Battle Of The Brands: Which European Automakers Bare All On YouTube?

August 10, 2010

Yesterday, we launched a little friendly competition: a comparison of automakers' YouTube channels. We were curious to see which qualify as must-see web TV and which ought to be canceled ASAP.

Monday was devoted to U.S. brands, and today, we're moving across the pond for a look at their "European" competitors. We say "European" instead of European because there's room for debate about what qualifies as a Euro brand nowadays -- what with wealthy Asian companies gobbling up their financially unstable Continental colleagues as fast as the "For Sale" signs go up. (HUMMER excluded, natch.) Feel free to debate all those socio-political nuances in the comments below.

Asian and exotic marques will follow tomorrow and Thursday. (Generally, any brand sold in the U.S. is fair game.) Then on Friday, we'll break out the booze and the bottle rockets to announce our grand prize winners. Take just a moment put on your headphones -- out of respect to your cubicle pals -- and follow along.

* * * * *

Aston Martin: //www.youtube.com/user/astonmartin
Total uploads:
9
Total subscribers: 516
Total views: 45,017
Date launched: November 03, 2005
Date range of clips: One week to two months
Like: Clean; easy to navigate
Dislike: Pretty boring for such an exciting brand; only nine clips?; feels slightly underused and abandoned
Most recent clip: "One-77 Episode 4 Teaser Video.mov"

 

Audi: //www.youtube.com/user/AudiofAmerica
Total uploads: 46
Total subscribers: 2, 432
Total views: 1,580,781
Date launched: June 18, 2009
Date range of clips: Twelve hours to one year
Like: Well, it's clean, that's for sure
Dislike: Disabling the "all" button; hiding subscribers in the profile area; that completely uninspired, unbranded design; no header (this is the "official" channel, right?)
Most recent clip: "Audi TT RS - European Spec"

BMW: //www.youtube.com/user/BMW
Total uploads: 356
Total subscribers: 15,911
Total views: 11,998,563
Date launched: August 01, 2009
Date range of clips: Three days to one year
Like: Nice use of header (it links directly to BMW.tv); straightforward
Dislike: There is no joy at all in that layout; zzzzz
Most recent clip: "BMW Art Car. From 1975 to 2010."

 

Jaguar: //www.youtube.com/user/JaguarCarsLimited
Total uploads: 43
Total subscribers: 570
Total views: 587,919
Date launched: January 03, 2007
Date range of clips: Three days to three years
Like: Clean, simple, but with a shade of character, even though it's a little template-ish; nicely curated selection of clips
Dislike: Not much (though you're free to debate whether Jaguar qualifies as "European" anymore)
Most recent clip: "Jaguar & England Cricket"

 

Land Rover: //www.youtube.com/user/landrover
Total uploads: 35
Total subscribers: 257
Total views: 137,013
Date launched: November 12, 2005
Date range of clips: Six days to one year
Like: Pretty header leads us straight to the Land Rover website
Dislike: Pretty header leads us straight to the Land Rover website for BRAZIL; is Land Rover still "European"?
Most recent clip: "Evoque revealed by Victoria Beckham" (Don't you just want to force-feed her bon bons? Or enemy combatants?)

Mercedes-Benz: //www.youtube.com/user/MercedesBenzTV
Total uploads: 247
Total subscribers: 8,456
Total views: 3,550,703
Date launched: November 14, 2008
Date range of clips: Three days to one year
Like: It looks hilariously "Mercedes" -- sleek, elite, no-nonsense; loads of variety
Dislike: Another company that hates the "all" button
Most recent clip: "Mercedes-Benz.tv: MOTOR-TALK.de besucht Mercedes-Benz" (Not in English, obviously.)

 

Mini: //www.youtube.com/user/MINI
Total uploads: 103
Total subscribers: 3,765
Total views: 2,662,870
Date launched: January 01, 2009
Date range of clips: One day to one year
Like: Pretty to look at; nice use of header to drive home advertising
Dislike: Why do people disable the "all" button?
Most recent clip: "MINI at GOODWOOD Festival 2010"

 

Porsche: //www.youtube.com/user/Porsche
Total uploads: 186
Total subscribers: 14,830
Total views: 5,454,293
Date launched: November 24, 2008
Date range of clips: One week to two years
Like: Looks great; super-easy to navigate; diverse array of clips, with some looking professional and others appearing homegrown
Dislike: Not much
Most recent clip: "911 GT3 Cup - Running Up That Hill..." (Pandering to the Kate Bush demographic?)

Saab: //www.youtube.com/user/SaabCarsOfficial
Total uploads: 54
Total subscribers: 813
Total views: 869,384
Date launched: January 30, 2009
Date range of clips: Two weeks to one year
Like: Lots of great footage of the company and its people; one particularly good vintage ad
Dislike: Less than you might expect to see about the actual cars
Most recent clip: "Saab Festival Dinner 2010 part 16 of 16" (It's as fascinating as it sounds.)

 

Smart: //www.youtube.com/user/smart
Total uploads: 84
Total subscribers: 253
Total views: 71,907
Date launched: October 06, 2005
Date range of clips: Four days to one year
Like: Great background image; looks dynamic and cool
Dislike: Why hide the number of subscribers from the sidebar?
Most recent clip: "smart. studio. Berlin - Music Pan Pot Part 1" (You couldn't tell from the title, but it's in English.)

Volkswagen: //www.youtube.com/user/volkswagen
Total uploads: 126
Total subscribers: 1,714
Total views: 1,860,012
Date launched: November 14, 2005
Date range of clips: One week to one year
Like: Very clean design -- just enough to give it some minimal flavor (you can almost hear the Kraftwerk)
Dislike: That Punch-Dub campaign; the missing "Shoot the Gap" ad
Most recent clip: "Ike Opara's tips for young players"

 

Volvo: //www.youtube.com/user/VolvoCarsNews
Total uploads: 135
Total subscribers: 2,409
Total views: 2,106,516
Date launched: August 11, 2008
Date range of clips: Two weeks to two years
Like: Easy to navigate; bare-bones and basic
Dislike: Bare-bones and basic is awfully close to bland; more than Jaguar or Land Rover, Volvo might be a better fit in tomorrow's list of Asian brands
Most recent clip: "New Volvo S60 Naughty Experiment" (Which is slightly naughtier than the first clips from that campaign.)

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