Instead of Bed Sheets, Consider Gifting Newlyweds a Dodge Dart

By Published on .

When registering for gifts, most people opt for gravy boats or silverware. But what about a car?

Chrysler is trying to redefine a wedding ritual with "The Dodge Dart Registry," a site that lets engaged couples raise money toward purchasing a new car by asking their friends and family to chip in.

Created for the 2013 Dodge Dart, the site lets customers configure and customize the car, then set a goal for how much money they need in order to make it theirs. Family or friends can sponsor specific parts of the new car, such as an engine or a steering wheel.

Designed by Wieden & Kennedy, Portland, Ore., the site also lets those hankering after a new Dodge connect their registry to Facebook or Twitter. It is powered by crowd-funding platform RocketHub. Once a registrant reaches either the expiration date on his appeal, or the funding goal, he or she can opt out with RocketHub, which will verify the information and send that person a check. "Hopefully the social community can make sure that they use it for the car," said Jason Russ, head of Dodge brand advertising.

On the site, users have the option of "creating a registry" or "funding a registry." And if you want to do neither, there's an "activity feed" that lets you check out other members' pages and find out what they have been receiving funding for. At the time of writing, there were five members on the site. The appeals are heartfelt. "Eric," for example, writes: "Bottom line. ... I need a car that makes you want to get out of bed and go to work in the morning ... just so you can drive it. The Dodge Dart does just that."

Mr. Russ said the campaign aims to give people a way to purchase a car. "I'm sure you've seen ads that run during the holiday season with a car with a bow on top," he said. "What makes this different is that nobody has really taken a car and dissected it into different parts."

Still, some skeptics aren't convinced. Karl Heiselman, CEO of global brand consultancy Wolff Olins, said it's a "really interesting idea, but a wedding-like registry doesn't appear to be a good match for this brand. The Dodge Dart has a heritage of reliability, value and muscle," he said. "Perhaps a better way to engage the young, independent audience that's attracted to this car is through a competition -- one with humor and sex appeal at its heart."

The campaign also includes a new spot, "How to Change Buying Cars Forever," also by Wieden, part of the same campaign that began with the 90-second "How to Change Cars Forever" film in July last year.

According to Automotive News, the Dodge Dart posted its best-ever sales month in December last year, with total U.S. sales in 2012 ending at 25,303 units.

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