs on the buildings myself, it is a bit depressing to look around and think “Dang, this place really used to be something”.

      Sad thing is instead of fine women, more men are into “un-boxing videos”, a youtube phenomenon where someone slowly opens up whatever the latest game is.


Back to TopLeave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Subscribe without commenting

Recent Comments

  • Re: Thank You And Goodbye (Sort Of)

    The Heisenberg Cartel - Count me as among those who nearly ditched TTAC altogether before you took over. You were truly the Alan Mullaly of this place. Hopefully VS gives...
  • Re: European Review: Peugeot 208 GTi

    Buckshot - The 208 GTI is from 229 000 SEK in Sweden Cooper S is from 215 000 SEK but in reality the Cooper will be more expensive with all its expensive options.
  • Re: Mitsubishi Motors: And Then There Were…

    notferris - Mike, First of all, I commend you on this in-depth piece. If you would allow, I would like to offer some additional information that you, and...
  • Re: Thank You And Goodbye (Sort Of)

    Stef Schrader - I feel as if I just read a group hug (in a good way). I do, however, need to chase these feelings of warm fuzziness up with some footage of explosions, and...
  • Re: Thank You And Goodbye (Sort Of)

    April - Accountability and Civility? Really? Allowing comments which include slurs and questioning others humanity is usually considered beyond the pale by polite society....
  • Re: Junkyard Find: 1959 DeSoto

    bill mcgee - It is hard to imagine the styling sensation that the 1957 Chrysler products were when they were first introduced . I recall at the time ,and I was possibly only...
  • Re: Report: Nissan Scraps Small Truck Plans, Navara Now On For North America

    DenverMike - @Lou_BC – The Tacoma regular cab is one of the fastest selling trucks on the planet, close behind the Tacoma...
  • Re: Reader Review: 2010 Volkswagen Jetta Sportwagen

    DeadWeight - Mazda isn’t 50% worse than Honda in this regard (maybe 25% worse, though), and while it’s often stated, tires do make a huge...
  • Re: Thank You And Goodbye (Sort Of)

    msquare - I am very happy to see you at Road & Track. I was wondering who would succeed Peter Egan and I think they found the right person. I came to the web (TTAC,...
  • Re: Thank You And Goodbye (Sort Of)

    MBella - Yeah, not cool Jack. Especially since I’ve never heard Ed say anything but good things about you.

New Car Research

Get a Free Dealer Quote

Staff

  • Authors

  • Brendan McAleer, Canada
  • Marcelo De Vasconcellos, Brazil
  • Matthias Gasnier, Australia
  • Tycho de Feyter, China
  • W. Christian 'Mental' Ward, Abu Dhabi
  • Mark Stevenson, Canada
  • Faisal Ali Khan, India