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Big Multi-Media Campaigns Scheduled:

NEW CHRYSLER SEBRING AND NEW DODGE NITRO SUV TO GET MAJOR BACKING

by Marty Bernstein
Marketing & Advertising Editor

This week, most automotive news was supposed to emanate from Las Vegas, home of the annual SEMA Show. While SEMA is interesting, unusual, crowded, spread-out, did I mention crowded, filled with displays from hundreds (thousands?) of vendors and exotic one-of-a-kinds it is based on adding to and enhancing existing models of cars, trucks, crossovers and SUVs in the aftermarket, as it is called.

While SEMA was underway, the big new car news was being made in Detroit. Twice this week two DaimlerChrysler divisions have shown new marketing and advertising campaigns for new vehicles to those of us who did not attend SEMA.

These presentations were made in the comfort of the Walter P. Chrysler Museum and in a funky restaurant in the suburbs. Both campaigns were concise, clear communications of ambitious and aggressive efforts the brand’s were taking to capture new audiences – make that customers – in new vehicle segments or to appeal to new demographics.

The Chrysler Sebring Campaign

The large and very competitive U.S. mid-size sedan market presents us with a great opportunity to showcase the 2007 Chrysler Sebring," said David Rooney, Director – Chrysler Marketing and Global Communications. "We're taking this all-new car into an environment where traditional TV and print ads are not enough to reach our target audiences because their media consumption habits are highly diverse.

So the marketing campaign for the 2007 Chrysler Sebring will use multiple tools in a very focused and dynamic way. In so doing, we're going to educate discerning customers about this great vehicle so that the all-new Chrysler Sebring earns top-of-mind consideration among consumers."

The campaign kicked off on November 1 when a commercial called “wind tunnel” first appeared. This commercial highlights some of the interior features of the 2007 Chrysler Sebring.

An engineer watches from his control booth as the all-new Chrysler Sebring is tested in a wind tunnel facility. When he leaves the room to get a cup of coffee, a stream of smoke racing over the car decides to take a closer look at Sebring's interior. The voice-over explains the MyGIG™ Infotainment System, the heated and cooled cup holder and the refined leather-trimmed interior as the smoke passes over each one. The smoke exits the vehicle and returns to its normal duties just as the engineer returns to the control booth.

There are four print ads that emphasize the vehicle's eye-catching design, while the copy will focus on the brains behind the good looks and creature features detailed in the television commercial. The campaign also includes:

  ·          Internet placements, including search and home page roadblocks 
  ·          Podcasting 
  ·          Internet games 
  ·          e-direct campaign 
  ·          125,000 interactive CDs mailed to hand-raisers 
  ·          Product integration on cable TV programs tie-ins with the Time 
             magazine Person of the Year and People magazine's 
             "Sexiest Man Alive " issues 
  ·          Consumer events 
  ·          Direct mail
  ·          Sweepstakes and promotions

In addition Sebring will have special advertising campaigns targeted at African American, Asian and Hispanic consumers. Product integration in cable TV programming tied to sponsorships will play an important role in marketing the 2007 Chrysler Sebring. The new sedan will be the highlighted vehicle during such programs as "Movie Night" on Oxygen, "TBS Movie Extra Spotlight" on TBS, and "Character Road Trip" on the USA Network.

The Dodge Nitro Campaign

This is the new mid-size SUV the Dodge division hopes will attract younger male buyers to a segment dominated by older female buyers. Mark Spencer, senior manager, Dodge marketing and global communications, noted, “This is an all new name-plate for us in an all new market segment, mid-size SUVs and is getting broad attention, investment and exposure in a wide variety of mediums.”

The focal point of the Dodge Nitro marketing campaign, the Dodge brand Web site has been drastically improved to meet the needs of shoppers who routinely visit the Web long before they visit a dealer commented Tom Loveless, director Dodge marketing and global communications.

The redesigned website for the Dodge Nitro has more rich media, more dynamic photos, more video and more sound than the previous site. There is information on more than 50 product features, including exterior styling, the five-passenger seating and other interior features, safety systems such as Electronic Stability Program, powertrain options, including the new 4.0-liter V-6 engine, modules like the new LOAD 'N GO™ cargo floor, tech features like the optional MyGIG™ Multimedia Infotainment System, pricing and more.

The new site was described as being more intuitive. It provides a virtual walk-around tour of the vehicle. There is more relevant purchase information. We even streamlined the credit application process that interfaces with Chrysler Financial.

Television is carrying a major load in the Nitro campaign. Two commercials shot in high definition were shown. In a :60-second spot called "Planet," a crane is off-loading a 2007 Dodge Nitro from a ship when the chains break, sending the vehicle crashing to the ground. It breaks through the pavement and begins a downward journey, first past a subway station and then through the Earth's sub-terrain. The Nitro falls past strange underground scenery -- both dry and wet -- inhabited by dinosaurs and gnome-like creatures. After dropping past Hell, the vehicle reaches China, where it crashes through the terrain on its roof, then rights itself on all four wheels, all without a scratch.

The other called "Jump" which was seen during the World Series, takes place in a parking lot. A motorist whose car won't start asks the driver of a Dodge Nitro, "Could you give me a jump?" After the battery cables are attached between the two vehicles, the Dodge Nitro owner cranks the engine, which sends the stalled vehicle straight up in the air, out of view. After a few seconds the car comes crashing to the ground. The driver, wobbly but unhurt, starts to exit his mangled car, only to have the driver door come off in his hand.

In addition there are four,15-second African American television spots. Print is not forgotten either, but only concepts were shown as the ads themselves were still in development. The Nitro is also backed with product integration into video games and in special events.