November 17, 2009 11:50 p.m. ET
Since I am taking part in this contest, I have decided to blog any changes in my POV as the contest progresses. All of my updates will be below the original posting, with the date & time stampped.
November 22, 2009 3:30 p.m. ET
Complete and final thoughts on everything, including some re-evaluations of original ideas.
SCROLL down for all of my finals thoughts, hints on the phases and more/new images.
Original post below:-
Have you ever seen something that seemed really cool, but it really made you cringe, then quickly say to yourself, “WTF?”
That was me recently when I read about Volvo’s “What Drives Edward Cullen” campaign aimed at Gen-Y.
This super advertising blunder seriously makes me laugh and ask myself, “What were they thinking?”
This is because the majority of the Twilight audience cannot drive.
No, I’m not immune to the Cullen. On the contrary, Cedric Diggory reincarnated as a sexy vampire, played by an actor in my age group, is quite fine by me. So don’t get me wrong, a snazzy vampire who sparkles in the sun marketing one of the world’s safest cars is stellar…except, I’m not a 14-year old in lust with a vampire.
If you enter the contest, you can win some New Moon tickets or even better a Volvo XC60, just like Edward drives in New Moon! *yay!*
But here’s where the contest ceases to make sense to me:-
Volvo is slimming down their chances of participation because of their Phases of the Moon scenario.
Basically, every couple of days, after you enter and register, you have to log back into Volvo and complete two pieces of their Phases of the Moon challenge. This means remembering to log in on various days, on various weeks and most of all you have to KNOW information to win.
Can’t be that hard right? Well, think again because that’s a matter of perception.
For example, one of the first of the two Moon Phase challenges required users to put stills from the New Moon trailer in correct order: a) You either watch the trailer and do it in two separate windows on your computer screen or b) you know it by memory.
The second was reciting a few lines from Romeo & Juliet in correct order.
How many people do you really think are going to sit down and do that?
Adults for sure. Anyone over the age of 18, most likely. But again — we have a target audience issue here. Furthermore, of those who could sit down and take on these challenges, how many capable, driving adults do you think actually would?
So, yes, while Volvo is one of the safest brands of vehicles in the world, who is probably trying their hand at Twilight to exploit it’s fan base and get a piece of the vampy pie, they are going about it all wrong.
Even so, let’s just say, the aim of the Volvo Edward Cullen campaign is to show that Volvo has reinvented itself into an edgy brand, full of excitement and danger. I’d really like to know when having a dangerous, edgy car, that could possibly kill you, was considered a good thing? Especially, to parents of young adults?
Isn’t that one reputation, if you were a car company, you would want to keep? i.e) Being one of the safest brands in the world?
Now if we were going for sexy — like say the Aston Martin DBS V12 in a deeper shade of slate — that would be another story…
If I were the Director of Communications or Marketing for Volvo and I had this little project jump in my plate I would:-
- Give out exclusive New Moon t-shirts
- Signed copies of the soundtrack
- Invite the winner of the challenge to go on a test ride with the cast members
- Put together a joint giveaway with DuWop (and their Twilight lip venom stain) or Mattel (Edward Cullen and Bella Swan Barbie and Ken Dolls have been out since the summer, hello!)
- Target the parents different than their Twilight kids
The list can go on and on. But, YES, somewhere in there, I too, would give away a car…
…except my main focus for advertising wouldn’t be a target audience who isn’t allowed to drive yet.
UPDATE: November 17, 2009 11:50 p.m. ET
Alright, so I’ve re-examined my thoughts on this, now that it’s been nearly three weeks.
A few things:-
I DO NOT think this is aimed at anyone under the age of 17.
- The challenges are too tedious and time consuming. Especially, phase 3 and 4. Phase 3 was basically you, as Bella, trying to navigate yourself through a sea of monks to get to Edward, under a time limit, before he vanishes into sparkling smoke. It’s not hard, but tedious and time consuming, yes.
- There is no way a 13-year old is going to sit down and make it through Phase 4 without help.
- Phase 4 included a Volvo oriented challenge, where basically anyone who knows about Volvo, and pays attention to brand, will stand a shot at passing it. Otherwise, tough luck.
Therefore, this has to be aimed at teenagers and adults. People who a) have the patience to sit down and go through the challenges and b) people who will want to sit down and go through them. Especially, Phase 3. There is no “help.” You either make it through the maze or you don’t. However, you do have unlimited tries. That is in your favor.
