British Band Makes U.S. Debut in Car Commercial

Dirty Vegas Aligns Tour With Mitsubishi Ad Campaign

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DETROIT ( -- Mitsubishi Motor Sales USA's latest music-themed ad is not only the launch spot for the freshened 2003 Eclipse coupe but also the U.S. debut of a British pop band.

'Popping' is a new commercial as well as a band's U.S. debut.

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In the 30-second spot, a female passenger in the Eclipse is seen "popping" -- an '80s dance style -- to U.K. band Dirty Vegas. With the ad, Dirty Vegas makes its U.S. debut March 11 on national TV. In earlier Mitsubishi ads, young drivers and passengers lip-synched to songs.

Interpublic Group of Cos.'s Deutsch, Los Angeles, handles the account.

Three-month wait
Eric Hirshberg, managing partner and executive creative director of Deutsch, said the band delayed its U.S. debut by three months to wait for the commercial's launch.

"It used to be bands resisted putting their songs in advertising, but now they're seeing advertising as a great vehicle," he said.

'Obscure bands'
"We used obscure bands and made them very famous," said Greg O'Neill, senior vice president and general manager at Mitsubishi.

Mr. Hirshberg said research with its youthful target shows the campaign is working, as Mitsubishi aims to be "woven into the popular culture." Brand awareness has risen from 48% to 60% since Deutsch started on the account in 1998.

No change in budget
The marketer's 2002 ad budget will be flat vs. 2001, with no big swings either way, Mr. O'Neill said. The Cypress, Calif.-based marketer spent $63 million on the Eclipse in measured media in the first 11 months of 2001, according to Taylor Nelson Sofres' CMR.

The brand's sales rose last year to 322,393 vehicles vs. 314,417 in 2000, Ad Age sibling Automotive News reported.

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