Tag Archives: Brent Dewar

Mystique of Dodge’s Ron Burgundy Blitz

Dodge’s over-the-top Durango blitz starring Will Ferrell, seems to be heading into the realm of cult status.

The campaign features dozens of video with the actor reprising his 2004 film role as the obnoxious 1970s’ “Anchorman” Ron Burgundy.

Yes, Chrysler Group CMO Olivier Francois is at it again, showing his penchant for using big names in advertising.

The Dodge brand’s irreverent big tone and attitude make Ron Burgundy the perfect pitchman for the new 2014 Dodge Durango,” he said.

The Dodge brand irreverent? Since when? I do recall the irreverent “that thing got a Hemi in it” Dodge ads with comic Jon Reep. But that was back in the DaimlerChrysler days. And those Hemi ads were for the Dodge Ram. Now Ram is a separate brand from Dodge.

Chrysler said it didn’t pay anything for Ferrell to appear in the campaign. That’s because this is a co-promotional deal. Every Durango ad touts the upcoming “Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues” movie with Farrell, arriving around Christmas. Don’t kid yourself, Chrysler is spending tens of millions of dollars in media promotion to promote this movie for Paramount Pictures.

The buzz for the Durango push has been incredible, already attracting 15 million views on YouTube since hitting national television in October. The media push includes print, Facebook and Twitter.

If you have somehow miraculously missed seeing any of these commercials from Wieden + Kennedy, Portland, here is one of the latest, posted December 7, touting the Durango’s good looks

In just 4 days this attracted almost 90,400 views.

Dodge’s ad agency, Wieden + Kennedy in Portland, worked with Farrell’s Funny Or Die website to write the spots.

The news coverage of this enormous campaign has been mind-boggling. Traffic to Durango’s web site has jumped by 80%. Most important, Durango sales have increased dramatically: 59% higher in October and 36% in November versus the same year-ago months.

And what would a major blitz be without a sweepstakes? There was also a 6-day online contest last month to win a 2014 Durango and other prizes. Visitors to Handsonronburgundy.com had to keep their “hands” (via their mouse) on the Anchorman the longest. The contest kicked off online with a YouTube video that, even though the contest is over, is still attracting views, now topping 287,000.

Are you laughing yet?

Several fellow reporters have told come to me puzzled about the work, saying “I don’t get it.” They, like myself, are baby boomers.

Simply put, this work is not for us. It’s aimed at a younger target.

My unscientific research reveals that younger people have a very different sense of humor and definition of funny than boomers. Think of TV’s “The Office.” The show is wildly popular even though plenty of us boomers don’t “get” it.

And thus it is with Mr. Burgundy and Dodge.

I must admit that the work breaks through the clutter. With some 70 executions- how could it not? The Burgundy character in his tacky outfit, bad hair and clueless attitude pulls viewers in like a magnet whether you saw or even know of the first “Anchorman” movie.This is not your father’s car advertising. The draw is similar to the “rubber-necking” effect of motorists slowing to a virtual stand still to check out traffic accidents. It’s advertising you might love to hate.

Speaking of fender benders, Ferrell called the Durango “a terrible car” in an interview with Conan O’Brien, a few weeks ago. “They gave me one for free, and I drove it four feet and the thing cracked in half,” he told the late-night host.

Ouch!

Doing some quick PR work, Chrysler explained that Ferrell was merely acting as Ron Burgundy and they weren’t upset.

But quite a few of online comments reacting on YouTube to the segment agreed with Ferrell and blasted Chrysler quality. Not exactly a very good thing. Not at all.

You’ve got to wonder whether Ferrell will be back as a Dodge spokesman for Anchorman 3.

My guess is no.

MAKING TRACKS: Brent Dewar joins NASCAR as COO. Dewar worked at GM from 1978 to 2010, with stints that included VP of Chevy globally and VP of marketing and sales.

