Tag Archives: TBWA

March Marketing Madness: Nissan, Chevy, Dodge

Nissan’s Snowy Deja Vu
  It’s certainly been a winter for record-breaking snow and nasty weather. So maybe it’s no surprise that Nissan used a snowy street scene with snowmen for a TV commercial to launch its redesigned 2014 Rogue.
The spot, which aired first in Canada and then in the USA touts the all-wheel-drive of the new Rogue compact SUV. TBWA created the commercial, dubbed “Winter Warrior.” Both the :60 and :30 versions show evil snowmen attacking a Rogue driver on a snowy street. The production resembles a thrilling movie chase scene. The motorist manages to escape, naturally, because of the AWD system.
Have a look if you haven’t seen it yet


It is a pretty fun spot that shows off the Rogue’s drivability on snow-covered roads and cleverly sneaks in its three-row seating.
The only problem is that this commercial is so VERY similar to one American Suzuki had a few years back for the all-wheel-drive version of its Kizashi sport sedan. Suzuki’s commercial, called Wicked Weather,” ran in 14 key US markets during the Super Bowl in 2011. So it got pretty good exposure. And it ran tons of other times before and after the Big Game. Even Suzuki’s snowmen, created by Siltanen & Partners, look an awfully lot like Nissan’s.
Judge for yourself

TBWA creatives could have dreamed this one up on their own. Or could it be that somewhere in the back of their brain’s memory file there was a glint recalling an ad with snowmen attacking a car with AWD?
Coincidence? We may never know, but you have to admit the executions are very, very close.
American Suzuki Motor Corp. isn’t likely to make much of a ruckus. The automaker is phasing out its car sales operations here in Chapter 11 bankruptcy court.
Chevy’s Crazy Kids
Speaking of coincidences, a Chevrolet Cruze commercial is getting lots of attention- in a good way. The spot, called “Speed Chaser,” for the Cruze broke during the Academy Awards broadcast and was made for a mere $4,000.
The :60 spot was created by South independent Korean filmmaker Jude Chun, who bested 72 other submissions from around the world in Chevy’s MOFILM , a global community of indie filmmakers. It shows children making the commercial, using props and special effects. The ad has a written on-screen disclaimer: “Children should not play in or around vehicles.” That was probably added by GM lawyers.
In one scene, one of the kids uses his hands to flip over a model-size Cruze, much to the dismay of a young female back-seat passenger. Have a peek

Many ads with cute children are well received with viewers and this one is no different. But Chevy got into big hot water in 2004 for a slick Corvette commercial that broke during the Summer Olympics. Called “A Boy’s Dream,” it showed a young boy putting the sports car through its paces, even taking the Vette airborn as a young girl behind the wheel of another Vette passes him in mid-air going in the other direction. It only ran once. General Motors quickly buckled under pressure from safety and advocacy groups afraid young kids would try to drive their parents’ cars like banchees.
It was a mistake in my mind to pull the ad from Campbell-Ewald in Warren, Michigan because it was clearly a dream sequence. If your kid doesn’t know the difference between reality and dreams you have bigger problems than this commercial.

Yes, this ad also had a written, on-screen disclaimer:  “This is a dream. Do not drive without a license. Obey all traffic laws.”
What a difference a decade makes, eh?
Dodge’s New Celeb Mouth
When it comes to Chrysler Group ads, one can expect to see celebrities.
Now here comes Joan Rivers stumping the beauty of Dodge-brand models in regional dealer ads from Doner in suburban Detroit.

JoanRivers

They’re part of the automaker’s multi-brand “Award Season (sales) Event.”
In the spot for the Dart, Rivers touts the car’s beauty and power. “Look at the leather seats,” she coos. “They are softer than the leather on my face,” says Rivers, who regularly pokes fun at all the plastic surgery she’s had as host of “Fashion Police.”
The spots are airing through April in some 122 markets.
The comic’s appearance in the Dodge ad is shocking to a lot of people. “Are they reaching out to 70-year-olds,” wondered a Facebook poster.
The answer is no.
Rivers, whose career has spanned 5 decades, has managed to keep herself in the public eye and is winning over a younger generation. Rivers and these commercials should generate more positive buzz for Dodge.
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You can follow me, Jean Halliday, on LinkedIn and Facebook

On Twitter: @jhal2001

 

Ford Fusion Makes Rivals “Invisible”

Ford Motor Co. will be hammering away at how darn good-looking its 2013 Ford Fusion is in the multi-media launch blitz.

The automaker isn’t off base with this strategy, since the redone midsize sedan has gotten a slew of very positive ink for its good looks – not really a staple in the segment.

