Tag Archives: Wieden + Kennedy

World’s Best Car Ads

It’s official!

The non-profit group, The One Club named the global winners January 13, 2015 during a special even during the press days of the North American International Auto Show in Detroit. There were submissions  from 16 countries, but only two winning USA advertisers and ad agencies: Audi of America and its shop Venables Bell & Partners in San Francisco, along with Hyundai Motor America and Innocean USA in Huntington Beach, Calif.

Audi and Hyundai won the Broadcast TV category in a 3-way tie with Toyota Australia.

Audi’s winning TV spot for the all-new Q3, dubbed “The Scripted Life,” encourages people to “break from the script” of mundane, everyday  life.

The commercial wasn’t widely watched on YouTube, generating a mere 20,000 views from the time it was posted in late August to mid-January. In my book, it’s just an okay commercial.

Hyundai’s award winner was from the 2014 Super Bowl commercial. The spot for the Genesis touts the car’s sensory surround safety. Dubbed “Dad’s Sixth Sense,” the spot shows how the automatic emergency braking works to help a teen son at the wheel with his father riding shotgun avoiding a crash with another car as he checks out a young lady on the sidewalk.

My absolute favorite of the winning broadcast trio is Toyota Australia’s “Unbreakable Drivers,” for the Toyota Hilux pickup from Saatchi & Saatchi in Sydney. The humor is pure Aussie fun and can’t help but make you smile.

The spot, featuring narration by Down Under actor Russel Crowe, attracted a respectable nearly 590,000 views in just over 3 months.

Volvo Trucks won the Online Video category. Ad agency Forsman & Bodenfors in Gothenburg, Sweden, created this dramatic “Epic Split” video to demonstrate the precision and directional stability of Volvo Dynamic Steering. Actor Jean-Claude Van Damme is absolutely amazing doing a split as the two Volvo Trucks back up

Even more amazing: Forsman & Bodenfors and director Andreas Nilsson shot the 1:16 video in one take (in Spain on a closed landing field at sunrise). The haunting music is Enya’s “Only Time.”

But the real eye popper is that this video attracted more than 77 million views on YouTube since it was posted just two months ago!

Honda took home the Interactive award with a 2:55 video from Wieden + Kennedy, London, for the Civic Type R.

Dubbed “The Other Side,” W+K produced two parallel tales of the same man, a caring dad by day picking up his daughters in his white Civic and by night an undercover cop delivering a crew of art thieves to a police sting driving a red, sportier Type R.

The viewer is in control, merely having to press the “R” key to toggle between actor Jean-Phillipe Ricci’s two lives.

The original video on YouTube hit 4 million views in less than 3 months and was boosted by the web site www.hondatheotherside.com along with social media. Daniel Wolfe directed, with Bobby Krlic of The Haxan Cloak handling the music.

Volkswagen was awarded top honors in Experiential Advertising for an in-theater, car safety push from Ogilvy One Beijing in China. Movie goers may have thought they were watching a pre-film car commercial of someone driving along a road, but got a shock when their mobile phones sounded

VW says the effort to curb mobile use while driving attracted a lot of media coverage, was the top auto viral video and generated more than 26 million views in a month.

It’s not the first time VW has used a jarring shock to get the safety message out. Back in 2006, VW of America ran a commercial that showed a Jetta with two young couples coming home from a double date at the movies getting suddenly rammed by another driver. No one was hurt, but the spot from Crispin Porter + Bogusky in Miami was both praised and panned.

Jeep won the Print/Outdoor award for work by Leo Burnett France in Paris. The “Upside Down” poster campaign. In a unique move, the ads do NOT show a Jeep. Instead, each poster shows a different animal. But when the image is flipped 180 degrees there is a different animal. “See whatever you want to see” is the ad tag.








 Kudos to all the the winners of the 2nd Annual One Show Automobile Advertising of the Year Awards!

MAKING TRACKS: Satish Korde moves up to Chief Operating Officer at WPP Group’s Global Team Ford in Dearborn, Michigan from CEO of sibling Team Detroit, a post he’s held since the summer of 2011.

SatishKordeBefore his 2011 appointment, the low-profile Korde had been global client director for Team Detroit’s parent company, WPP.

