By on July 24, 2018

Dodge doled out scraps of information and imagery for what seemed like years in the lead-up to the launch of its limited-run Challenger SRT Demon, and it nearly drove us nuts. Just how long can a striptease go on before the audience loses interest?

Toyota’s on the verge of finding out with its upcoming Supra — another vehicle that’s taken so long to deliver the goods, the guys in the front row are paying their tab and stumbling out to the parking lot, fearful of what awaits them at home. More commonly, automakers deem it sufficient to release a zoomed-in image of a headlight, blackened silhouette, or a fender crease a day before the new or refreshed model’s official unveiling.

It’s every automaker’s hope that this little glimpse of skin arouses powerful emotions. The reality, however, might be far different.

We’re an impatient society, and social media, digital everything, and the ability to fast-forward through commercials has only served to stunt our attention span and imagination even further. Sad, but true. Unless the teaser shot reveals something new about the powertrain or bodystyle, such images are an exercise in frustration. It’s usually just an opportunity to talk about the model’s sales.

Tradition being what it is, there looks to be no end in sight to this practice. Some automakers attempt to stand out from the herd by changing it up, swapping teaser photos for a teaser video or, God forbid, a miniseries — with varying results. Audi’s multi-episode teaser for the Q8 had Matt Posky pulling his hair out.

But on to the QOTD. What’s your stance on pre-reveal teasers? All good, all bad, or is there room for nuance? Also: how would you generate public interest (or at least media coverage) in an upcoming model if handed the reins of an automaker’s marketing department?

[Image: Fiat Chrysler Automobiles]

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19 Comments on “QOTD: Why Such a Tease?...”


  • avatar
    geozinger

    The worst teaser campaign in recent memory was the last gen Camaro’s; I never thought that car would launch. But every other car company has started doing the same thing, for those of us who follow the industry, the cars are old before we see them on the street. There have been so many of these campaigns that MEGO sets in and I couldn’t care less about what new car comes out anymore.

    Just show the stupid thing and put it on sale shortly after. With spy shots, teaser shots and finally real publicity shots from the factory, there’s hardly any mystery. It’s not 1958 or even 1988. The folks who want to know will have found out and the rest of the world goes on…

  • avatar
    Sub-600

    “Just how long can a striptease go on before the audience loses interest?” Usually until the police show up.

    • 0 avatar
      PrincipalDan

      My favorite is a few states that allow alcohol in a “topless” joint but not in a full “strip club”. For some reason that always makes me chuckle.

      But if you want a real laugh go find the the Sklar Brothers “Strip Club DJ” routine.

  • avatar
    Ryoku75

    My stance is that theyre a waste of resources in the end. Sure it brings hype, sure it makes marketeers feel powerful, but I doubt that it sells cars half the time.

    I often ignore both teaser trailers and the “Look at me! Im a secret prototype!” camo cars. The newer NSX was a bad offender due to it having ads and even being in Gran Turismo before it ever released. Most of it feels pointless such as disguising a suped up Challenger when we know what Challengers look like.

    Camo cars used to have clever disguises where Volvos became Lancias, fake Japanese cars, or Citations. They didnt draw attention like todays stuff. With todays lego cars it’d be easy to test new fancy drivetrains in mundane bodies.

    • 0 avatar
      JimZ

      “With todays lego cars it’d be easy to test new fancy drivetrains in mundane bodies.”

      those are called “mules.”

    • 0 avatar
      TMA1

      I think it probably does sell cars to the true fanatics. These are the guys who will show up at launch and pay way over MSRP to be the first one with the new ride.

      I’m not sure who would get that extra money though. But any dealer looking for part of the limited allotment of new GT750’s (hot new thing) will probably take a few dozen Fiestas (lot poison) as well if the manufacturer makes that a condition of getting inventory. And as we say here, the manufacturer’s customer is the dealer, not the buyer.

  • avatar
    JimZ

    one or two might be tolerable, if done at a time somewhat close to the actual reveal. Horsepuckey like the interminable run-up to the NSX, Toyota 86, and now the Supra needs to just end already.

    Especially Acura’s NSX tedium looked really, really dumb compared to the Ford GT reveal. “Hey, see what we’ve been working on? Goes on sale next year.” *mic drop*

    • 0 avatar
      JMII

      So true, Ford did it right. BOOM car is done, want one? These people need to take a page out of Apple’s play book: show NOTHING until its ready for sale. I am details guy so if you not going to give me usable information then I’ll just ignore you. What is point of showing me something I can’t purchase. Imagine this at a restaurant, teasing you with menu items only available next month.

      Want to build excitement? Once again do like Apple and have “launch days” at local dealerships so the first and only way to see a new vehicle is on site. It might even get people to look up who their nearest dealer is and plan a visit. When was the last time you were excited to go to an dealership? Turn the tease into a local, social event, hire a local band, have food trucks, have a car show, etc.

  • avatar
    turbo_awd

    Agree – useless.

    Unless you’re a car guy, you won’t care about it. I mean, my wife doesn’t know ANYTHING about the Q8. About the ONLY way she’d ever find out is if she saw one on the street or if we rented one (unlikely, I know, but it’s how she found out about the Q7). Not that she would ever want to spend that much on a car.

    And for us car nuts, it’s too long, too late. One teaser, maybe with a few specs, and then a full reveal a month later, and on sale 1-2 months after that..

    VW used to kind of do this all the time in Canada, at least – the models would come over 6-9 months after being released in Germany. So it would take nearly a year after finding out about a new model before we could actually see them on the street. After I moved to CA, it was quite surprising (in a good way!) for me to hear about a new model, and then see it on the street 3-4 weeks later in many cases..

    For me, the default assumption is: the longer you have to drag it out, the less substance you actually have. I’m already convinced the Supra is shit, based on how long it took you to actually tell us anything about it..

  • avatar

    Ford did this with the ALL NEW OMG Ranger, which is a very lightly reworked version of the world Ranger.

    And they’re doing it presently with the Bronco.

    And they did it with the Navigator.

  • avatar
    scott25

    That’s why I like launches of subcompact cars, they just show up at an autoshow somewhere a few months before they hit dealers with no fanfare. I literally couldn’t even find a picture of the new Accent hatchback (not sold in America so who cares?) before it was on my local dealer’s lot

  • avatar
    IBx1

    Do it 1 week prior to the reveal *at most.* The absolute worst ones are the teasers and camouflage that come out AFTER the car has been revealed, as if there’s someone who didn’t see the articles all over the internet.

  • avatar
    b534202

    I like the way the Japanese used to do it at their home market.

    Show the public the new car, and it is available for ordering right away.

  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    When my “Google News” pops up with a notification about a spy shot or a teaser I have stopped clicking to do my infinitesimal part to discourage all this BS.

  • avatar
    James2

    The marketing people need to do something to justify their paychecks. Otherwise, you can only surf the Internet so much at your desk.

  • avatar
    brn

    Sorry, my mind wandered off. What were we talking about?

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