I’m writing this while staring at the heavily cropped grille of a small Skoda. Why am I looking at the heavily cropped grille of a small Skoda, you ask? Because it’s all I can see in this teaser image.
Anyone who reads this site or any other automotive publication is bound to have noticed this phenomenon.
Car-makers trying to build suspense as they gear up to launch an exciting new model will often launch a teaser campaign, drip-feeding pieces of information and doling out snippets of the car’s design to the general public through social media and thereby drawing out the story.
And look, I’ll admit it builds suspense and intrigue around a given car. Though it also sets the bar pretty high, because if you’re going to stage the piecemeal launch of a car over a few weeks, you’d better have something sharp to show for it at the end. There's nothing worse than a big, nicely-wrapped present that looks exciting and ends up being socks.
And don’t go thinking I’m shirking my share of responsibility. We motoring writers publish stories wrapped around these teaser shots all the time.
But rightly so, because while it’s our role to do our best to lead the news agenda and uncover the stuff you want to know more about, it’s also our brief to keep tabs on things and keep you all posted on who’s doing what, and when, and why. I like to think we generally offer both.
I get it. I understand all those solid marketing reasons to stage teaser campaigns. It’s good ‘shareable’stuff —that’s a buzzword if ever I heard one —that turns one story into five, or ten. All the ‘expert’ advice and much of the academic research says this strategy is a winner.
And we in the media, while no doubt helping to perpetuate it, have good reason to bring it to you.
Doesn’t mean I can’t still be annoyed about it though…And it’s not just my personal opinion at stake here. In fact, good marketing sense —if there is such as thing —aside, I think these teasers actually do more harm than good.
Take Ford Australia, and its staged reveal of the FG X Falcon, first with its headlight and then its tail-light, a badge here and a grille there. Honestly, I would argue that by the time the full reveal came about, many of us were a little over it.
Is there not more value in the surprise and delight of seeing something in its final form without specific preconceptions forged by teasers? In the internet age it’s too much to expect cars not the leak out ahead of their reveal ‘in the metal’, but isn’t it more impressive when a car company reveals a new model in full?
And it’s not just Ford. Volvo’s long-form ‘reveal’ of its vital (and by first impression pretty damned impressive) new XC90 has been happening over the course of months. Is there not a danger that, come the reveal in Paris this October, the weary public might greet it with not a bang but a whimper?
Mazda, Skoda, Nissan, Kia, Mercedes-Benz and its AMG sub-brand, all of these are guilty of using teaser campaigns recently. And no doubt you can think of many, many more. At least the ‘spy pic’stories we run give you some idea of a car’s full design!
My two cents, whatever they’re worth? Knock it off, marketers.
Kill these lengthy, frustrating teaser campaigns and show us the good stuff. I don’t want a hint of headlight, a bit of bumper, a sneak-peak of spoiler. Spare me the glimpse of gear-shifter and the whisper of wheel. Just rip off the covers and show me the full deal. I don’t have the patience.
But enough about me. What do you think? Teaser shots: yay or nay?