MAKING TRACKS II: Gareth Kay becomes co-owner of the new San Francisco office of Minneapolis-based creative consultancy Zeus Jones and will also be founding partner of the West Coast office. Kay was chief strategy officer at Goodby, Silverstein & Partners in San Francisco.  His resume includes stops at Modernista, Lowe and TBWA.

Follow me, Jean Halliday, on LinkedIn and Facebook and on Twitter :@jhal2001

*This first appeared as Jean Halliday’s “AdRant” in CNWs subscriber-only, online auto industry report.

(This first ran as

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Who Should Be GM’s Next CMO?

AutoAdOpolis is wondering who General Motors will tap as its new CMO after the automaker unceremoniously forced Joel Ewanick to resign as VP-global CMO.

It will take a while for GM to get to it, which will give this red hot story a chance to cool down and get the media’s attention looking elsewhere. But GM SHOULD find a successor by the end of the year. It needs a strong-willed CMO to pull things together, streamline the ad approval process and improve advertising- fingers crossed on that one.

For now, GM named a sales and ops insider, Alan Batey, as interim chief.

The Brit, who joined GM in 1979 as a mechanical engineering apprentice, had held several key management posts overseas. Batey was only just moved in May to the newly-created post of GM VP for US Sales and Service from the same post at Chevrolet in the US. Nothing in his bio offers any hints at his marketing expertise. But not to worry, since the buzz is that GM will find a new CMO.

 Note to GM and its CEO Dan Akerson: Please don’t pick a sales guy or gal for your new CMO. We’ve been down that road with GM before- and let’s just say it didn’t exactly work out. Also-engineers and finance experts need not apply. GM needs another change, which translates to an outsider.

But what if GM opts to hire back one of its “grads,” now outsiders again? There are several interesting possibilities.

When I first heard about Joel’s ouster, the first name I thought of as a successor was Mark LaNeve, who left GM in 2009 shortly after the automaker emerged from bankruptcy and not long after he was moved to VP-sales from a four-year stint as VP-sales, service and marketing in North America.  But just as GM’s CMO fiasco was exploding, LaNeve was preparing to join Ford Motor’s ad agency, Team Detroit in Dearborn, as COO. Timing is everything, eh?

One of my sources, a former GM ad agency exec, suggested W.W. Brent Dewar, another GM alum. Dewar retired from post-Chapter 11 GM in early 2010 as ChevroletVP-general manager and global co-ordinator. Dewar, a 31-year vet of GM, was one of those execs either loved or not loved by insiders. According to Dewar’s Facebook postings, he certainly seems to be enjoying his times and travels with his family.

What about GM grad Mark-Hans Richer, who left in 2007 to join Harley-Davidson as senior VP-CMO? Richer has the right experience, having worked at DDB Needham Worldwide in Chicago before joining GM in 1998 as ad manager of  Chevy trucks. He has international experience too; he was director for Latin America on the McDonald’s account at DDB.

Richer is willing to take risks, having helped orchestrate a watershed media stunt as Pontiac’s marketing director to give away new G6 cars to the entire audience of Oprah Winfrey’s in September 2004.

His launch of Pontiac’s sexy, Solstice roadster should be a text-book case study. Under Richer’s baton, Pontiac won a slew ad of awards, including two Cannes Gold Lions, Gold Effies and a Super Reggie.

But I don’t think the odds are very good for a Richer return — even if GM would make make him an offer. He’s back in his home town of Milwaukee working on an iconic brand. I really think he’s having too much fun at Harley. Richer spent a week in China earlier this month to ride the Tibetan Plateau on a Harley to help kick off the brand’s 110th anniversary.

Which candidates should GM consider? Please take this quick poll

 

Thanks for your input!

MAKING TRACKS: Congrats to Dan Riley, promoted to VP at Time Inc. from group ad director in Detroit since November 2008. Dan joined Time in 2001 as ad director of People.

Follow me, Jean Halliday, on LinkedIn and Facebook.

On Twitter: @jhal2001