Archive for June 21st, 2006

Toyota Land Cruiser (China)

Wednesday, 21 June 2006; 17:07

Don’t even think about asking me anything regarding Toyota or the content contained within this presentation. One thing I do know is that it’s no small journey. So much for that proverbial first single step. We’re driving SUVs! And although the soundtrack is repetitious, just try to enjoy a quick glance at the unknown and The Silk Road Expedition.

Addendum: A click here; a click there. Things turn up. Let’s visit Adventure Park with the Toyota Land Cruiser and Land Cruiser Prado. (Why do I get the impression this is an educational video on what a SUV is and can do?) And let us not forget that camels were a very reliable form of 4×4 transporation along the Silk Road long before the Romans had their first chariots. (You did see the camel, didn’t you?)

(But who is buying these things in China? Members of the ruling communist party who wish only prosperity and equality for China’s billions of high-income citizens? From bicycles to SUVs….)

Toyota China logo

Landcruiser graphic Prado graphic

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Wal-Mart

Wednesday, 21 June 2006; 14:11

What is this?! Wal-Mart “gets” the internet?! Yes, it appears so. From Wal-Mart’s Soundcheck we first have an exclusive in-studio performance from Nelly Furtado. Nice. Very nice. (By the way, has anyone else noticed just how much this recording release has been promoted? It’s everywhere I look, it seems.) It appears Wal-Mart is out to sell some music, doesn’t it? It certainly has The Distillery reevaluating its perceptions of the firm that puts mom and pop stores out of business wherever it shows up.

We then travel back to Wal-Mart proper and find its Video Center. (Exxon, it’s time to take notes. This is how PR is done.) And being the All-American company that it is, we are not surprised to find videos supporting U.S. troops, kids, and Wal-Mart’s Teacher of the Year. However, Wal-Mart is more about business than anything else and that explains our finding videos highlighting its distribution centers and its expansion into Asian markets.

One lesson many firms might take from Wal-Mart is the use of video scattered throughout its web site, such as those found on its Environment, Community, and People pages. In fact, relatively few pages are entirely static. What The Distillery sees overall from Wal-Mart is both an understanding of its basic retail roots, but also a vision of its future.

So once again, Exxon (#1 on the Fortune 500 List) take heed of what Wal-Mart is doing. Wal-Mart may be behind you at #2 on the Fortune 500 List, but it is certainly far ahead of you at knowing how to use the internet. Maybe some Exxon marketing execs should pull their heads out of the sand and have a look around.

Wal-Mart store interior

Wal-Mart logo

B.B. (1955-2006)

Wednesday, 21 June 2006; 9:26

Goodbye, B.B., my dear friend. You fought a good fight. How you remained so positive right up to the end escapes me. You will be missed. (Oh, and I’ll be certain to keep an eye on M. for you. You have my promise. He’ll be okay.)

Exxon Mobil

Wednesday, 21 June 2006; 9:19

One little mistake and you are forever damned.* That is the position Exxon Mobil finds itself in many, many years after the Exxon Valdez oil spill (text only). Also, oil companies as a rule are thought to be taking undue advantage of oil supplies and politics as gasoline reaches and exceeds $3.00 per gallon in the U.S.A. Those reasons, and likely several more, are why we see Exxon primarily focusing on public relations in its most immediately accessible online video. However, it is boring. If Exxon is out to win the hearts of customers with that video, it has again run aground.

Looking more closely at Exxon, we uncover a video library that contains no videos! Surely with those decidedly obscene oil revenues and profits, they could have found a few dollars for even a modicum of online rich media content. But then again, maybe they don’t care. After all, fuel is very price inelastic and Exxon may perceive no need for actual end-user promotions. We are going to drive, regardless of what Exxon charges.

Thinking there must be black gold somewhere at the site, we drill deeper and tap into Exxon’s Univation Technologies. There we find little special except for an Options link in the lower-left corner. Click on it to see options for normal vs. full screen views, sound on/off, and even image quality. The last, we assume, is for older and slower computers without the graphics-handling power needed for the very best display quality. That is something not before seen here at The Distillery. But again, if that is designed to restore a still tarnished image, it simply doesn’t work. Exxon Mobil’s corporate image remains very rusty.

Fill'er up!
Exxon Mobile logo

* Who am I to cast stones after initially posting “Mobile” instead of “Mobil?” Exxon, I feel your pain!