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.