Best of California Best of California Best of California

Monday, November 29, 2010

Social Media and the New Rules of Branding for Car Dealers

An Unlikely Partnership

When the California Lincoln Dealers asked us to help launch their 2011 Lincoln MKX, I was excited. But when they approved our concept, I was thrilled! The basic formula: road trip through California with bi-lingual actress/model Vane Millon, connecting with dozens of unique local businesses. The twist? An unlikely partnership with one of my favorite YouTube pranksters, Jack Vale. Known for outrageous “pooter”, “ugly face” and “old man” pranks, it was an unlikely partnership, to say the least. But the real challenges lay ahead. Could we successfully prank Vane, while filming our more "traditional" road trip? If so, how were we going to do it? Could we keep it secret? And if so, for how long?

Here's the trailer that we recently launched, teasing the campaign. Her reaction at the end was priceless. Based on her reaction, I'd say we successfully pranked her.

The first "tricky part": Jack, meet Vane
To kick things off, we decided to position Jack as the winner of a mock Facebook Sweeps in which one lucky Sacramento fan was awarded a single city ride-along with Vane. Posing as an ordinary fan (and calling himself Jack Sutton), we accomplished step one of the prank, without a doubt. Vane bought it. And we made the introduction on the first leg of our journey.

Um...Why are you making that face?!
“Don’t worry, it’s gonna be really routine,” I reassured Vane. “Just tell Jack a little bit about Sync, MyLincoln Touch and maybe throw in something about the heated and cooled seats, and we’ll be off to the next stop.” The crew and I exited stage left, pretending to set up for the next scene and left her with Jack. The "routine" demo turned out to be anything but. I can't give away too much, as we're still rolling out the webisodes, but heres a quick snippet that Jack just posted on his YouTube Channel. Pretty priceless reactions.

Ringside Seats
If you want ring side seats to the whole thing as it rolls out, feel free to visit, like and subscribe the following pages. Also, I’ll be updating the blog as it rolls out.

Just Launched - Webisode #2 - San Francisco

California Lincoln Facebook Page
California Lincoln YouTube Channel

Best of California Facebook Page

Saturday, October 2, 2010

"Best of California" Team Hits the Road in the new 2011 Lincoln MKX

Last week, on September 27, 2010, we kicked off our 2011 Lincoln MKX-sponsored "Best of California" Road trip. What an amazing first week. Covering Sacramento, San Francisco and Monterey in only 4 days was a blast! And as you can imagine, we're gonna need some time to sift through the photos and video. But for some of you, I'm getting ahead of myself...

Quick Recap of Our Mission
As many of you know, The California Lincoln Dealers handed Actress/Model Vane Millon and I a 2011 Lincoln MKX, tasking us with the challenge of generating some local buzz and interest in their amazing new luxury cross-over SUV. I'm the "Product Specialist", she's the beautiful and sophisticated (but very approachable) model. Pretty straight forward.

To get things started, I got trained up by a local California Lincoln Dealer, Vane did some video shout-outs to local businesses on her Best of California Group page, and the California Lincoln dealers helped spread the word by setting up their own pages: Facebook, Youtube and Twitter. Within just a few weeks, local California businesses started chatting it up and reaching out to us! For more info on how it all got started, click here. If you'd like to be a part of the fun, tweet me.

First Stops: Sacramento, San Francisco and Monterey
The first leg of of the trip last week was an absolute whirlwind. Sacramento, San Francisco and Monterey in just four days. Did you see some of our posts and tweets? For those of you who missed them, you can check 'em out here. Vane even got a chance to do her first MKX walk-around in San Francisco! We shot so much incredible footage it's going to be tough to decide what to edit out. And trust me, there were major suprises, too. Here's a quick snippet of our time in Sacramento. You can find a ton more pics and even some videos on Vane's group page, as well.

As for San Francisco, it was just as wild. Went by in an absolute blur. Here's just a few out-takes and snippets from behind the scenes in San Francisco. Like I said, we had some surprises there, too. But then again, when does a road trip ever go exactly like planned?

Then it was on to Monterey, where by now, we were grateful for some R&R in one of the most beautiful spots in all of California. The camera crew, a little slap-happy, also took a quick time-out to show how NOT to activate the MKX's Blind Spot Information System (that's the little orange light that illuminates on your side mirror when there's a car in your blindspot.) Here's how it really works. :) Below is how our camera men tried to activate it.

So, Where to Next?
The Best of California team will be jumping into action (and into the 2011 Lincoln MKX) and heading out to the following hots spots during the dates, below:

Palm Springs – 10/13 & 10/14
Los Angeles – 10/19 & 10/20
San Diego – 10/21/10 & 10/22/10

Wanna be a part of it? Think you've got a Best of Cali Business or Destination?
If you're interested in us highlighting your business, drop us a line on our Facebook page, or you can Tweet me or Tweet Vane, as we've still got room for someone who thinks they've got a "Best of Cali" business!

