Sunday, August 26, 2012
Sunday, July 29, 2012
Wednesday, June 6, 2012
Tuesday, June 5, 2012
Friday, March 23, 2012
Amy Chozick’s NY Times story – 3/22/12 is an eye-opener. GM is reaching out to MTV execs to step up its game with the youngsters.
It’s difficult for a late boomer generation male like me, who grew up in a car-loving family in the car-dependant suburbs, to wrap my head around this: Young American consumers are losing interest in the automobile.
As far back as the automobile has existed, it’s been a vehicle for escape. We couldn’t wait to get behind the wheel because doing so meant getting away. Car keys equal freedom.
We were into muscle cars. The conversation was all about the size of your “motor” and whether you were packing mechanical or hydraulic lifters, or whether your dual exhaust tips were connected to a true dual exhaust system. Now the car itself seems to be of no interest to the 18-24 crowd. They want to know what digital toys it has.
I can understand that with social media and all the new ways young people now have to connect, they may be less dependent on cars. But do they, as Ross Martin of Viacom suggests in Amy’s piece, think of a car as a “giant bummer?” I guess it depends on the car. If it’s a banged up Hyundai Accent, yeah that’s pretty much a bummer. But I think GM's problem is the same problem they've had for a long time now. Their products are either priced out of reach of the entry-level 18-24 consumer, or they are stripped down "losermobiles" that practically scream, "Hey, go next door to the Kia or Scion store. You'll find something better."
Are high gas prices and ridiculous insurance premiums for 17-24 year-old drivers to blame? Certainly neither is helping matters. Consider also that for consumers in this age bracket, money is tight. Even the cheapest new car is pretty expensive. And driving is - shall we say - not much fun these days.
I think we’ve finally come to a fork in the road. Will this lack of interest continue to trend downward? Will the youngest drivers prefer to drive something old and funky, or nothing at all? It will be very interesting indeed to see if GM can really make the necessary cultural changes to make their cars appealing again to young consumers? Those wheels turn awfully slow.
Tuesday, March 20, 2012
Thursday, February 9, 2012
As reported in The Wall Street Journal today, Chrysler Group's National Dealer Council has come out with a unified statement defending the company against complaints about the “Halftime in America” Super Bowl ad.
After an emergency meeting, here’s their statement…
"We have no doubt that this ad had no political agenda of any kind but rather [was] a statement of fact and hope for the future for all of us and America.”
This is not an insignificant development. To have a group of car dealers – often the most “hard core” of retailers – to come together like this, or to agree on anything for that matter, is quite an accomplishment.
Oliver Francois, Chrysler's chief marketing officer and architect of the ad (with some help from a really good agency called Weiden+Kennedy) said he finds the controversy perplexing. "It was designed to deliver emotions and I don't think emotions have a party. There was zero political message. It was meant more of a rally cry to get together and what makes us strong is our collective power and not our individual disagreements."
While Chrysler and Jeep vehicles were shown in the ad, there wasn’t a gas mileage claim or cash-back offer in sight. The ad gave viewers something to think about and, as Mr. Francois points out, something to feel.
Bravo, Chrysler dealers. Your brand, and every one of your franchises, just got a bit more valuable.
Tuesday, February 7, 2012
It’s halftime in America, and we just can’t resist the urge to politicize everything. Just because it’s an election year, does everybody have to go completely nuts? Does everything have to somehow contain a subliminal, one-sided political message? As Corey Williams of the AP points out, it really does depend on whom you ask. So go ahead, make my day. Ask me.
What I saw was the next step in a progressive, extremely well produced campaign.
In last year’s Super Bowl, the spot that introduced the Chrysler 200 and the “Imported from Detroit” tagline overshadowed everything else. Why? Because of the way it was produced. It was intelligent. No talking smart-ass baby. No slingshot baby. No scantily clad babes. Sure, they were introducing a new model, but did they produce something that looked like every other car spot? No. They had a message to deliver.
This time around, the cinematic two-minute spot featuring Clint Eastwood, an American icon himself, took the campaign to the next level, and blew everything else away. Good advertising should make you think, and feel something. Nice job, Wieden+Kennedy.
But in sharp contrast to the intelligence and artistry of that spot, there’s Carl Rove on Fox News yesterday, feeding the basic instincts of the conservative faithful by saying he was "offended" and characterizing the Chrysler spot as an Obama campaign message. Really? Is he implying that because Chrysler took the $12.5 billion in government bailout money they aren’t entitled to convey an important message? A message about an American brand – and an American city – making a comeback? Does this guy have any idea what he’s talking about? Or maybe he’s offended because this ad recalls Reagan’s 1984 “Morning in America” spot by the late, great Hal Riney. Maybe he's just bitter because he's never had the opportunity - or the ability - to craft messages as well.
And what is Rove driving? Probably a Honda.
Saturday, January 14, 2012
Just finished up with call for entries week for the Addy Awards. That's the American Advertising Federation's local/regional/national creative competition that invites all kinds of creative work with divisions for both professional and student entries. If our local chapter - AAF-Suncoast's - experience is any indication of what's to come in this post-recession "new normal" economy, there's cause for optimism. The fact is - entries are up this year by around 30 percent. I can point to a few reasons for this - the market is doing better, lots of local people are making a profit again, not just living hand-to-mouth.