Tag Archives: Campbell-Ewald

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

 

GM Moves Chevy to McCann, Starts Caddy Review

Well, it was probably the worst kept secret around.

And General Motors finally confirmed it, announcing late in the day today (March 14) it was consolidating Chevrolet’s global account at IPG’s McCann Worldwide. Strangely, GM distributed the statement, which was attributed to McCann.

Whatever.

The bottom line is this: Omnicom’s Goodby, Silverstein & Partners is out.

Goodby won the Chevy account in 2010 without a review shortly after the arrival of Joel Ewanick as CMO. Ewanick had worked with Goodby during his years heading Porsche marketing and also for a while at Hyundai.

Shortly before Ewanick was forced out last year, GM pushed Goodby into that silly 50-50 venture with McCann to handle Chevy, called Commonwealth. I predicted it was a bad idea to try to get 2 holding companies to work together.

https://autoadopolis.wordpress.com/2012/03/28/is-chevys-global-creative-solution-a-good-idea/

GM should have known better since it had tried it before on the media side… and it flopped.

Most AutoAdOpolis readers know I have not been a big fan of most of Goodby’s work. I don’t put all the blame on the agency because it has done some great work for other clients.

The smoke signals for Goodby’s demise really started billowing late last year when GM’s Alan Batey, interim CMO, (pictured below) moved oversight of the crucial Chevy Silverado launch to Publicis’ Leo Burnett.

aLANBatey

Burnett  also has GMC and Buick and one could certainly argue that work for those two brands hasn’t exactly been setting the world on fire.

So one has to wonder why Batey chose to only fiddle with the agencies for only 2 of 4 GM US vehicle brands, essentially giving Burnett a free pass.

But even more curious is Batey’s timing.

After all, Tim Mahoney will start April 1 as GM’s newly-hired global CMO for Chevrolet. Mahoney, on vacation this month after leaving VW of America, will also be global GM marketing operations leader, indicating he’ll also oversee other car brands. He’ll report to Batey.

GM has been mum on whether Batey, also VP of sales and service in the US, will remain interim global CMO. So Mahoney could well be Batey’s successor. So, if Batey wanted to make some big moves and undo most of what Ewanick did, he knew he had to hurry.

But why not wait until Mahoney arrives?

Batey’s marketing power plays would have had to have been okayed from the top, since Batey reports to GM Chairman-CEO Dan Akerson.

This entire mess doesn’t portray GM in a very positive light.

What the hell are you guys thinking?

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On Twitter @jhal2001

GM’S GLOBAL GAMBITS

General Motors has two big chunks of business up for grabs- its global Chevrolet creative account and its worldwide media account.

The grapevine is buzzing that GM is close to tapping IPG’s McCann-Erickson as its first global creative agency of record for Chevrolet. Makes sense, since McCann already handles Chevy in China and Latin America, along with India, which it won last year in a review.

The win would be a major boost for McCann, which first handled GM in 1958 after resigning Chrysler’s account to take on Buick. But McCann lost Buick in 2007 without a review to Publicis Groupe’s Leo Burnett. McCann did tons of work for GM’s corporate account and landed GM’s Saab North American account in 2007. But the business on both accounts has dwindled.

Chevy is growing around the planet, tallying 4.76 million vehicles in 2011, a global sales record for the brand and good news for GM.

If you’re wondering about Chevy in the USA, word is McCann will have to work with Chevrolet’s creative shop, Goodby, Silverstein & Partners in this country.

Back in 2005, GM pushed McCann into the arms of IPG sibling Campbell-Ewald, Chevrolet’s long-time USA shop, to support Chevrolet as it drove into global markets. That team effort, dubbed Chevrolet Brandcom, fell by the wayside during GM’s tumultuous financial fall.

But this new plan for Chevy seems fraught with peril, since Goodby is owned by competing mega-holding company Omnicom.

Chevrolet’s Chris Perry, VP-global marketing and strategy, only smiled at me when I  ran this grapevine buzz past him at the Detroit auto show. He told me the decision is coming down at the end of the month, adding Chevrolet currently has 50 different ad agencies worldwide.

GM has tried this dual holding company approach in the past, when it had its massive USA media planning and buying split between IPG and Publicis. At the time, GM’s brass said the holding companies’ two agencies would work well together. But in the end, to the surprise of no one but GM apparently, they didn’t play nice with each other at all. The automaker ended up consolidating its media business at Publicis.

