SOMETHING 'DIFFERENT' FOR DODGE THEME LINE: DAIMLERCHRYSLER SCRAPS 'NEW' TAG AS BRANDING CAMPAIGN STARTS UP

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Say goodbye to the "New Dodge."

DaimlerChrysler is ditching that advertising theme and adopting "Dodge different," which will appear with the ram's-head logo between the two words.

A new branding campaign from BBDO Worldwide, Southfield, Mich., debuts this week on outdoor boards in Detroit. It will expand to national TV and print advertising in September.

LARGEST CAMPAIGN EVER

Dodge said the new work will be the largest and most comprehensive print and TV campaign in its 85-year history.

"New Dodge" bowed in 1992 for the 1993 Intrepid to introduce the brand's product overhaul and shift from boxy, boring K-cars.

"The change is really needed, given all the distance Dodge has covered since the early '90s under the New Dodge and the barrage of new products," said Jim Julow, general manager of the division.

"Our customers today have told us we're different-different than we used to be and different from our competitors," he said.

Dodge sales through July rose 6.8% vs. the first seven months of last year. But the division's market share has slipped 0.2 percentage points during the period. The crown jewel, the Caravan minivan, has fresh Japanese competition, and the Ram has the oldest design in the full-size pickup segment.

Mr. Julow refused to give the budget; the brand received $602 million in measured media spending last year, according to Competitive Media Reporting.

DEALERS URGED TO RUN ADS

Dealer ad associations again are being urged to run the brand ads in their markets. The groups now spend roughly 15% of their total budgets for brand and national product ads, said Mr. Julow.

BBDO will create 57 TV commercials vs. the 17 it did last year, said Dick Johnson, chairman-executive creative director of the Southfield office.

The agency also developed 12 print and six outdoor ads. The executions show no cars, but attempt to position Dodge as innovative and bold.

Mr. Johnson said he agonized over the "different" line, because he didn't want Dodge to be perceived as copying Apple Computer's "Think different" ad tag.

"With 'different,' we are wearing a badge people [already] perceive we are [wearing]," he said.

Print ads break Sept. 1, with outdoor in cities outside Detroit and national TV commercials arriving Sept. 7.

Actor Ed Hermann, who has pitched Dodge onscreen since 1992, will be heard but not seen in new commercials.

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