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Posts Tagged ‘auto ads’

Volkswagen Bringing its A-Game for The Big Game

Great ad can set the stage for entire sales year.

by on Jan.22, 2014

Volkswagen is ready for this year's Super Bowl ad campaign with its latest commercial.

Now that the Seattle Seahawks’ Richard Sherman is done yelling at San Francisco 49er Michael Crabtree, the focus of sports fans everywhere will be squarely planted on Super Bowl XLVIII on Feb. 2, and Volkswagen appears to be ready.

The game is perhaps the world’s biggest stage for advertising with 30-second ad rates costing $4 million. This year, Mercedes-Benz, Kia, Jaguar, Hyundai, Volkswagen and General Motors are all said to have purchased time.

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Much like the teams playing the event, companies work hard to make sure they’re bringing their A-game with their advertisements. The ads can be the stuff of legend: good and bad. (more…)

Cadillac Goes Rogue

Maker lines up new agency for nearly $250 million account.

by on Jun.12, 2013

Rogue will have the challenge of making sure Cadillac's new CTS line is a success.

Cadillac is going Rogue – the Detroit-based luxury maker lining up a new agency by that name to handle nearly $250 million in annual spending as it struggles to regain its former grandeur in a luxury market today largely dominated by German competitors.

GM has struggled for several decades with declining sales directly related to its stodgy and outdated image. The maker has been trying to attract a younger, more upscale audience with a combination of new products and hipper advertising such as the “Cadillac v The World campaign” it ran to introduce the new ATS during last year’s Olympics.

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But it now plans to part ways with Fallon, the agency it had been using since 2010, in favor of Rogue, a new firm that actually brings together three separate different agencies that operate under the Interpublic Group banner. That includes Hill Holiday, Lowe and Partners and Campbell-Ewald. It is, in fact, an especially sweet victory for the latter firm, which recently moved its headquarters from the suburb of Warren, Michigan to downtown Detroit.

Caddy's old agency, Fallon, produced the "Cadillac v the World" ad campaign.

Campbell-Ewald nearly collapsed a few years ago when it lost the $600 million Chevrolet account it had held for 91 years. While it will now have to share Caddy, which reportedly billed $244 million last year, it’s still an important addition to the portfolio for the firm.

The choice of Rogue followed the requisite shoot-off between ad agencies, though there has been a buzz for more than a month that Campbell-Ewald would likely have some role – underscored by the firm’s decision to move back downtown.

Suggesting all the agencies vying for the account had “demonstrated a high level of thinking,” Cadillac’s global boss Bob Ferguson stressed that, “We selected Rogue because its strategic insights, creative vision for Cadillac and strong luxury and automotive experience were the best match for our global growth plan.”

The word, global, is critical in the equation.  While Cadillac has long billed itself as the “standard for the world,” it has really been limited to the North American market.  And while it was long the number one luxury brand in the U.S. it was eclipsed more than a decade ago by German marques Mercedes-Benz and BMW, and Japan’s Lexus – the numbers one, two and three in American sales for the calendar-year-to-date.

The Germans, in particular, have a significant advantage in that their global presence brings higher sales and revenues that can better fund product development programs.

Cadillac has struggled to develop a presence in Europe, though after a decade it still has relatively little to show for that effort. It is meanwhile pressing hard to gain a solid foothold in China where it is just launching production of the big XTS sedan. Parent General Motors is the second largest maker in that booming Asian nation, behind Volkswagen – whose Audi brand is China’s best-selling luxury car marque.

Michael Roth, the chairman of the Interpublic Group, emphasized the global nature of the new account by promising the three-agency team would bring together talent and knowledge “domestically and around the world.”

Cadillac already has other agencies it works with beyond U.S. borders but Rogue is expected to take the lead, especially in terms of developing coordinated messaging worldwide.

The account will be managed out of Campbell-Ewald’s new Detroit headquarters but Hill Holiday will oversee creative work.

The agency switch may be particularly frustrating for Fallon on the losing end. The agency’s ads may have taken some hits from media critics but it has also been able to point to a marked upturn in Cadillac’s performance in the car market. The GM flagship brand’s sales surged 40% in May, among the strongest upturns in the industry.

Of course, it helps to have major new products such as the big XTS and the smaller ATS – the latter named North American Car of the Year last January by a jury of 50 U.S. and Canadian auto writers.

But the switch also comes at a critical juncture for Cadillac. An even more new product, the completely redesigned CTS, will go on sale later this year. The sedan has been Caddy’s best-seller and the maker has high hopes for the new, third-generation model that will be more directly aimed at such critical competitors as the Mercedes-Benz E-Class, BMW 5-Series, Audi A5 and Lexus GS. Cadillac will need a strong ad message to stand out in such a daunting crowd.

Marty’s Marketing Minutia: Who the Hell is in Charge at GM?

