Last week, it was reported that car sales by the US big three (GM, Chrysler and Ford) were up, so I guess they can be satisfied with how things are going.
But it still feels like status quo to me, especially when you consider the marketing.
Chrysler, who has fought the movement toward foreign-made cars with its “Imported from Detroit” approach, is going one further with its new campaign called, “Born Makers.” It proposes that what makes America great is how we look ahead, with grit, determination and smarts.
But the Chrysler ad campaign runs into the same old problems. It’s about Chrysler. It’s not truly about us.
Advertising, even in television, is often seen in a snapshot. In other words, they should be simple and direct because viewers don’t study them the way marketers do. They just react.
In the case of automobile advertising, most of it just becomes a blur. They often have the same tone. There is always the scenic drive, and sometimes shots within the factory – especially if you want the process to look muscular.
That’s what you get in Chrysler’s new campaign, which means there’s no real place for the consumer to see themselves. Chrysler may think viewers are seeing themselves as American, but the main point seems to be that Chrysler is American. Therefore, we should buy.
First of all, I’m not sure that is the highest emotional intensity in the market. Sure, the big three are surging (despite GM’s recalls), but Toyota still remains in the No. 1 slot and I don’t think it’s because of where it’s made (or not made).
Most of all, though, the campaign – and like so many in the industry – is about the cars and the manufacturers. They don’t tell you who you are when you drive a Chrysler or what makes you different than those who drive the competition. (Oh, you mean Ford and GM aren’t American?)
When are automobile manufacturers going to get it? For sake of clarity, we at Stealing Share have had discussions with a few of those manufacturers but there is always the wall that “automobile marketing is different.”
No, it’s not. And that’s the problem. It’s all the same.