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By 2g1c2 girls 1 cup

Nissan began the advertising of its new Titan XD pickup last night during the college football National Championship game with an ad called “Shoulders of Giants”. It was a Super Bowl-like image ad, very much in the way of the recent Super Bowl ads from Fiat Chrysler. This is no coincidence, as Nissan’s Fred Diaz, Nissan’s sales VP until recently (now in charge of trucks and commercial vehicles), was the head of Fiat Chrysler’s Ram Truck brand before moving to Nissan a few years ago.

The ad (click below to watch), elicits images of heroes from firefighters to astronauts to moms and dads – the giants on whose shoulders we stand to reach new heights. Nissan draws a parallel from these heroes to the giants of the pickup market, “Chevy…Ford…Dodge”. Of course, the ad shows very old models of each brand that it is honoring. It would never show their latest models, partially because the styling of the new Titan has been criticized as a weird hybrid of styling of those 3 competitors (the “Nissan F-Ramverado”).

To me, the most interesting part of the ad is in one particular choice of wording. According to Nissan’s Diaz, “We ached and pained over every word, comma, and pause in this ad because we didn’t want our competitors looking at it and thinking we’re trying to give them a backhanded compliment. That’s not the case. We’re not doing this to be shallow. Our thank-you is sincere.” Maybe, but Diaz was instrumental in the rebranding of Dodge trucks into Ram Trucks several years ago. It is beyond belief that referring to his former employer’s truck brand by its old name was a mistake or an oversight. I’m sure some Nissan PR person would tell you that using Dodge vs. Ram was meant to refer to the history of the trucks, but I think it was the subtlest of digs at his friends in Auburn Hills.

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Old Car Brochures

31st January 2012

If you love cars like I do, you’ll want to check out this website. Was your first car a 1966 Dodge Charger? They have it here. How about a 1963 Studebaker Avanti? They have it too. They don’t have everything though. But it’s still a pretty cool repository of old car and truck ads and brochures. Click here for the main page, and have fun!

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Chevrolet (don’t call us Chevy) announced today a new program that will allow buyers of Corvette Z06 and ZR1 models to build the engine for their car! OK, they get to “help” build it, under heavy supervision. But still, how cool is it to have the opportunity to do this? I can tell you exactly how cool it is – $5800 cool. That’s how much Chevrolet charges for the PBC (“Corvette Engine Build Experience”) option on the Z06 and ZR1. PBC stands for Performance Build Center, which is the name of the facility in Wixom, Michigan that hand-builds the engines in those versions of the Corvette, as well as the Grand Sport’s.

Lest you cynically think that this is a way to avoid warranty coverage, GM says, “Like all engines assembled at the PBC, Engine Build Experience engines are covered by Chevy’s (sorry, I’ll try to use the more grown up word next time) five year / 100,000-mile transferable powertrain warranty.”

The cynic in me is shocked that the General would actually allow any moron with the money to enter their plant, let alone build an engine that will still have a warranty – even under the heavy supervision. GM’s legal staff must be pulling out what is left of their hair over this one. Remember, these are the same legal eagles that killed the Corvette ad that showed a kid dreaming about driving a Corvette, because it was irresponsible to have a kid driving. They also tried to kill a Chevy (really…I’m trying) ad that showed Chevrolet (ha! did it!) cars and trucks driving onto a car carrier already driving at highway speed.

Still, this is way cool, and if I had $5800 (on top of the $75,235 MSRP for a Z06 or $109,130 MSRP for a ZR1), I would sure do it. As Jim Campbell, VP of Chevrolet (twice in a row!) said, “Simply put, no other sports car manufacturer can match the level of personal customer involvement that Corvette offers. The Corvette Engine Build Experience takes this personal involvement to an unprecedented level.”

That’s what I (and Jim) think. How about you? Please leave your comments below.

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First, Chevrolet took some of the work from Campbell-Ewald, their ad agency for 91 years. Campbell-Ewald was Chevy’s partner for almost their entire existence, and was responsible for memorable ad campaigns such as “See the USA in Your Chevrolet”, “The Heartbeat of America”, “Like a Rock” and “American Revolution”.

Chevy gave the car and crossover work to Publicis late last year. Then, 4 weeks ago, Publicis was given the rest of the Chevy account.

Now, there’s a new sheriff in town, and he likes Goodby, Silverstein and Partners, so they now have the Chevrolet account all to themselves.

Certainly, GM and Chevrolet have the right to change their agency every week if want. But the awarding of multi-million dollar agency contracts shouldn’t be subject to the whim of the executive du jour. It should be based on some criteria that makes business sense. Publicis didn’t have the business long enough to have made any mistakes, and the awarding of the business to Goodby Silverstein and Partners happened too fast after the arrival of Joel Ewanick to have been the result of a true review. In fact, Goodby Silverstein and Partners had the Hyundai business while Ewanick was there. Coincidence? Hardly.

Chevy made the announcement today with the following statement:

All advertising work for the Chevrolet brand in the U.S. has been awarded to Goodby, Silverstein and Partners, moving from Publicis Worldwide and Campbell-Ewald.  This transition will begin immediately.

“Based on my personal experience working with Goodby, Silverstein and Partners, I’m confident they have the creativity and ability to take the iconic Chevrolet brand to the next level – and to do it fast,” said Joel Ewanick, vice president, U.S. Marketing.

“Chevrolet is focused on fuel-efficient cars, crossovers and trucks, as well as innovative advanced-technology products like the Volt.  With the Volt and the all-new Cruze launching later this year, we look forward to working with Goodby, Silverstein and Partners to build on the momentum that Chevrolet already has going in the market,” said Jim Campbell, U.S. vice president, Chevrolet Marketing.

