Tag Archives: Chrysler Group

Ram Ropes Cowboy Theme: “Guts. Glory.”

Chrysler Group’s Ram truck brand (formerly part of Dodge) is using cowboys and the Old West for its new multi-media ad campaign. The work, from Richards Group in Dallas, introduces the new tag “Guts. Glory. Ram.” It replaces “I am Ram.”
The first :60 national intro commercial, dubbed “Code of the West,” sets the stage for the blitz

Too bad the pickup doesn’t show up until more than half-way into the commercial.
Cowbows aren’t a new Big Idea for truck advertising. It’s almost a bad cliché.
Chevrolet was big on it. Here’s one from Campbell-Ewald for the 1997 model Silverado

Even GM sibling Pontiac used cowboys – for the Montana minivan – in the late ’90s to try to be more appealing to men. D’Arcy, Masius, Benton & Bowles’ Detroit-area handled and used Robert Mitchum to narrate:

In probably the most bizarre use of cowboys to peddle a light truck, Mitsubishi had this spot for the 1998 Montero suv from G2, Santa Monica, which soon after, not surprisingly, lost the account

Who doesn’t love cowboys and the romance of the Old West? It’s rugged and oh, so American. And what’s not to like about actor Sam Elliott’s rich voice narrating the Ram commercials?

Olivier Francois, Chrysler Group’s French-born CMO, has a penchant for edgy work that generates buzz, a la Chrysler brand’s 200 Super Bowl “Imported From Detroit” commercial with Eminem. The official word from Francois on the new pickup work is : “the Ram Truck brand has always had the guts to perform and innovate – today, it continues to live by those rules and conducts. The brand’s outstanding craftsmanship and beliefs are delivered in this campaign by using the rustic Old West as the perfect juxtaposition of past and present American values; a time when hard working and well-crafted man-made machines were a must.”
That American craftsmanship idea, and the tone of the Ram ads, also run deep in the automaker’s Jeep advertising “The Things We Make, Make Us,” introduced a year ago for launch of the new Grand Cherokee by Wieden + Kennedy in Portland.
Ram does take the cowboy thing to a new level. This work is generally visually arresting and interesting. That said, the big question is can this cowboy theme be sustained for Ram? Will it last as long as “Like a Rock” for Chevrolet?
I think not.


has gone to California and joined Activision as exec VP and CMO from Volkswagen, where he had been VP of marketing since December 2007. We wondered here earlier this spring about his future at VW after Tim Mahoney split from Subaru of America to be VW’s CMO and chief product officer. Ellis was to report to Mahoney.

Follow  me on Twitter: @jhal2001

Brand-a-palooza: Dodge vs. Ram

Back in November 2009, at a seven-hour meeting at its headquarters with the press, Chrysler Group’s new Italian management revealed that there would be a new brand, Ram, split off from the Dodge brand.
Attendees were skeptical, since it came at a time when General Motors was eliminating brands from its stable and Ford was selling off brands.
The plan, according to Ram President-CEO Fred Diaz, was to spin off the Ram brand is for trucks, with plans to expand in the commercial truck arena. He also told us back then Ram’s annual sales would jump to 415,000 by 2015 from about the 280,000 he expected to sell in 2010.
Ram didn’t quite hit that target last year, tallying sales of almost 213,000 units in the U.S.- a 7% jump from 2009.
Meanwhile, Dodge would be repositioned from rugged to refined and youthful, the brand’s President-CEO Ralph Giles told us back in 2009.
But what are we really seeing with the brand?
At the Chicago Auto Show earlier this month, Giles just unveiled a slew of go-go R/T performance models, including for the Grand Caravan “man-van” minivan, and announced the return of the Dodge Charger SRT8 for the 2012 model year.
Giles also unveiled Dodge’s new ad theme at the Chicago show: Never Neutral.
In one of the first TV commercials to use the line, Dodge pokes fun of Mitsubishi’s virtual, online test drives, with this spot for “real test drives” of the new 2011 Charger:

Dodge’s new line, from Wieden + Kennedy, Portland, Oregon, is fine, and we like the flags snapping in the breeze at the end that brings motorsports to mind. W+K is a damn good agency, but this new approach isn’t any big departure from Dodge’s longtime positioning of bold that’s been around for more than a decade.
That’s a good thing, since the brand’s positioning shouldn’t shift just because there’s new people in charge of Chrysler Group and a new ad agency.
There should still be some institutional knowledge inside Chrysler Group from 2005 that Dodge does well when it markets to men and still doesn’t turn off women. Make no mistake this new ad theme is full of testosterone.
But the automaker has its hands full trying to separate Ram from Dodge. The Dodge Ram pickup name has been around since 1981 and Americans are used to it.
Dodge’s website is still http://www.dodge.com and Ram now has its own dedicated web site at http://www.ramtrucks.com
That’s cool. But when you search for dealers, their store names and the signs outside them still say Dodge.
Giles told me in Chicago the Ram dealers are just starting to change their store signs.
But it will take a long time- and a lot of ad spending- to change the way Americans talk about Dodge and Ram.

MAKING TRACKS : Turns out retired Chrysler Group Executive Steven Landry isn’t retired at all. After joining the board of ATCO, a Canadian public utility company, he’s risen to managing director and COO of ATCO Energy Australia and is leading the team down under. Congrats, Steve.
SHOULDA WOULDA COULDA : Suzuki should have shown the Swift concept in Chicago. It would have gotten LOTS of coverage instead of getting lost in Geneva.
VOLVO-LUTION: Hooray for Volvo, which will spend more on advertising in the fist quarter of this year than it did in ALL of 2010 — and will then spend that same amount in the second quarter.
Find me on TWITTER @jhal2001

Grand Caravan’s Sharp Turn

Minivans copped a bad rap earlier this decade. As SUVs became the industry’s darling growth segment, giving owners the feeling of cool, active, outdoorsy hipsters, the family hauler was maligned as mom-mobiles driven by soccer moms. Sales plummeted and GM and Ford exited the category.
Now here comes Dodge with a new twist on minivan advertising, usually depicted by young families with smiling kiddies, in three TV commercials from Dodge’s new creative shop Wieden + Kennedy in Portland.
To say Wieden’s new work is different is an understatement. (By the way- remember when the Dodge brand actually used “Different” as ad ad tag in 1999? It didn’t last long).
The minivan is black, driving across a desert in two spots. One spot has all men in it; another all men with a female driver. The music and overall look are in the spy genre.

This one, called “Kittens” is downright creepy:

This one, dubbed “Turncoats,” is mystifying:

This is the best of the bunch :

That one’s called “Why.”

Why, Indeed?

Well, Dodge is repeating something Pontiac (remember Pontiac?) tried in the late ’90s for its minivan in a move to attract more men or at least more male approval. First called the Trans Sport, Pontiac changed the model name to Montana, formerly just a trim level, for the ’97 model year.  D’Arcy, Masius, Benton & Bowles’ Detroit office created ads for the minivan with cowboys, themed “Life’s More Exciting in Montana.” Voiceover by late actor Robert Mitchum.

The strategy worked.

In a survey of families shopping for minivans in June 1999 by CNW Marketing Research, Montana was far and away the top choice by men, topping Detroit’s rivals’ top three models.

We wish Dodge the same results.