Dodge Makes Its Tagline a 'Little Less Trucky'

Shortens Slogan to 'Grab Life' for Caravan Push

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DETROIT ( -- Dodge is getting less horny.

The Chrysler brand is truncating the tagline developed under former marketing chief Julie Roehm from "grab life by the horns" to "grab life" as part of its new push for the Dodge Caravan and Grand Caravan. The altered tagline is a "little less trucky," said Dodge communication manager Mark Spencer, and "works better for an urban mind-set."
Dodge's new push for its bread-and-butter Caravan minivan makes a strong appeal to families.
Dodge's new push for its bread-and-butter Caravan minivan makes a strong appeal to families.

Woo new buyers
The shift comes as Dodge aims more for families for the two models. Speaking at a press conference near Chrysler's world headquarters in Auburn Hills, Mich., Mr. Spencer said the objectives of the marketing blitz are to improve the brand's quality and safety image, keep loyal buyers and woo new ones. The first 15-second spot appears Sept. 16 during NBC's Sunday night NFL broadcast, while a bigger media wave breaks Oct. 1.

Dodge and its agencies pulled out the stops for the Caravan, the automaker's bread-and-butter model, even as Ford Motor Co. and General Motors Corp. are exiting the minivan category.

Although the biggest chunk of the launch is for TV, the brand is the first in the auto industry to use Yahoo's Smart Ads service for behavioral targeting. If a consumer visits a Yahoo channel and clicks on a Dodge ad, they will be taken to a Dodge homepage that matches the area of Yahoo content they were previously viewing.

"We call it machine-to-machine marketing because it's automatic," Mr. Spencer said.

Branded-content push
Dodge and its agencies -- Omnicom Group's BBDO, Detroit, and PHD Detroit, both Troy, Mich. -- also assembled what could well be the brand's broadest branded-entertainment effort to date. And within some of those branded-content plays, the automaker is teaming with publishing companies, which have felt squeezed as Detroit automakers move more of their ad budgets to online.

Meredith Corp. is producing the movie "Soccer Mom," which is set to air on the Starz cable network and on DVD next Mother's Day. The Dodge minivan is written into the script. The automaker also teamed with the Scripps Network for TV specials that integrate the Caravan into custom programs, which will air across Scripps' cable properties. The deal includes six one-hour shows, a 30-minute show and a trio of 60-second vignettes, which Scripps will produce, air and make available on DVD. Rodale will publish custom content in its titles and online that ties in with the Scripps shows.

The new Dodge minivans will be integrated into the ABC morning show "The View" this holiday season with a "Caroling for Caravan," to be promoted on the air and online. Viewers are encouraged to record themselves singing seasonal songs, with the best four shown on air. New hostess Whoopi Goldberg will give away 12 minivans.

Chrysler went private last month when private-equity outfit Cerberus Capital Management bought a majority stake from Germany's DaimlerChrysler.

The "new" Chrysler sold 1.419 million vehicles in the U.S. through August vs. 1.458 million for the same period a year ago, according to Ad Age sibling Automotive News. In the same period, Dodge Caravan and Grand Caravan sales slipped to 120,055 units compared to 151,858 for the first eight months of 2006, although it is not unusual for sales of an outgoing model to drop before a redone version arrives.
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