Thursday, 24 January 2013



In my dissertation I intend to look into alternative methods of automobile advertisement. My starting point will be researching theories about consumer buyer behaviour and investigate further what people look for when buying expensive things. My research will continue on traditional automobile adverts including a look into their history, to see how effective these are and what kind of impact they leave on people. Then, I shall put aside the traditional methods of advertisement and focus on alternative ones. I will be looking at a range of interactive adverts, installations or events that automobile companies have set up and investigate wether these were effective or not through email interviews with the companies themselves. 


Looking at automobile advertisement in Malta, I am quite disappointed at the lack of creativity there is, especially when it comes to guerrilla and interactive methods. Changing the message that an advert delivers is important however in today's world it's not enough, so we also need to change the method we deliver it in.

Related Research

I have started to look for articles and books that relate to the problem I intend to investigate in my dissertation. Other authors have come up with interesting marketing theories to explain how people react when buying expensive items. This will help me better understand the consumers' buyer behaviour. I have found articles such as "What do women want in a car" (Automotive Peoples choice, Joanne Helperin) which said that apart from safety in a car, acceleration and handling are also important to women. I have already found articles on various interactive installations that international automobile companies had set up, which explain the effects that the installations have had on people. With regards to traditional media, I have found a study that reveals traditional media is more effective that digital media (Yankelovich, Inc) and others which explain that slowly, traditional media has been replaced with alternative methods.

A book that is relevant for my research is "Driving It Home - 100 years of car advertising" by Judy Vaknin. Its chapters explain the history of car advertising and also the history of how the psychology of car consumer buyer behaviour changed throughout the years.

Other articles that relate to automobile alternative methods state that the automotive industry in 2000 spent more than $50 billion on marketing. Auto manufacturers also spend money in interactive, although less so in media than in website development. (Jim Meskauskas, July 2002)

The following is a list of interactive / alternative methods international automobile companies have used to market their cars. I am already sending out emails to these international companies to ask them how effective these advertising events were.

The Invisible Car by Mercedes Benz

Key to Viano by Mercedes Benz

A window into the near future by BMW

Get your energy back by Toyota


I will be testing my hypothesis through the final project itself. The dissertation would help me towards setting up an interactive installation to promote a company's product; a motorcycle. The company is still at a very early stage in Malta, therefore I would like to push it forward through the installation I will be setting up in a public space. Advertising this company in an alternative method will help me gather results on how effective this installation and method was through a case study. My main approach is to investigate what is really effective; traditional media or alternative methods?


At the end of my project I will have a detailed dissertation focused on alternative methods of automobile advertisement as opposed to traditional media, that leads to the final project being the interactive motorcycle installation. The installation shall be set up in the first international standard shopping complex in Malta namely; Tigne Point. This complex is Malta's most accessible shopping destination with a retail mix that meets all customer needs and wants. This will be a great asset to my project as it can create a visceral and reflective effect.

I am therefore planning to root the aforementioned installation on the last week of April 2013. The motorcycle installation shall be aided with micro-sensors that will be triggered by passersby, which in turn would generate movement of the motorcycle's fairing. Primarily, the idea of the fairing movement was to impersonate a ladybird - a sassy, fast and robust insect (which are also the motorcycle characteristics that I would like to promote), however this shall be subject to further investigation as part of my thesis dissertation.

A video of people interacting with the installation will also be produces at the end of the project. The video will be used for further advertisement for the company, which can be shared on Facebook and YouTube for viral marketing.


After the installation is done, I intend to gather results on how effective the installation was. This information can be gathered through questionnaires to those who have seen the installation in place and also by observing the people during the installation.

Work done so far

Having a clear idea of how to structure my dissertation, I have already started researching theories about consumer buyer behaviour. Books that I will be using for my literature review regarding consumer buyer behaviour are definitely "Principles of Marketing" by Kotler and Armstrong and "Emotional Design" by Donald A. Norman.

Furthermore, I have also set up interviews with local automobile marketing managers to study how they market their products, the method of advertisement they use and also people's reactions when buying a car. In addition, I am also sending out interviews via emails to international companies, to examine certain interactive events they have set up to advertise their automobiles. The questions I am asking are;

1. What is the customer response to interactive advertisements, as opposed to traditional?
2. To what extent do your interactive advertisements affect your sales?

Moreover, I am researching various interactive adverts that automobile companies have set up, and articles about the installations itself, and it's effectiveness. An important limitation that I am considering is that the motorcycle will not turn out to be as I expected it. Another limitation that concerns the dissertation is that international automobile companies might not reply to any of my emails, which will effect my findings.

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