Korde succeeds Mark LaNeve, 55, who will move Feb. 1 to his client, Ford Motor Co., as head of U.S. sales, marketing and service.


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.


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

W+K “Hands” Honda a Hit

Honda hit another one out of the park in Europe with a clever corporate ad from Wieden + Kennedy, London.

The spot, dubbed “Hands,” shows off the company’s range of products under its corporate ad tag “The Power of Dreams.”

It runs nearly 2 minutes. The work is so captivating, it sucks the viewer in and the time flies. That’s no easy task in today’s mile-a-minute culture of media bombardment.

Simplicity is the key here. The only narration is at the start: “Let’s see what curiosity can do.”

If you haven’t seen it…you MUST check it out to see what GREAT auto advertising looks like.

In the 11 weeks since Honda posted it on YouTube, it’s tallied nearly 7.3-million views.

That’s a hit in my book. I predict this spot is going to be as hot as “Cog,” that famous, similarly-long spot Wieden + Kennedy, London, did back in 2003 for Honda’s the Accord in Europe.

Wieden, founded in Portland, is one of the largest independent ad agencies left in this world. The agency has also created lots of memorable work for Chrysler Group.

Kudos to the crew at W+K in London!

MAKING TRACKS: John Felice, who was general manager of Ford Lincoln Sales since fall 2011, moves up the ladder in October to VP-marketing, sales and service in the US. FordJohnFelice

Felice, will  succeed his boss, Ken  Czubay, who is retiring. Felice joined Ford in spring 1984. His stints at Ford include truck product marketing manager at the Ford Division in the US and Exec Director, marketing, sales and service for Ford Asia-Pacific & Africa.

SOMETHING COMPLETELY DIFFERENT: AutoAdOpolis doesn’t normally stump for causes. But a non-profit is trying to save Ford’s historic Highland Park plant, the birthplace of industrial mass production and the $5-a-day wage that fueled America’s middle class. It’s sad that other parts of the world cherish their iconic places and here in America we simply let them deteriorate – or tear them down.
The Woodward Avenue Action Association is in the midst of a fundraiser to buy property to set up a visitors center for tours of the old Model T plant.
fORDHighlandplantPeople wanting to help should visit
Donations can be just $5. The group is also looking for corporate sponsors. For more info, go to  www.woordwardavenue.org
Automotive Heritage Welcome Center

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on Twitter @jhal2001




The SUV is back????

Chrysler Group is really pushing the 2011 Dodge Durango, which went on sale earlier this year after a two-year absence from the market. Dodge issued a press release Aug. 4 touting the arrival of a slew of new television ads and online videos for the new Dodge Durango.
Actually, the most recent Durango commercial broke July 12 during baseball’s All Star Game.
That ad, called “Long Lost Performance,” does indeed spotlight Durango’s performance
Dodge also uploaded that commercial on YouTube July 12. It seems the automaker wasn’t too thrilled that the ad had attracted under 25,000 views, so it issued the press release on Aug.4.
There’s already been some blogosphere banter about how the first commercial is too focused on performance. I have different issues with the campaign.
What’s interesting is Dodge’s blurb on YouTube about this spot: “With crossovers trying to convince drivers that cars can be SUVs and with SUVs hiding out pretending to be minivans, the Durango commits to being a true SUV.”
As you can see the ad blitz for the Durango by Wieden + Kennedy, based in Portland, is themed “The SUV is back.”
The critics focusing on the performance matter are off base. The real issues are:
A) The Durango is NOT an SUV according to industry definitions
B) The SUV is NOT back.
Let’s start with A. The new Durango still looks like an SUV, except gone is its old body-on-frame truck base. Now the Durango sits on a car-like unibody.
And on the B issue, there is NO WAY sport utes are ever going to be as strong as they were in their heyday.
Between 1997 and 2002, sales of sport utes jumped 56%, or one for every eight licensed American drivers, according to the Census Bureau. Or, in raw numbers, there were more than 24-million suvs in 2002 than 1997, when there were 15 million on the road.
Sales of truck-based SUVs peaked in 2000 at nearly 3 million units and in 2002, utes were villified by religious groups that launched a “What Would Jesus Drive” campaign against them. Critics blasted the big suvs for hurting the environment and cited the gass guzzlers as the key reason Uncle Sam was fighting in the Middle East.
Volatile gas prices starting in 2006 and escalating in 2008 pretty much put the final kabosh on big truck-based utes, when owners bailed out of the segment faster than anytime in history.
So let’s call it already– the SUV is dead!
HOWEVER, its car-based cousin, the crossover, is picking up the slack. Yeah, the semantics matter little to many Americans since crossover utility vehicles, or CUVs, often LOOK like SUVs. The difference is CUVs are car-based, while SUVs are truck based.
But the Durango is really a CUV and calling it an SUV is midleading. It may have started out an SUV when it first debuted, but it isn’t anymore. The misnomer will cause more consumer confusion.
The new ads, which include online-only videos, includes this TV spot comparing the “luxurious” interior of the Durango to a certain high-performance car that rhymes with Merrari
Let’s not forget that Fiat now owns more than half of Chrysler Group and also owns Ferrari, the high-end car brand referred to in the commercial.
The new Durango blitz isn’t all about performance. Consider this online video touting the rain brake support safety feature
Of course the WORST Durango commercial ever – from GlobalHue – didn’t last on the air very long about five years ago