Either way, make sure you don't miss all the updates by "liking" our Facebook page, Vane's Best of Cali Group Page, Lincoln's Youtube Channel or even Lincoln's Twitter Account!

That's it for now! I gotta get some rest. See you on the road,

Scott Empringham
Tweet Me

P.S. Oh, yeah. If you were wondering what Vane's favorite color was? Here you go. :)

Friday, September 24, 2010

Sacramento Will Fall in Love With the 2011 Lincoln MKX

Bon Voyage! I Leave for Sacramento on Monday!

It’s finally here! I'm packing my bags this weekend to hit the road for the 2011 Lincoln MKX Best of California Road Trip, kicking off Monday, September 27.

I can’t wait to venture around the Golden State with my fellow roadie model/actress Vane Millon! I am so excited! Are you ready Vane? Sounds like it based on your recent vlog!! 

The best news of all is I am not only excited, but I am also totally prepared!

First, Cerritos Ford Lincoln Mercury kindly taught me all about new 2011 Lincoln MKX! I was absolutely impressed by the vehicle. The MyTouch system is completely state of the art. Plus, the heated steering wheel is a nice luxury that will be great on some of the cool California nights. Not to mention I LOVE the 10,000 mile/1 year service interval! No service for 10k miles?! Now that’s engineering.

Plus, thanks to Auffenberg Motors who awarded me a Certificate of Completion! Makes it official!

Second, I’ve made my list of items to pack.

• Toothbrush (Note to fellow roadies: please don’t forget your toothbrush!)
• Clothes (I’ll be on camera and black or blue will enhance my features.)
• iPod (Need some tunes so we cam jam.)
• Snacks (Healthy ones preferred.)
• Sunglasses (Is it vain if I pack more than one pair?)

Any other suggestions?

Ok, time to get some rest! We have Sacramento, San Francisco and Monterey all next week!

Our itinerary and inside scoop about Sacramento is below so you can join us:

• Monday 7pm-9:30pm: We’ll be at the Delta King riverboat in Downtown Old Sacramento. This historical riverboat boasts a AAA three diamond hotel, two restaurants, a wine school and an interactive dinner theatre. “So many people appreciate its historical significance. It is a historical vessel that is still being utilized today,” says Charlie Coyne, General Manager of the Delta King. Here the 2011 Lincoln MKX will get the royal treatment with valet service, and we will enjoy a sunset dinner, cocktails and a good night’s sleep. Coyne recommends the duck breast, lamb and scallops for dinner and reports, “These are all fresh local organic products.” I’m getting hungry just thinking about it!

• Tuesday 9:30am-11:30am: We head to Gunther’s Ice Cream in Old Town Sacramento. Gunther’s was established in 1940 and boasts their number one sellers of Oreo Cookie, Mint Cookie and Birthday Cake ice cream. Apparently this shop has quite a reputation as one Sacramento resident states on Gunther’s Facebook page, “I have to say it was the best ice cream I have ever had in my life.” My mouth is watering just thinking about it!

• Tuesday 1:30pm-4:30pm: The Best of California roadies and I travel to Roseville, CA to John’s Incredible Pizza. Here we will experience cooking, dancing, eating, and probably act like children. There is a scheduled “ Incredibear Boogie Dance Contest” for us (good thing I trained at Londance) that will be posted on YouTube.

The Delta King, Gunther’s Ice Cream, and John’s Incredible Pizza, along with other businesses in Lincoln’s Best of California Road Trip, are in the running to be awarded the Best of California business, as voted by their fans on the California Lincoln Mercury Facebook page. Don’t forget to vote! The winner will be announced at the San Diego stop of the Best of California tour.

Oh, and I totally forgot to mention, a native Sacramento mystery guest will be joining us! He/she will be announced on Tuesday, which will be a fun surprise!

I hope all of you will be joining us in Sacramento at the locations. See you Monday!

Monday, September 6, 2010

Lon-Dancing with Vane Millon

The 2011 Lincoln MKX, Londance and Dancing With Vane

So, really...who wouldn't want this assignment? Take a break from the daily grind at Flash Point and head on down to Londance Studios in Laguna Niguel, CA, to do a quick Salsa Rehearsal with Actress/Model Vane Millon?

The assignment: Prepare for the upcoming 2011 Lincoln MKX "Best of California Road Trip". All I've gotta do is a) learn a little about the 2011 Lincoln MKX, take a few pictures of Vane learning to dance and that's it. Not a bad gig.