Time to stop blaming Joel Ewanick.

by on Mar.15, 2013

GM would like to blame all its sales and marketing woes on former CMO Joel Ewanick - but maybe it needs to point elsewhere, says columnist Bernstein.

The advertising business is loaded with cliches but perhaps the most pertinent is, “An agency is only as good as the client lets it be!” Yet, when the ads aren’t working it never turns out to be the clients fault, it’s always the agency’s.  Ha! It is the client who establishes the marketing goals and objectives, often in a vacuum of reality, understanding and experience.

And then there’s the wonderful phrase, “We have a strong agency – client relationship!” Double-Ha! That’s the kiss of death. There is no such thing as a long lasting agency/client relationship. At best it is confrontational, more likely acrimonious and seldom harmonious.

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The ad agency news this week emanating from General Motors’ Renaissance Center headquarters makes the political mess in Washington seem almost trivial, doesn’t it? The rather nasty innuendos and evil repercussions are intended to put the blame on one person, Joel Ewanick, which is a crock. True, as global Chief Marketing Officer, Ewanick had plenipotentiary powers bestowed on him by the CEO and board of directors. But the marketing ship was already floundering with its sails and rudders gone and no captain. And it’s unclear anyone really wanted Ewanick to do what was necessary to make GM’s marketing operations ship-shape.

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Ewanick Legacy “Gone,” GM Marketing in Turmoil

Caddy and Chevy accounts shift; will Buick-GMC follow?

by on Mar.14, 2013

Tippett Studios, which created the fantasy world in Jurassic Park, now helps Buick's Encore dodge dinosaurs in a new ad campaign.

General Motors’ marketing operations are a step short of chaos, according to sources close to the maker, with two of GM’s most important brands set to review – and likely make major changes to – their ad agency partnerships.

Chevrolet is the latest to be looking for new talent after a disappointing effort to turn to an unusual partnership between two of the advertising industry’s largest agencies. The largest of the GM brands is also getting a new global marketing chief of its own next month. As TheDetroitBureau.com previously reported, Cadillac also is switching ad agencies.

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The reported moves mean that the legacy of former GM global marketing czar Joel Ewanick is largely “gone,” according to an industry veteran. Ironically, it appears that the latest shake-up involves a game of musical chairs, some of the agencies coming back to GM having had long associations with the maker in the past.

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Marty’s Marketing Minutia – Super Ad Brawl Countdown

My Take on This Year’s Auto Commercials

by on Feb.01, 2013

Kia will introduce the Hotbots in its Forte ad. Will they become the maker's next "hamstars"?

We’re rapidly approaching that annual celebration of advertising excess known as the Super Bowl.  And this year’s event, XLVII is already creating headlines, as the debate over Volkswagen’s Jamaican-themed spot demonstrated this past week. Almost 40% of the ads that will air on CBS’s broadcast of the game-of-the-year are auto ads. But unlike past years, there’ll be far fewer surprises as leaks, sneaks and previews have become an important component of the actual broadcast.

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Eight car brands are running ads, the question is, “Who is going to have the best car commercial in the broadcast?”

After a review of all spots so far released, here are links to the ads, my picks and rationale for their ranking and when each will run in the game so you don’t miss ‘em.

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Marty’s Marketing Minutia: Taking Gas

Memorial Day special edition.

by on May.27, 2011

Nissan's new ad campaign examines a world where everything is powered by gas.

Nissan Leaf ad asks what would happen if everything used gas

Have you filled the tank of your new Nissan Leaf?  Excuse me? Nissan’s new Leaf campaign takes a tongue-in-cheek look at what would happen if everything in our daily lives used gasoline and the problems that would cause. This somewhat different approach comes from the brand’s creative manifesto which, in part asks, “What if everything ran on gas? No electricity. No renewables. Just gas.” Like your alarm clock and your dentist’s drill’

But everything doesn’t run on gas,” the series points out. “Most things run on electricity, which is clan, and quiet and uses fewer parts, and needs less maintenance. Most things can be plugged in and charged up and don’t need a tank or a pump.”

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And the payoff is of course the all-electric Leaf.  When questioned about this approach, Jon Brancheau, Nissan’s vice president of marketing commented, “By using humor and asking the simple question, ‘what if everything ran on gas’ we’re able to rationally make the case that electric cars’ time has arrived.”

The campaign is a full multimedia push using television, online, print and direct marketing to convey the message. And the campaign, which breaks Monday, Memorial Day, takes every day products and situations and injects gas-powered-humor to sell the Leaf with these four :15-second teaser commercials: (more…)

Kia Takes Ad Award With Hip-Hop Soul Campaign

Making $13 bil in auto ads pay off.

by on Apr.21, 2011

Kia's "ham-stars" take top ad honors.

