MITSUBISHI PLOWS $30 MILLION INTO OUTLANDER LAUNCH

Spot Features New Release From French Rock Band

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DETROIT (AdAge.com) -- Mitsubishi Motor Sales of America has put more than $30 million behind the fourth-quarter
The spot features a new song by the obscure French band Telepopmusik.
launch of its first small sport utility vehicle, the 2003 Outlander.

The national TV push beginning today is 70% broadcast network with the rest hitting cable. The automaker's advertising agency, Interpublic Group of Cos.' Deutsch, Los Angeles, created a single 60-second spot showing a young man mature from bachelor to father behind the SUV's wheel. The ad blitz includes a print campaign appearing in magazines and major-market newspapers.

How many spots?
Deutsch struggled with whether it needed two spots to reach Outlander's dual target of 20-somethings and couples in their mid- to late 30s with children, said Eric Hirshberg, managing partner and executive creative director at the agency. But he said the sole Outlander spot shows how the vehicle matures with its owners.

The Outlander spot

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continues Mistubishi's music-themed ad approach, featuring the song "Breathe" from an obscure French band Telepopmusik. Many people are introduced to new artists through Mitsubishi's commercials, said Greg O'Neill, the automaker's president and chief operating officer. The use of virtually unknown performers in Mitsubishi's TV ads portrays the brand as a "cool friend who knows things you don't," he added.

One act, the U.K. band Dirty Vegas, made its U.S. debut on national TV courtesy an ad for the Eclipse featuring the song "Days Go By," which became a hit song in the U.S.

Promotional CD
When the brand and the music attract press attention or are discussed on radio or TV shows, it extends the marketer's reach. To help that process along, the marketer has an online promotion offering a CD of "Mitsubishi Songs" from earlier ad camapigns to test drivers of the Outlander, Mr. O'Neill said, adding that 60,000 CDs are available.

Mr. O'Neill projected sales of roughly 40,000 Outlanders, which sell for between $19,000 and $24,000, in its first full year in 2003. He doesn't expect the new model to cannibalize sales of the brand's Montero SUV models, which range from in price from $23,000 to $27,000.

Mitsibishi advertises its "triple-zero" deals (zero down, zero payments for a year, zero-percent financing) at the end of its TV spots. But the incentive isn't offered on the new Outlander.

Mr. O'Neill said Mitsubishi's projected 2003 sales are 360,000 units, which would mark the brand's fourth-straight annual record. Through September, the Cypress, Calif.-based carmaker sold 261,328 vehicles, a 13.6% jump from a year ago, according to AdAge.com sibling Automotive News.

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