The other problem I have with these new spots is they don’t carry the same ending that Dodge launched at the Chicago Auto Show with much fan fare.
That’s a mysterious move since Dodge used the ending in this first Durango spot back in February hailing the model’s return

A missed branding opportunity.
The new Durango is much improved from its predecessor and deserves a more truthful ad campaign.  And just saying “the SUV is back” doesn’t make it so.

MAKING TRACKS: Tim Boutorwick is now a product insight strategist as a contract staffer for Fallon’s Detroit office on the Cadillac account. Boutorwick has more than 20 years of auto agency experience. This is his third time in the last 5 years he’s worked on Caddy, first at Leo Burnett Detroit in Troy and then at Modernista, Boston.

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

Is Chevy’s New Commercial Too Similar to Jeep’s?

The first new TV commercial from Chevrolet ‘s new agency broke this week under the baton of General Motors’ new marketing czar Joel Ewanick.
It features Chevy’s slick Corvette, comparing the sports car that have made kids and grown men drool for decades to a rocket ship.
See for yourself:

Using a low-volume halo car like the Vette is a natural for any carmaker and can create a nice aura for the rest of a brand. Chevrolet has been remiss in not taking advantage of its venerated Vette very often in this way.
We especially like the folksy narrative at the start of the 45-second commercial, that broke during the MLB’s All-Star Game on July 13.
Goodby, Silverstein & Partners, San Francisco, just got Chevy’s account in late May without a review. Even before Joel’s arrival, Chevy had been trying to find a new ad tag that would capture the soul of the brand and replace “American Revolution.” Publicis, which basically had the account for a cup of coffee before Ewanick’s arrival, had dreamed up “Excellence for All.” Ewanick threw that out the window along with Publicis.
Chevy’s new commercial is already generating tons of controversy in the ether. While the spot has its fans, there’s also critics who say it’s too similar to the launch ad for the all-new 2011 Jeep Grand Cherokee, from that brand’s new shop Wieden + Kennedy, Portland, which focused on pride in American manufacturing.
One ad agency exec with a major car account told me if he was Joel, he would have pulled the new Chevy commercial before it aired because Wieden’s Jeep ads were already out there and the executions are so similar.
Easy to say. Not so easy to do. The time had already been bought on ESPN. Not only that, Chevrolet really needs to get back in front of consumers again.
Sometimes you take a wild shot and hope it goes in the basket.
It’s not as if Goodby & Co. copied Wieden’s approach. The story boards were most likely already approved and production well on its way by the time the Grand Cherokee ads broke about a month ago.
Let’s give ’em a chance. The real litmus test will be the MAJOR blitz due this fall for Chevrolet from Goodby. Stay tuned.
Meantime, watch the Jeep Grand Cherokee commercial:

What’s your verdict?

KUDOS: To Shaun Bugbee, VP-sales and marketing for Mini Financial Services for challenging his team to make the dry topic of aftermarket insurance services entertaining. The result: a viral video for Mini’s Extended Motorer Protection, created by P3 Entertainment Manhattan, that earned a recent Telly Award.
Check it out – and let me know what you think.

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.