The incredibly popular Kia hamsters scored big in the 2011 Nielsen Automotive Advertising Award.  The automaker’s latest campaign, which put the soul in the Kia Soul, was named Ad of the Year at a New York Auto Show news conference.

Spending on automotive advertising surged to a record $13 billion in the U.S. last year, carmakers putting about 4,400 different commercials in front of TV viewers in a bid to get potential customers into showrooms.

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“Today’s TV viewer is drinking from a firehose,” said Iain Beavis, Nielsen Automotive’s executive vice president.

The problem, said Beavis, during an event attended by several thousand automotive executives and reporters, is that there are all too many ineffective ads that are “wasting your money.”

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Marty’s Marketing Minutia:

Hellos, Farewells, and Hail Hearties

by on Apr.01, 2011

David E. Davis, photo courtesy Martyn Goddard.

DED, Jr., RIP

As others, far more literate than I, have written and attested these past sad days of remembrance, David E. Davis, along with his automotive accomplishments, was the epitome of a bon vivant, raconteur and boulevardier, the personification of the Renaissance man and a damned good friend.

David E. and I first met at Campbell-Ewald in the early ‘70’s when he was the creative director and I was a suit but we hit it off. He suffered all suits poorly. So I must assume he took pity on me. If DED didn’t like an interoffice memo one of two rubber stamps would be stamped and returned. One said Bull Shit the other Don’t Patronize Me. Wish now I’d saved mine.

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After both of us moved on to entrepreneurial endeavors, our paths seldom crossed but were highlighted when we met in London at Turnbull and Asser while both of us were ordering shirts. Then, ten years ago, after my first ad review column appeared in Automotive News, he called complimenting me on the new career. And thus began a regular series of lunches and dinners in Ann Arbor to discuss today and tomorrow but seldom sad or bad yesterdays along with tidbits about good friends, former colleagues, superb wines, great cars and the wonders of bespoke clothing and fine shirts.

 

Along with countless others I will miss him.

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Marty’s Marketing Minutia – Super Bowl Redux

Super Bowl auto ads not super with panels.

by on Feb.08, 2011

VW's Darth Vader spot - one of the few automotive ads to resonate with viewers during the Super Bowl.

It doesn’t matter which reviewer, panel or research group has measured, evaluated or analyzed the 60 commercials in Super Bowl XLV, with rare exception, the game’s automotive ads did not resonate with consumers.

(Or did they? Click Here to check this take on Chrysler’s spot with rapper Eminem that has everyone talking – and linking to YouTube.)

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In the USA Today ranking, the go-to-list for many, the only auto ad in the Top 10 was the Volkswagen’s “The Force” (Darth Vader) ad at #3 was the most effective automotive ad (10% more effective than the average Super Bowl ad) in a Super Bowl dominated by auto manufacturers based on data supplied to me by Ace Metrix.

“The Super Bowl became the Auto Bowl this year with 19 automotive ads versus 8 a year ago,” said Peter Daboll, CEO of Ace Metrix and author of “How to Make a Winning Super Bowl Ad.” “VW’s ‘The Force’ was a hit across all demographic groups, harnessing the right mix of likeability, watchability and cute.”

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Marty’s Marketing Minutia – Super Bowl Edition

Gridiron gridlock as 8 brands vie for a nation's attention.

by on Feb.04, 2011

Chevy hopes for some volcanic results from its Silverado Tommy Super Bowl ad.

Sunday, over 100 million viewers will turn their dials to Fox for the 45th broadcast of the Super Bowl, America’s annual homage to the NFL — and new commercials.  Auto advertisers are showing muscle on the annual broadcast, each kicking in at least $3 million per :30-second commercial (a record $100,000 per second!) — plus at least a million or two million bucks more for production, music and talent.

It will be gridlock on the gridiron, with Audi, BMW, Chrysler, Chevrolet, Hyundai, Kia, Mercedes, VW and Suzuki — along with auto sector players CarMax, Cars.com and Bridgestone — popping for big bucks to convince, persuade, motivate millions to visit their dealers’ showrooms.  And don’t forget other makers, like Ford, who will establish a presence on the pre- and post-game shows or by targeting regional outlets, rather than network buys.  The real winner is Fox, with ad sales estimated to reach $280 to $300 million for XLV.

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History has shown, and research has proven, most American’s love Super Bowl commercials, it’s a significant part of the event’s entertainment and for some who really don’t like football, commercials become the event itself. But a commercial has to meet the rigorous Super Bowl standards of excellence and quality in every element and detail of the commercial; to start with, it must be entertaining.

(For another take on Super Bowl’s sundary auto ads, Click Here.)

Running just a regular product or service commercial is, many ad experts and media mavens believe, a total waste of money no matter the ad category. These non-entertaining commercials, other than the game itself are often the perfect time to take a bathroom break or grab a cool one.  There are just too many car commercials which I believe will confuse more than convince as the game goes on.

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