Who Knew Salsa Would Get so Heated?
I guess I should have seen it coming. Once Vane entered the studio and stepped onto the dance floor with European Champion Jason Daly, things started to heat up. First, Jason demonstrated some of the basics with World Champion, Yana Blinova. Then, it was Vane's turn. With only two weeks to prepare, Jason was all business. After only a few minutes, the place started to come alive. Music started pumping, Jason and Vane started dancing and somehow, things got a little out of hand. I guess you get two competitive people in the room together and "stuff happens". Here's a clip.

The Cool Down
Once the rehearsals were over, it was time to cool off. Thankfully, Sherryl Brightwell, a representative of the California Lincoln Mercury Dealers, was there to get the AC going and walk everyone through the very cool features of the '11 MKX - "My Touch", "Sync", "Hands free calling", "Blind Spot Integration System", "Rear Park Assist" and tons more. There were so many cool features, I honestly only remember a hand-full. How could this be better than dancing with Yana, you ask? If you saw me dance, or her poor feet when I was done, you'd know.

Now, Vane Turns Her Attention to Sacramento
Offering a quick shout out to Best of Cali fans, Vane nailed it in one take (ok, two) -- also offering a surprise, inviting one lucky Sacramento resident for a ride-along. The first, in English. The second, in Espanol!

Behind the Scenes, Out-takes and More
Not that I was complaining...but somehow I got pulled into the mix. World Champion Yana Blinova was a fantastic teacher, beautiful and best of all (for me), patient. Here's a link to some behind the scenes shots:

Also, here's the entry video from Londance Owner, Patricia West that got it all started with Londance! Thank you for your entry Patricia!

Special thanks to the folks at Londance for opening up their studio.

P.S. Yana, thinks I got what it takes. :)

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Road Trip Music

On a run this morning, I was doing some more thinking about the upcoming Best of California Road Trip. Specifically, I was thinking about the music. And I remembered that Lincoln was recently the sponsor of the Doheny Blues Festival and San Jose Jazz Festival.

Some amazing artists played...

Otis Taylor doing some Hendrix

Black Crows playing one of my favorites, Remedy

Short story? I think I found my type of music for the road. Downloading to my iPod this weekend and next. Vane...I'm hoping you like Jazz and Blues. :)

Friday, August 27, 2010

2011 Lincoln MKX Best of Califorina Road Trip: The Right Music Will Make all the Difference

So, with only a few weeks until we kick off the "Best of California" Road Trip, I got to wondering about music. It's been a while since I took a real road trip, but I do remember that's one of the coolest parts. Having the right tunes on my mp3 player.

So I asked my Producer to pull some music from one of our recent battle of the bands submissions and here's what he came up with (in no particluar order). These are his top few picks. I'll take any suggestions. If you've got any favorites, let me know.

Common Sense

The Shannon Boshears Band

Perry Acker

Life After Mary

Anybody have any good suggestions for Road Trip music?

Thursday, August 26, 2010

2011 Lincoln MKX iPad Give-away Winners

Yesterday was a fun day. It just was. How often do you get to have a mock press conference and award an iPad to two people who are ... just stoked? Me? I haven't had the chance all that many times. In fact, this was a first.

Here's the mock press conference we gave to announce the winners (a couple days ago)...only to pull out at the last minute and leave everyone hanging a little.

While there were 5 people that delivered a TON of fans to the California Lincoln Facebook page, it was Tiffany Diaz and Maryangee Cano that delivered the most. Almost 700 fans between the two of them.

Here's the final press release where we announced the winners, the following day.

And finally, the acceptance speaches. First, from Maryangee who won the Give-away, delivering over 340 fans.

Next, was Tiffany Diaz's speach--who also dazzled us with her Spanish. Tiffany delivered more than 200 fans.

Congratulations to both Maryangee and Tiffany. I look forward to meeting you both on the road!

Oh yeah, and the video that started it all? Here's Vane Millon, doing her thing in English and Spanish. This was shot on the boardwalk on Venice Beach. She's an amazing talent, a blast to work with and is a GREAT sport!

Three Weeks Away

This should be interesting. Very interesting. Selected to appear in a "Best of California" Road Trip with Actress and Model Vane Millon, I'll be offered the chance of a lifetime. To Road Trip through Califorina, experiencing the best California has to offer. The best places to start your day, spend your afternoons, grab lunch, city centers, restaurants and hotels.

This is Vane (pronounced Vonay) and some of her friends. She's the one I'll be going with.

This is is the 2011 Lincoln MKX (and Sherryl, from Lincoln)'s the car I'll be going in.

So, with only 3 weeks to go, until the trip, there's an ubelievable amount to do. On the docket? Sacramento, San Francisco, Monterey, Los Angeles, Palm Springs and San Diego.