Now Publicis is defending not only that giant piece of GM’s media business here in the USA, but trying to get the consolidated global media business.

And it’s not looking good for the home team. Rumblings in the ad world have Aegis Group’s Carat already picked and in the midst of contract terms with GM – translation pricing, which could jinx the whole deal.

So no wonder GM’s global CMO Joel Ewanick is deflecting press inquiries, saying there’s no winner- yet- at least not for a few more weeks. He said: “No one out there knows anything. They think they do. But it can change tomorrow. I went to bed last night, and changed my mind.”
Okey dokey.

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SUPER  BOWL TIME

The hype for automakers advertising in the Super Bowl Feb. 5 is in full swing. Two car companies have released teasers of their Big Game commercials.

VW, which last year in one of its two spots had a child dressed as Darth Vader for the Passat, is apparently continuing its Star Wars’ tie-in.

Tim Mahoney, VW’s CMO and Exec VP , told me the Super Bowl commercial will be a minute-long and for the redone Beetle. Deutsch, Los Angeles, handles VW’s creative account.

And Toyota’s lux Lexus brand is making its first Super Bowl appearance- featuring the 2013 GS, which officially launches next month.

Here’s the sneak peak from Lexus

Hmmm. Lexus’ longtime agency, Team One, didn’t create the Super Bowl ad, developed by Attik. But Lexus did say Team One handled the overall GS launch.

MAKING TRACKS: After a long search, Hyundai Motor America has hired David Matathia as advertising director. Matathia, who started Jan. 9 in his new job, had worked at ad agency GSD&M as chief strategist. He joins longtime Hyundai staffer Jackie Kim, also an ad director.

MAKING TRACKS II: Julie Roehm, who has been flying solo as a consultant since leaving Walmart and Chrysler Group before that, has landed at biz-software firm SAP as senior VP-marketing.

WEIRDEST BIZ CARD EVER ? Ran into Cameron McNaughton at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit. He’s the president of Lincoln’s new WPP ad agency, based in New York. The biggest words on his business card: “The Yet To Be Named Lincoln Agency”

You can follow me, Jean Halliday, on Facebook and LinkedIn.

On Twitter, I’m @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

Chevy Runs Deep

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

[http://tinyurl.com/chevyanthem%5D
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.

Stay tuned.

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.

 

New Era For GM Advertising?

There’s been a whole lot of tongues wagging in the industry over the hiring of Joel Ewanick as General Motors’ new U.S. marketing chief. Let’s just say GM needs the kind of help Ewanick can bring to the table and leave it at that.
Plus – the grapevine has been buzzing with his swift move to hire Omnicom Group’s Goodby, Silverstein & Partners for Chevy’s new national creative agency.
Publicis, which first got a six-month contract last December for Chevy cars, won the entire account from Chevy’s 91-year shop IPG’s Campbell-Ewald without a review about a month ago. But that was BJ – Before Joel, who has been accused of pulling the rug out from under Publicis Chairman-CEO Maurice Levy & company.
Not so fast. What’s good for the goose is good for the gander. Levy worked his magic behind the scenes in 2007 by convincing GM CEO Rick Wagoner to consolidate Buick and GMC at Publicis Groupe’s Leo Burnett network from IPG’s McCann Erickson and Lowe respectively. He told me last month he also pow-wowed with GM leaders this time around to capture all of Chevy from IPG. You can bet the Publicis bunch was high-fiving over that one. Again that was BJ.
And how was the work Publicis did for Chevy cars during the Olympics that helped it bag the entire account? You be the judge

And Publicis, with Chevy’s blessing mind you, was about to switch the brand’s ad tag to “Excellence for All,” lambasted by Autoextremist.com as being a horrendous move for the brand. How could it be that no one at Publicis, or inside Chevy or high up at GM for that matter, had the giblets to question that line?

Thankfully, Ewanick has scrubbed the line for good, also erasing it from a new commercial Publicis created for Chevrolet that broke this week, a much better effort by the agency, I must say.

The problem with the way Publicis was going to handle Chevy was via four different offices, each with a different creative chief, which had been OK with Ewanick’s predecessor. But insiders at Chevy were already questioning how that set up could work, ie, it was a recipe for disaster.

Meantime, stay tuned for the first Chevrolet work from Goodby within weeks.

We are looking forward to it!