Subaru Canada turns on national digital signage network in dealerships
October 13, 2011 by Dave Haynes
I just leased a Subaru Forester (quite a revelation – a crossover vehicle with no blind spots!) and I did notice, off at the service counter, a digital signage network of some kind running content.
It looked reasonably good (though cinema format video in 16:9 screens). But the process of leasing the vehicle and driving off the lot was so miraculously quick I never really had time to give it more than a glance.
Turns out, it is part of a national network called Subaru.TV.
Subaru Canada has deployed a customer-facing network across its national dealer group, putting in Sharp screens, Dell boxes and Scala software, as spec’d out by a Vancouver integrator, 10net Managed Solutions.
Subaru.TV, says the Japanese automaker, is a collection of content developed or carefully selected by Subaru Canada to improve the brand identity and shopping experience while explaining the many products and services provided. This endeavor ensures that customers will be engaged and entertained rather than distracted by the random content and competitor advertising available on regular television.
While many individual dealers or dealer groups have some form of digital signage in place, Subaru is among the first manufacturers in Canada to pioneer digital signage on a national level and has spent the past year sourcing or developing enough 1080p high-definition content to make this experience unique.
The rollout started in May and includes dealers in both English and French parts of the country. In a nice twist, dealers that run a particular service department software package (Aristo) can display the status of vehicles for people waiting for oil changes and other maintenance.
Two-thirds of the 80-plus dealer rollout is already completed.
“We didn’t want this to be another boring menu-board style deployment cycling through advertising specials and promotions,” said George Hamin, Director of eBusiness and Information Systems. “We wanted to make this seem like network television… just without the competitor advertising.”
With this in mind, Subaru is in discussions to secure nationally syndicated content like news and sports.
One word on that last bit about content: NO!!!
Selling and reinforcing the sex appeal and excitement of new vehicles, or the durability and safety. As boring as service department specials may be, I’d have them on there and just spend the money to make them look good and fit with the high production value creative.
I would not — no way, no how — put news and sports on there, or weather (which you just know is being considered). That stuff is extraneous and pointless in a car dealership. The screens should be there to help sell cars and all the extra stuff, like services and warranties, that make real money for the car guys.
Happy to see a big automaker putting in the dollars and making some good first steps. Now all they have to do is resist the temptation to feed the content beast with useless programming.