MUNICH, Germany -- Suzuki Motor Corp. is promoting what it calls the "world's first interactive movie" to boost sales in Germany.
The short film allows visitors to Suzuki's German Web site to take a virtual test drive in the new Swift small car. The movie features German actress Jessica Franz.
"We are testing the interactive movie for the first time as a marketing tool," says Guido Hannich, Suzuki's marketing manager in Germany. "Our aim is to get more customers to the dealer."
The movie is called The Envelope and is produced by Germany's itvLAB. The company's managing director, Reha Bahar, calls the promotion "the first crossover between a movie and reality."
The Web film engages viewers in a series of bizarre events that involve the mysterious contents of an envelope. The movie's conclusion invites consumers to visit a Suzuki dealership. Attentive viewers will know where to find the missing envelope and claim their prize: a beach towel.
Suzuki will test the film on its German Web site through May. It then will decide whether to launch the interactive movie in other European markets.
General Motors owns 20 percent of Suzuki. The Swift is the key model in Suzuki's ambitious plans for global expansion.
Suzuki projects annual worldwide sales of 250,000 Swifts. Suzuki builds the car in Hungary, Japan, China and India.