ISUZU SLAMS CARS IN ADS FOR ITS TRUCKS AND SUVS: VEHICLE SIZE IS A KEY ATTRIBUTE IN $20 MIL PUSH FOR RODEO, TROOPER

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American Isuzu Motor Co. assaults cars in a humorous new TV campaign for its trucks and sport-utility vehicles, breaking next month.

In four spots for its 1999 Rodeo and Trooper, Isuzu dismisses cars as being so small that passengers have their visibility blocked by objects such as roadside guard rails. Cars are derided as vehicles for people who simply want to get to work, not for those interested in seeing the world.

In addition to TV, outdoor advertising is planned, with boards using headlines such as "No cars."

`WE DON'T MAKE CARS'

The campaign, with spending pegged at about $20 million through the end of the year, will maintain the Isuzu tag of "Go farther," but adds a line boasting, "We don't make cars."

Goodby, Silverstein & Partners, San Francisco, is the agency.

The campaign breaks at a time when sport-utility vehicles have come under fire from safety experts as causing serious injuries to auto passengers in accidents involving cars.

Research has found, however, that persons intending to buy sport-utility vehicles see them as safer for themselves and their passengers because they're taller, larger vehicles, one industry executive said.

Isuzu spent $91 million in measured media in 1997, according to Competitive Media Reporting. The auto marketer late last year put its total 1998 advertising budget at $120 million.

The brand's U.S. sales dipped slightly through August, at 64,620 vehicles vs. 65,316 in the same period a year ago, according to Automotive News.

Contributing: Jean Halliday.

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