Saturday, January 2, 2010
The short: Introducing the new 2010 Fallon spot for the Chrysler family of fine auto products that broke during the bowl games this weekend. (For all music freaks out there, the song is The Temper Trap by Sweet Disposition.)
The long: I guess I just don’t get what GM and Chrysler are doing anymore in terms of the direction* the industry is headed in. There’s a lot of baggage for GM and Dodge to overcome, yet they run more of the same feel-good big budget spots.
Is the new work, to use the words of Chrysler and marketing head Olivier Francois, as innovative as they say they want it to be? I read the background on the spot and totally get the heritage thing, as well as the idea of being home for the holidays.
Executed perfectly, it does what you’ve come to expect in terms of metaphor as brand promise coupled with lavish production. “Innovative” needs to be more than a series of the same old mass-market feel-good :30 spots however.
It’s not enough to tell people your cars are good anymore.
But as much as Chrysler wants to push this idea that they’ve now emerged from bankruptcy with a new identity, why does it feel like it’s selling me on the heritage of America and a lost promise of Buy American? (I question how pushing four different brands—Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep and Ram—solidifies the idea of one company in the minds of consumers, but, that’s another issue.)
If that’s indeed what’s at work here though, does a Buy American message resonate anymore?
For some it does. For others though, it doesn’t address where they see imports still being in terms of quality. I’ve driven most of the new stuff Detroit has put out these past three years, and while they’ve improved things a lot—they don’t seem to be there yet.
Maybe that’s enough for now though, you know? Don’t try and come off better than Toyota et al. as Howie Long and GM are, because you’re only setting yourself up to be proven wrong in any comparison test.
Rather, just convince buyers with that anti-American grudge that, well, you don’t suck as much as they think.
The ad scene in Minneapolis is glad Fallon has a car account like this, and that’s a good thing. Echoing David’s point on AdPulp: Chrysler needs to let Fallon do what they do, not want Chrysler wants.
But I’ll take great product over great ads. The one thing Howie fails to mention in his gas milage come-on is that American cars are getting hammered on resale value and durability. It’s something that historically they’ve lagged behind imports in.
I’m not sure how even if Chrysler or GM actually manage to “rebuild” their reps, that they still won’t be able to do any better than they’d previously done in these categories.
But at least their spots will kick ass.
*Disclaimer: Since I’ve bought a lot of Detroit product over the years and since taxpayers now own GM, yeah, this is me and my right to speak out because I paid for their ads.