That is, it will give you instructions — Phase 5, flat out tells you that it isn’t going to help you. You either know what you’re doing or you don’t.
Phase 5 WILL make you think. My advice (as someone who is participating in contest) KNOW your Twilight Saga tidbits. Not simple stuff, like where Forks is located. I’m talking real stuff, like what is inside of where Forks is located.
However that being said, in my opinion, the campaign still looks like it’s marketed to kids.
- For all of the reasons I mentioned above.
- Again, no differentiation between — I’m old enough to win and drive a car — and — *yay!* free movie tix for me an my girlies!
(You can order your own 3-D poster here, btw)
Update no.2 – November 22, 2009 3:30 p.m. ET
If you make it past Phase 6 during the first few hours before the answers to cheat appear online, you better win something. At this point, you would deserve it. Period.
Wow, I have a lot to update you guys on and a lot of information to share.
I’m going to bullet point them all and offer final conclusions as well.
Below are the challenges. I don’t mind giving you hints now, because you can’t win at this point. You can only do the challenges for fun.
- Phase 1 & Phase 2
These are the opening two phases and it was during this time that the original (top) of this post was written. These challenges were very childish and very easy because:-
Phase 1 involved you putting the trailer of New Moon back together again. I mean it isn’t hard. You just need to watch it a few times and that’s it. You’re done. Volvo even helps you — the trailer is ON the “What Drives Edward” site from Volvo.
Then you have to take lines fromÂ Romeo & Juliet and put them in order.
HINT for Part 2: It’s the lines from where Romeo gets poison from The Merchant.
Phase 2 isn’t bad either. All you need to do is fill out a simple puzzle. You had to put a shattered glass table back together again.
HINT: Work backwards. Start with the Cullen crest and then continue.
- Phase 3 & Phase 4
These weren’t so bad either, but they were definitely a warm-up in comparison to what you faced later on in the challenges. This is where I started re-evaluating how I felt about the challenges for this campaign.
Phase 3 was just tedious. Basically, you have to navigate Bella, using the arrows on your keyboard, through a maze of monks in the city of Volterra by the fountain. You have to lead Bella to Edward, under a time limit, before he disappears into sparkles. I was also using the latest version of FireFox, to my understanding, people using other browsers had a hell of a difficult time. I’m not sure why. But I got through this relatively easily.
HINT: There is no direct path. Take Bella around the entire courtyard.
Phase 4 was basically a Volvo XC60 test. You had to know what were the most popular user-voted features…in order by preference. The most popular at the top, least at the bottom. Again, check out the Volvo website. They’re practically giving you the answers for this one.
- Phase 5 & Phase 6
These were the hardest and most difficult.
Phase 5, like I said above, it’s not enough to know where Forks, Washington is. It’s more important to know what’s inside, geographically (aka a map), of Forks, Washington. Once you understood that part, the rest was easy. You had to really look at the images presented on the screen carefully then venture over to the stuff Stephenie Meyer has provided of what Forks looks like.
If you made it past Phase 6 on November 22 within the first few hours of the contest going live, meaning you didn’t have the chance to ‘cheat’ by going online and Googling the answers (they weren’t online yet,) dudes and dudettes, you better win something because Phase 6 is damn hard.
I would know. I spent two and a half hours fighting with it.
I went on a Twilight-Wiki in order to familiarize myself more with anything and everything Edward Cullen that would make Phase 6 make an inkling of sense.
Part one of Phase 6, was easy but it took a bit of trial and error. I suggest you do what I did and write down all the letters that you see on the screen in the ‘maze.’ Then make different Twilight related words, such as character names with them. This includes the Volturi.
HINT for Part One: It’s the name of a member of the Volturi (Michael Sheen plays him.) Move the monks in red, with the arrow keys on your keyboard, over the letters of that specific members name.
HINT for Part Two: This will require Google. Edward may have been born in 1901 in Chicago, Illinois. But he was turned into a vampire during the Spanish Influenza in this year, in Chicago. Just remember the name of the film is New Moon and that in each time zone: dates and times are different.
Final Thoughts & Suggestions:-
Giving away a car is not enough. Period.
If I was one of those people who sat down and entered this competition to win something and Volvo put me through the ringer in Phases 4, 5 and 6 — which they did, and which I was — I would be livid if I didn’t win anything…good.
