Isuzu looks to pick its spots

By Published on .

Sometimes, less is more. At least that's what American Isuzu Motors wants to prove by decreasing TV ad spending.

After a 50% spike to $137 million in total ad spending in 1998, the maker of VehiCross and Trooper dropped spending to $82 million in 1999 to focus advertising on narrowly defined demographics.

DEEMPHASIZE NETWORK

For this upfront season, the automaker will deemphasize spending on prime-time network shows in favor of alternative cable fare.

Media buyer SFM Media, New York, found opportunities on cable's athletic events in recent years. Those events generate a perfect synergy between the positioning and the media, says SFM Chief Operating Officer Steve Farella. Some Isuzu buys SFM made were during triathalons and Discovery Channel's "Eco-Challenge."

Placing Isuzu in such events as "Escape From Alcatraz" triathalon, Mr. Farella says, identifies the automaker's vehicles with strength, endurance, aggressiveness and the ability to "Go farther," which is the the tagline. Goodby, Silverstein & Partners, San Francisco, handles creative.

ALL TIED TOGETHER

"The market definition, creative platform and psychographic targeting for Isuzu was successfully implemented through the media selection, which clearly tied together all aspects of the campaign," he says.

By putting a greater emphasis on certain cable programming, Isuzu hopes to reach a smaller demographic -- those people who play hard -- more times. Isuzu predicted it hit more than 100 million consumers in 1999 with its advertising. In 2000, it wants to reach only 39 million, but more often.

Contributing: Mark Rechtin and Shirley Henderson.

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