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Renault launched its latest TV ad this week, part of a multichannel campaign which also features YouTube videos, websites, print ads, a Facebook group and more... 

Viewers of the TV ad are invited to visit the URL themeganeexperiement.com to find out more. The problem is, depending how users enter this URL or related brand terms, they may not get to the page that Renault wants them to. 

The ad stars a French actor called Claude, who visits the Lancashire village of Gisburn to convince the inhabitants that their lack of 'joie de vivre' is related to the fact that very few people have a Megane. 

When people see a web address on a TV or print ad and decide to act on it, they have a number of possible options: 

  • Enter the full URL into the browser. 
  • Enter the full or partial URL into a search engine. 
  • Search for the keywords in the URL or ad, in this case 'Megane experiment' 
  • Search for the brand name. 
If you type in the full URL, or enter it into Google, you will see a paid search ad which leads you to this video, a longer version of the ad with links to find out more:

megane7

When I saw the ad, I instinctively typed meganeexperiement.com into Google, and this is the results page I found: 

megane3

The top result leads to this page, while the second is Rod Liddle showing his disgust at the ad campaign. Someone else has the domain meganeexperiement.com: 

megane1

Pages like this are also the top results for several variations on 'Megane experiment'. Basically, unless people type the exact URL or 'megane experiment' with a space between the words, they won't see what Renault wants them too.

Even typing 'Megane', which I'm sure plenty of people will do, doesn't lead you to the Megane Experiment site, just the main Renault website. 

When people choose to act on a TV ad, they are more likely to enter brand-related keywords into a search engine rather than go to the trouble of entering the whole URL, so by not owning related domain names, and not buying search ads for all related terms, they are missing out on a number of leads. 

With the costs of creating ads and buying airtime (the one I saw was during the ad break on Channel 4's Location, Location, Location), it seems a waste not to cover all bases and make sure that all related keywords and phrases lead to the correct page. 

Graham Charlton

Published 6 August, 2010 by Graham Charlton

Graham Charlton is the former Editor-in-Chief at Econsultancy. Follow him on Twitter or connect via Linkedin or Google+

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Ben

Firstly - Schoolboy error. You spend how much on a glossy campaign but fail to buy a few extra domains "Just in case".

Secondly - plug the gap with PPC no?

almost 6 years ago

Graham Charlton

Graham Charlton, Editor in Chief at ClickZ Global

There are paid search ads on 'Megane Experiment' and the full URL when typed into Google, but that's it. 

almost 6 years ago

Chris Lake

Chris Lake, CEO at Empirical Proof

More proof that solid planning is needed before hosing millions against the wall. And there I was under the impression that TV ad creatives understood digital these days...

Here's a tip: if your campaign slogan / name / URL is not unique, then you should change it. Especially if the call to action is a web address. Just change it. No biggie. 

Notable too that the microsite is Flash-based, for reasons I cannot fathom, and as such it doesn't work on iPhones or iPads (though it does identify the iPhone and redirects to the Youtube channel, which is ok I guess, if you really want to watch those ads some more).

almost 6 years ago

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Greig Dowling

Who wants a French actor telling them they need to own a Megane to have more 'joi de vivre'?

Who needs joi de vivre when you have England's answer to Las Vegas and the Ribble Valley?

My final thought is that we go to France with Land Rovers and explain if they owned more 'man-cars' they might not be so cowardly.....?

almost 6 years ago

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Robert G

www.renault.co.uk/megane

how hard would that have been? put a prominent piece of creative on the renault homepage and you will catch any stragglers. Want to know how much traffic you generated? check the uplift.

i beggars belief how much money people will spend on this sort of thing and still not get very rudimentary online behaviour right. 

almost 6 years ago

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Julian

For me eConsultancy ranks top for "megane experiment" so you guys aren't helping :) But yes, silly error, should be easy to fix with PPC. 

almost 6 years ago

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Steve Davies

Graham, you beat me to it!  We are due to publish our own review of Renault's campaign over the next few days, now that some of the early campaign deliverables have been released (there has been 3 adverts and 7 short films produced already). 

We run the automotive social media sites; skiddmark.com, skiddplayer.com and skiddnet.com, one of which you show in your second screengrab above.  (we're third on your Google search result - yes, I know we must try harder!)

There's another interesting story behind that listing.  At SkiddPlayer we curate all the best professionally-created videos with an automotive flavour using the combination of an algorithm we've fine-tuned and our industry awareness - we noticed the campaign starting last week but were vexed to discover it did so with 'no' viral content.


So, where we would normally curate and then discuss the content with our readers, we couldn't do so since Renault had not provided the facility to embed the video, instead they wanted to attract visitors to their microsite (not likely when they'd invested very little time in SEO or PPC), so they started on the wrong foot - directing spend to expensive TV slots in advance rather than creating viral awareness and discussion of the campaign beforehand.  Yes another good case example of how to spend a budget wastefully.

We review each of the major automotive campaigns from a social engagement perspective, so will let you know if you’re interested what we find early next week.  We've asked members of our own community for their feedback on the ads and will be monitoring the degree of social sharing, viewing response and other interesting metrics to see if Renault have recovered from a bad start.

One positive piece of news is that the short films produced thus far are genuinely funny and watchable, so the campaign may end up being successful despite the best efforts of its campaign planning team...

You can view all the videos thus far on our Renault TV channel - http://www.skiddplayer.com/category/renault-uk

almost 6 years ago

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Rob Drummond

Stories like this are amazing. It's easy to forget that, unlike me (and many people who read this blog I imagine), most people don't use a computer ten hours a day and things like URLs are unfamiliar. Many, many people turn to Google or another search engine anytime they want to go to a new page. I think it also highlights the importance of simplicity and clarity when dishing out URL's - the old chinese whispers problem means that what people actually type in might be very different!

almost 6 years ago

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Tess Alps

Google have told us that loads of TV ad-generated search is lost or diverted because real people search in rather random ways - for the actor, or the song or the location even - as opposed to the very rational ways we would like them to, and perhaps do ourselves.  Unique URLS generate quite low levels of use.  Most important is that the home page for a basic brand name search has some reference to the TV ad on it (or print/outdoor) so that people recognise they have arrived at the right place.

almost 6 years ago

Graham Charlton

Graham Charlton, Editor in Chief at ClickZ Global

Hi Tess, 

That makes perfect sense, especially when the URL in this case is a long one. 

almost 6 years ago

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Patrick Everard

What would you guys think of displaying a QR code right on TV, like some US channels do during the weather forecast, would this help directing people to the right URL? What percentage of consumers is ready for this?

almost 6 years ago

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Taras

I came here after seeing the ad, trying "meganeexperiment.com", then searching. As someone who works in digital marketing, I then proceeded to fall about laughing. Nice work, Renault!

over 5 years ago

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mharris

turned a car that i thought i liked into a car i wouldn't touch with a barge pole!!

over 5 years ago

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