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Mercedes-Benz sponsors new Motor Trend app

Luxury automaker Mercedes-Benz is sponsoring the new Motor Trend application for the iPhone and iPod touch to promote the launch of its new 2010 E-Class models.

When users launch the Motor Trend application, as it is loading, a full-page interstitial ad appears featuring the Mercedes-Benz E-Class. When users tap the ad, an embedded page within the application opens, letting them access a photo gallery of Mercedes-Benz E-Class vehicles.

?As smartphone penetration explodes, we need to be where our audience is spending time," said Eric Jillard, department manager of digital marketing and CRM at Mercedes-Benz USA, Montvale, NJ. "We are focused on providing the optimal experience as they move from screen to screen.

"Motor Trend, a recognized and leading auto publication, provided the right platform for us to engage consumers with our brand,? he said.

Mercedes-Benz USA is responsible for the sales, marketing and customer service for all Mercedes-Benz and Maybach products in the United States. The E-Class is a range of mid-size luxury executive cars manufactured by Mercedes-Benz in various engine and body configurations.

Zumobi created the application.

Mobile trend
Launching with Mercedes-Benz as the signature sponsor, the Motor Trend application lets users access content wherever they are and in a device-friendly format.

The Mercedes-Benz campaign features full-screen interestitial adds as the application is loading, half-page banner ads and a photo gallery of the Mercedes-Benz 2010 E-Class.

The automaker's ads feature color images and slogans such as "The All-New 2010 E-Class: Born to Pave the Road Ahead," "This is Mercedes-Benz" and "This is the all-new 2010 E-Class. Learn More."

?The strategy that Zumobi employs in the mobile advertising space is to align great media brands like Motor Trend with advertisers and marketers in a way that is highly organic and brand-relevant,? said Ken Willner, CEO of Zumobi, Seattle. ?We try to match-make between great brands and great content to hit the intersection of content and commerce.

?We worked with Mercedes-Benz through their agency Razorfish and Motor Trend to create auto-enthusiast content that is a perfect fit to promote the launch of the Mercedes E-Class,? he said. ?We wove Mercedes branding into the app in a pretty organic way.

?We?re not banging you over the head with banner ads?we try to make it a very tasteful and engaging integration.?

When you launch the Motor Trend application, as it is loading, a full-page interstitial ad appears featuring the Mercedes-Benz E-Class.

If users tap the ad, an embedded page within the application opens, letting users access a photo gallery of Mercedes-Benz E-Class vehicles.

Application users can scroll through photos of E-Class cars. The user stays in the application and is never kicked out to a Web browser.

?It?s a really great blend of content and commerce,? Mr. Willner said.

The Mercedes-Benz ad buy with Motor Trend is a multi-month campaign, and Zumobi plans to add an in-application landing page for the E-Class with more content.

?We will rotate in new creative, new offers and new compelling content?it may include a dealer locator, perhaps a form for capturing email addresses, video content, click-to-call and mapping," Mr. Willner said.

?This is a real win for advertisers, because normally to get that sort of data you have to go outside of an app to get that info, but we can actually provide it within the app experience,? he said.

App marketing
Motor Trend and Zumobi are working together to promote the application.

Motor Trend is putting a call-to-action to download the application on their Web site and using its various media publishing channels to get the word out, including the print magazine, its radio show and email blasts with a direct link to download the application.

Zumobi?s media channels include direct mail and email lists, placement on its Web site and some search engine optimization and marketing to drive it up the App Store rankings.

Zumobi is also cross-promoting the application across its existing application network to drive discovery and introduce Motor Trend to its user base.

?We will aggressively promote the app across our own publishing network, and we may look at doing some mobile advertising of our own,? Mr. Willner said. ?We sometimes go outside our own network for mobile buys, but we haven?t made that decision yet.

?One of the challenges with banner ads, CPC or high-reach ads, you can?t really do branding in that environment,? he said. ?The Mercedes-Benz campaign illustrates the opportunity to drive mobile engagement with a brand in a very organic way.

?Probably more than any app we?ve done, this really reinforces Zumobi?s model, the way we like to go to market with brands and publishers, and reinforces the promise of mobile to offer a unique experience created for a brand?s needs.?

Zumobi develops and publishes branded applications for smartphones. In addition to Motor Trend, its clients include REI, NBC, Phil Mickelson, Better Homes and Gardens, The Sporting News and Microsoft?s Xbox. 

Mobile publishing
Source Interlink Media?s Motor Trend magazine has a circulation of 1.1 million and a total readership of 7.6 million.

The Motor Trend iPhone application, which is available for free in Apple?s App Store, offers breaking news, road test reviews, updates on future cars and other feature stories.

News and reviews are enhanced with a library of videos and photos.

The Motor Trend application offers ?Wide Open Throttle,? which highlights Motor Trend breaking automotive news from around the world, and road test reviews, including first drives, first tests and long-term road tests.

The application also features Motor Trend?s exclusive spy shots of upcoming vehicles, a photo gallery and videos updated daily from Motor Trend?s media channels.

?Motor Trend being one of the largest and most important brands in our portfolio, when we launched in the iPhone app space we wanted to make sure that it provided the consumer with a great experience,? said Jackie Blum, senior vice president of business development for Source Interlink Media, Los Angeles.

?We?re thrilled with the app and the fact that Mercedes Benz is the sponsor,? she said. ?Motor Trend?s core demographic is automotive-enthusiasts ages 28-50 skewing male, but we have a surprisingly strong female following as well, and there?s strong crossover with the iPhone demographic.?

Print magazines and publishers of all stripes were hit hard by the recession. Now, as economic conditions improve, many are seeking new business models and new revenue streams.

The mobile channel has the opportunity to make up for traditional revenue streams, which are continuing to decline.

Mobile provides publishers with the opportunity to reinvent themselves.

Motor Trend is not the first magazine title to realize that the majority of its audience is seeking out content via their handsets.

?Mobile helps us broaden our horizon a bit beyond our core demographic and provides our advertisers with another connection point to our readers,? Ms. Blum said.

?We?re providing our advertisers that want to touch these enthusiasts anyway they way can the opportunity to do so throughout the day,? she said.