“The media  launch of the Fusion will showcase how Ford is shaking up the bland midsize sedan segment,” said Jim Farley, exec VP and group VP of global marketing, sales and service. “Why do car buyers have to sacrifice styling and forward-looking design for fuel economy? They don’t.”

This isn’t the first time a carmaker  has zeroed in on styling to push a midsize sedan. Most memorably, Nissan and its ad agency , TBWA, used “Cure for the Common Car” in fall 2001 to launch the 2002 Altima. Still, styling hasn’t traditionally been the focus to advertise cars in this category.

Ford and its ad agency, WPP Group’s Team Detroit in Dearborn, hired Chinese artist Liu Bolin as a consultant for the print ads. Bolin is known around the world for painting his body and clothes to camouflage himself in photographs and he helped TeamDetroit create print ads that make competitors’ cars invisible.

This behind-the-scenes video will give you a better look at Team Detroit’s Big Idea

The look of the ads is pretty cool and the Big Idea works with the strategy without being obnoxious or naming rivals.

The new Fusion is also on the back cover of Maxim’s annual “Best Stuff of the Year issue, due Nov. 18. Ford’s Mustang is on the magazine’s cover – a nice double play. Toby Barlow, chief creative officer of Team Detroit, said the magazine approached Ford, not visa versa.

Amy Marentic, group marketing manager at Ford,  said the Fusion launch ads try to use design and technology to stand out in the crowded midsize segment. “We also knew we had to appeal to the rational side, and the most rational thing about this car is the fuel economy,” she said.

So the ads do mention MPG. The theme line in the TV spots is : It’s an entirely new idea of what a car can be.”

The agency extended the “disappearing” act of the print ads to one of its three national TV commercials, like this :30 one :

The final editing of the final two spots got delayed by Super Storm Sandy; the outfit doing the work is based in lower Manhattan. One touts “while everyone else seems to be going in the wrong direction, Ford is not just going forward, it’s going in an entirely new direction.”

But the third spot is the most dramatic. This commercial, for the Fusion Hybrid, touts the car’s “outstanding performance” and estimated 100 mpg range.  It also shows viewers the only thing the car can’t do- drive off a cliff. Yes, Team Detroit “jumped” a new Fusion in a one-take shot in Vancouver and the ad should attract eyeballs. Once it breaks, there will be a behind-the-scenes video of how the spot was made. (The car used in the stunt isn’t drivable, Barlow said).

In typical Ford fashion, this big media part of the launch came only after a major pre-launch that started digitally with a big push in July. Marentic said Farley challenged her team to encourage 300,000 consumers to build and price the new Fusion before it went on sale.

Enter “Random Acts of Fusion,” a massive social media, online video effort starring Ryan Seacrest, Joel McHale and Kate Micucci. Ford launched the push on national TV in July, along with the site RandomActsofFusion.com. The push included scavenger hunts, local events and chances to win one of 3 Fusions.

In this video, McHale and Micucci explain how they’re going to create a documentary with the 100 new Fusions they got from Secrest.

OK. Not the funniest video ever and the others are similar in tone. Still, Ford said 2 million people have visited the Random site, which tallied more than 12 million video views. Plus, the push nearly doubled Farley’s goal for online Fusion build-and-pricing by consumers, reaching more than 520,000, Marentic said.

Ford isn’t done yet for the Fusion. Coming Thursday, Nov, 15 is “Go Further with Ford Night” at local dealers, named for the brand’s new ad tag. For each person who visits a participating Ford dealer that night, the dealer will donate $10 – up to a total of $500 – to a local charity. Some 2,200 Ford dealers have already signed up to participate, Marentic said. People who register at a dealership that day will be entered into a prize drawing to win a new Fusion.

Visitors 18 and older can also try to win a VIP trip to see the popular “American Idol” TV show by testing their talent judging skills on camera. Each dealership will have a webcam to see a special message from Seacrest before they do some judging on camera. (Ford has been a long-time backer of American Idol style, which returns in January on FOX.

Ford is certainly backing the new Fusion with a major push that should build street cred and sales for the car.

MAKING TRACKS: Ford Motor’s Jim Farley, already exec VP and group VP of global marketing, sales and service for the Ford brand, adds the Lincoln brand. Farley quickly moved Matt Van Dyke from US director of marketing communications for Ford and Lincoln to director of Lincoln globally for marketing, sales and service. He’ll report to Farley. The two men have known each other since 2000 and worked together when Farley headed Toyota’s lux Lexus brand and Van Dyke was the account chief at the brand’s ad agency, TeamOne.