Movie tickets are not going to cut it this time. My local movie cinema was giving those away. Heck, all those moments of my time that I spent trying to figure out Phase 6, especially, is worth more than a pair of lousy movie tickets.
Suggested prizes, besides 1 car, would be:-
- Giving away 2 or 3 cars (aka more than one person gets a car.)
- Signed, collectible and valuable New Moon gear. (I don’t know, something recognizable from the movie set?)
- A chance to meet cast members. (Though, I know some girls would consider this a grand prize. For me, I want the car!)
- $100 American Express Gift Cards (maybe about 30 of these in total.)
- All four Twilight-sage books, hardcover, signed by Stephenie Meyer.
- New Moon hardcover books signed by Pattinson, Stewart, Lautner and other members of the cast of New Moon.
Volvo, don’t be cheap. I know you are a car company with money, so my prize list of suggestions are completely viable.
Also the fact that THIS:-
“To win the Volvo XC60, you must be the FIRST person to complete all of the phases and the final puzzle. Good luck and may speed be on your side!”
… is the requirement to WIN the car — that just plainly SUCKS, for lack of a better description.
So basically, what Volvo is telling me, is that only one person gets a decent prize? Everyone else gets t-shirts and movie tickets?
- What the hell were these people thinking?
I’m a firm believer that the people who came up with this campaign are either a group of idiots or a group of sadists because nothing makes sense to me.
Now don’t take this the wrong way, because I haven’t actually spent the time to figure out which agencies were hired for this, but this was the worst.
Like I keep saying, the whole campaign, the advertisements to play it (above), the look and the feel, just everything screams “TWEENS” to me.
But that’s not the case.
There is no way in hell freezing over the Phases of the Moon are for tweens. While, they start out easy and childish, they eventually become tedious, then ridiculous, then damn near impossible to figure out. Unless you are a critical thinker — there is no way you are gettingÂ through Phases 4, 5 and 6 on your own.
These challenges are designed to make you think and use your Twilight knowledge.
- Advertising: How does it look?
I still say, that if I didn’t know anything about this campaign and saw it from scratch with brand new eyes, it looks like it’s aimed at Gen-Y tweens. That’s it. I mean there is nothing that screams Soccer Moms, College students or Adults anywhere on the main page, the advertisements — nothing.
- Advertising: Does it still seem that way, now?
Absolutely not. I mean once I started playing “What Drives Edward Cullen” from start to finish, I quickly realized that there is no way that this is aimed at a tween. It can’t be.
The reason is, that even though, at the very beginning the challenges were childish, once you move into Phase 3, the challenges because thought provoking, tedious (still) and often difficult.
- Prizes: Is it worth it?
At the end of the day, was “What Drives Edward Cullen” a good idea? YES.
Was “What Drives Edward Cullen” executed properly? And by properly, I mean, executed in a way that makes sense for it’s intended audience? YES.
What about for it’s apparent audience? NO.
(*Intended = Adults; Apparent = Tweens)
Is it worth it just to get a car? 50/50
To win a car? Hell yes. To win a bunch of movie tickets? Abso-freakin-loutely NOT. It would be a complete waste of your time, energy and peace of mind. If you go to the Yahoo! Forums or Twitter, you’ll see quite a few people cursing at Phase 6.
Why? Because it’s tedious and difficult and the last two phases were the WORST. If my Sunday wasn’t slow where I wouldn’t have had the time to do Phase 6, there was NO way I could have stood a chance at getting past Phase 6 to WIN. Period.
Re: the comments of this post:-
Was this an innovative campaign by Volvo? No, because the challenges got crazy towards the end and half the time gave absolutely no distinct set of instructions. One challenge in particular, Phase 5, had no instructions. It basically said, “No help here.” That’s convoluted and wrong on so many levels, I don’t care who your audience is.
Volvo, I’m sorry to tell you this, but your audience isn’t ONLY the members of MENSA and someone, somewhere should have recognized that from the beginning.
If you were an active participant, i.e.) you played to WIN, in the “What Drives Edward Cullen” contest for the past few weeks, what did you think?
Sasha Muradali runs the â€˜Little Pink Bookâ€™ . She holds a B.S. in Public Relations from the University of Florida (â€™07) and an M.A. in International Administration from the University of Miami(â€™08). She loves Twitter and all things social media, so you should find her @SashaHalima or get a copy of the â€˜Little Pink Bookâ€™ delivered to your Kindle.