Goodby, Silverstein and Partners will open an office in Detroit to support the Chevrolet account.  The agency worked with GM’s Saturn brand from 2002 until 2007.

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Automotive Super Bowl Ads

9th February 2010

Car makers are always among those who pony up the big bucks to advertise in the Super Bowl. This year was no exception, even though the 2 nickels to rub together would represent a doubling of the cash balance of certain automakers. Hyundai was the most prominent of all, having several ads and being the name sponsor of the kick-off show this year. The first 5 automotive ads were from Hyundai. Take a look.

Hyundai started off with a Tucson ad. It’s a fine ad, but the Super Bowl has raised expectations of its ads so that if it’s not really clever and original, it isn’t any good. There’s nothing wrong with this ad. On the contrary, it nicely tells you about a certain attribute and why you should care. It just doesn’t stand out at all on Super Sunday.

Then this Sonata ad. Ditto.

After the coin flip (won by the Saints – the 13th time in a row that the NFC has one the Super Bowl coin flip), Hyundai gave us this gem. This one’s better, as the visual grabs your attention.

About 15 minutes later, Hyundai gave us this one, which shows a Sonata getting its electrocharge bath and then getting painted. All this while Mozart’s and Shubert’s sonatas play in the background. Get it? Again, this one grabs your attention, especially if you’ve never seen how cars get a bath before being painted.

Then, there was the Brett Favre Hyundai ad, which poked fun at Favre – his age and his indecisiveness about retiring, while comparing his longevity to Hyundai’s. This one is the only Hyundai ad that really seems like a Super Bowl ad.

Finally, we get to an ad from somebody else. This next ad is from Dodge, and has generated controversy for 2 reasons. First, Chrysler was criticized by some gods of the Potomac for spending Super Bowl-type money to buy this ad time. Personally, I think they should buy the ad time if they think it will get them the exposure they need and make some sales. When Congress starts questioning ad buys, they’ve really gone out of their expertise, assuming they have any. Second, the ad itself, like a long line of Dodge advertising, has been blasted in some quarters for being sexist and denigrating – to both sexes! If you’ve offended everybody, then you really have accomplished something in my book.

During halftime, there was a local Ford Fusion ad (in Detroit), which I won’t bore you with. It compared the Fusion to the Toyota Camry, and gave a lease payment. Not really Super Bowl material.

Acura chimed in later in halftime with this ad for the ZDX. This wasn’t a new ad for the Super Bowl. I’ve made my views known about the ZDX, and this ad didn’t change anything. I think the “?” floating around her head at the beginning might mean she’s trying to figure out what the hell that “car” is that is driving by. Maybe it’s just me. As I said, it isn’t new, so it’s not surprising to say that it really isn’t Super Bowl material either.

Volkswagen chimed in next during the 3rd quarter. It shows a reinvention of an old game involving the bug. This spot is called Punch Dub. It’s clever and lives up to the demands of the Super Bowl audience.

The next auto ad is from Kia, Hyundai’s little brother. This one is very clever, with toys that have come to life living out their fantasies. Alas, at the end, they are back to their normal existence. This one is certainly Super Bowl material. Well done.

Honda gave us this ad for the Accord Crosstour, which fits into the same so-called “category” as the Acura ZDX. That is to say, “none.” I like the ad, though. It gets your attention and conveys the product attributes that Honda wants you to know.

Late in the 4th quarter, Audi gave us this gem. This ad works on all levels. It promotes the car’s 2 attributes that Audi wants to show – it’s economical or green and it’s fun to drive. It also grabs your attention and makes you want to watch it. Over and over again.

Later in the fourth, Hyundai ran the ad with the employees carrying the Sonata again. Then there was a Chevy ad not worthy of the Super Bowl, but it did show us that Chevy has 5 Consumer’s Digest Best Buys. Then, a final ad from Hyundai during the post-game, which is the only one (other than the Brett Favre one) worthy of the Super Bowl Ad moniker. Too bad fewer people saw it, as it was after the game.

So, which are the best? In my mind, there is no contest. Audi’s “Green Police” ad rose above the rest, followed closely by Dodge. They both do what a good ad does – get your attention and then tell you something important about the product so that you remember it. In Audi’s case, it’s the green/fun to drive. In Dodge’s, it’s the male image. That you might give up much on other topics, but you will not compromise your car.

That’s what I think – how about you? Please leave your comments below!

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It has been nearly 2 years since we first saw the Chevy Volt at the Detroit auto show, and we have been subjected to a nearly non-stop media and marketing assault since.  Chevrolet and GM have taken every opportunity to tell us how wonderful the Volt is (or rather, “will be”).  They have used it in corporate advertising, it has appeared on The Late Show with David Letterman and at every auto show on the planet in the last 2 years.  What you might not know is that it is also AT LEAST another year or more until anybody will have the opportunity to buy one, and then in only small numbers and in select areas of the country at the beginning.

In the latest example of this sensory overload, Chevy commissioned a Volt jingle.  No kidding – you read that right.  Chevy released this jingle last week at the LA Auto Show.  I’ll admit, it is a bit catchy.  It has a pleasant melody and attempts to educate and get you excited about the Volt.  But seriously, do we really need a Volt jingle more than a year before we might have a chance to buy this thing?  GM should be more focused on delivering the Volt on time and on budget and less on selling it before they have a single one to sell!  That said, click on the image below to hear the jingle.  Note that the images in the video are not provided by GM.  The video portion is the work of Lyle Dennis, who created, launched, maintains and writes the website gm-volt.com.  He’s a bit of a Volt-nut, but his work has gotten him recognition from the media and from GM.  GM has even given him the opportunity to drive a Volt prototype recently.

That’s what I think – how about you?  Please leave your comments below.

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