Gotta admit I was skeptical when I first heard a few days ago that Chevrolet’s new ad tag was “Chevy Runs Deep.” What in the world does THAT mean? There were some immediate negative reactions in the online chat rooms that the line was mysterious and would never be as iconic as some of famous ones from Chevrolet’s long-time ad agency Campbell-Ewald – “Like a Rock” for trucks and the classic “See the USA in Your Chevrolet.” Cynics were saying Chevy was in deep all right.
But I changed my mind after sitting through this morning’s press conference in Detroit with GM’s US marketing chief Joel Ewanick, Chevy’s marketing VP Chris Perry and Jeff Goodby, co-chief of Chevy’s new agency Goodby, Silverstein & Partners. Seeing the new work obviously helped put the whole thing in perspective.
The first commercials in the new campaign show off Chevy’s 99-year U.S. heritage with a look to current models and the future. (Some footage was shot recently with vintage cameras to give them an old look). There’s an obvious attempt to tap into emotions, but it isn’t overly sappy. The positioning of Chevy as this country’s all-American car brand is done without waving the flag in your face. There IS a bit of chest-beating – like the line “This isn’t just any car company. This is Chevy.” But thankfully the ads don’t do too much of that and the narration of actor-comic Tim Allen helps.
Take a look at the :60 brand anthem commercial that’s breaking tonight during the World Series broadcast
The three other commercials are all :30s and are part of what Perry called “shared moments” of “those emotional events that kind of connect us as a society.” One shows owners posing proudly with their first Chevrolets. Another is of couples bringing their newborns home in their cars, with Mississippi John Hurt’s soulful rendition of “You are my Sunshine.” The final spot, for Chevy pickups, is a montage of dogs in the trucks, with Hank Williams’ “Move it On Over” (his first big hit in 1947).
There’s not a lot of narration from Tim Allen in those three commercials and that works fine.
The out-of-home posters are so cool that lots of people are really going to want them. I’ll be first in line! There’s also digital, print and social media.
It’s good to see Chevy making a serious play in the ad game after more than a year of ad agency turmoil and insanity. GM needs Chevrolet to do well. Chevy accounts for 7 out of every 10 new vehicles GM sells, Ewanick said today.
Before you criticize “Chevy Runs Deep” remember what Publicis, and Chevy’s old management had planned for an ad tag- “Excellence For All.” Ewanick dumped both the agency and the tag and hired Goodby, Silverstein, which now has roughly 100 people working on the account in Detroit. (See my May 26 post “New Era for GM Advertising?)
We weren’t a fan of Campbell-Ewald’s “American Revolution” campaign that started in 2003, but have reason to believe it was driven by the client. Regular readers know how I felt about Howie Long in Chevy ads and glad to see him gone. (nothing personal, Howie )
“A lot of pressure is put on tag lines,” but they’re all about context, Jeff Goodby said today. “You have to let these develop.”
I know what he means. After Goodby won the Hyundai account in spring 2007 (Ewanick was Hyundai’s marketing VP then) the first big blitz the agency did was a shocker- carless car commercials that asked viewers to “Think About It” and visit the web site of the same name.
I wasn’t an early fan and neither were Hyundai dealers. But after a short time we all got the message and Hyundai is still using that ad tag today.
MAKING TRACKS: Michael Jackson, hired in January by CODA Automotive as senior vice president of global sales and distribution, has left the electric-car maker.