Kevin Koeppen, who had been manager-advertising and media, succeeds Van Dyke.

You can find me, Jean Halliday, on LinkedIn, Facebook and Forbes.com

On Twitter at jhal2001

Nissan’s Unbelievable Frontier Ads

By Jean Halliday
Nissan North America has unleashed a couple of over-the-top TV commercials for its Frontier pickup. One of them in particular is generating lots of online buzz.
Called “Landing Gear,” the spot shows the mid-size Frontier rescuing a commercial airline with landing gear trouble.

There’s plenty of non-believers out there about the reality of Frontier’s ability to pull off this amazing feat, according to the comments on YouTube, where the commercial has already tallied a very respectable number of views- more than 305,000 in just a few weeks.
After all, the maximum towing capacity of the 2012 Frontier is rated at up to 6,500 pounds maximum, when properly equipped. Let’s estimate, conservatively, that the weight for the nose for that moving plane weighs about 30,000 pounds.
Anyone see a problem here?
It’s hard to remember the last time Nissan even advertised its mid-size pickup and it’s a mystery why it would take this route.
Then there’s the other commercial, dubbed “ Hill Climb,” showing the Frontier doing another incredible task.

Plenty of non-believers commented on YouTube about this one too. “The commercials are actually 100 percent fake, which tells you everything you need to know about the company which paid for them. You really want to buy a truck from people who have zero respect for the viewing audience?”
And finally, Nissan more recently posted this online-only video spoofing the landing gear mishap as a real news story. You can see that one here:

Nissan, and its legal beagles, have however, covered their butts on all three of these. If you look very closely- and quickly- all three videos have the small words “ Fictionalization. Do not attempt.”
So there.
The commercial is, to put it politely, a dramatization. But the words are only there for the opening 4-to-6 seconds before they disappear. Clearly the YouTube viewers debating the videos’ veracity have not spotted the disclaimer.
Why would an automaker want to show one of their products doing something it can’t really do? It insults consumers and in the end belittles the product.
Nissan could also run the risk of rival complaints for deceptive advertising to either the Federal Trade Commission or National Advertising Division of the Council of Better Business.
Brings back memories of Volvo’s 1990 “Monster Truck” commercial scandal. The Volvo was the only car not crushed by a “monster truck” in that spot, but Volvo didn’t reveal in the ad that the roof of its vehicle had been reinforced. The FTC levied fines of of $150,000 against both Volvo and its then-ad agency, Scali, McCabe, Sloves in Manhattan, which got fired over the incident.
As if the buzzing online doubts about the Frontier’s abilities isn’t enough, another online grapevine is building that Nissan and its ad agency, TBWA, stole the “Landing Gear” idea from Jeep.
Ex-Chrysler marketing executive Jeff Bell was the first to sound the alarm about this, posting on Facebook: “Just shows you that 1) the people running auto marketing have either no historical awareness or 2) they have no pride and enjoy plagiarism.”
Ouch!
Decide for yourself. Here’s the cheeky viral ad Bell says Chrysler had made for Jeep of Europe:

FYI- This 405 project (www.405:themovie.com) was produced by Bruce Branit and Jeremy Hunt for Jeep in 2000, one of very early viral videos that Yahoo Internet Life magazine called the web movie of that year.
Okay, even though the two commercials are very similar, we’re not saying TBWA took Jeep’s idea. There are coincidences. But with search portals, YouTube’s vast body of material and other sites, it’s pretty easy to check whether that Big Idea for your commercial is truly fresh.
So, I did some surfing of my own and found this very similar image in the first 10 seconds of a montage of 1970s and 1980s commercials for the Chevrolet Silverado by Campbell-Ewald in Warren, Michigan:

Hmm, so was it Jeep that first ripped off GM’s similar idea back in 2000?
Big Ideas for advertising could be like the myth of the Christmas Fruit Cakes: there’s only seven of them in the world and they keep getting passed on.
If you’re going to do a dramatic pickup ad, you might as well go over the top, but in an entertaining way that the audience knows is fake.
One of my favorites was for Ford’s 1997 model F-150. By JWT Detroit, it broke during the 1996 Super Bowl and featured actor Jack Palance as a tough cowboy who uses the pickup and a lariat to rope a butte and close a river gorge.

Now that’s a Big Idea.

MAKING TRACKS: Eric Grenier moved to VP – Director, Enterprise at Ford’s ad agency- Team Detroit in Dearborn – from Organic.

***THIS POST first appeared in CNW Research’s most recent subscriber-only  Retail Automotive Summary.

You can follow me on Facebook and LinkedIn. Also on Twitter as @jhal2001