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Mitsubishi Motor Sales of America faces a potential marketing nightmare this year when it launches five new products and redesigned versions of volume leaders Galant and Eclipse.

Rather than have individual ads for each product launch, Mitsubishi will build the brand strictly through an image campaign that will encompass the new products.

G2, the Huntington Beach, Calif., affiliate of Grey Advertising that handles the estimated $200 million account, will be under pressure to come up with "the all-time new-product campaign," said Kevin Ormes, Mitsubishi group VP-sales and marketing, adding, "We're out to build a new brand and a new product image."

Although the ad budget will increase this year, Mr. Ormes said there's no way it would be large enough to launch that many products.

"The ads will say, `Here's what's happening with Mitsubishi,' not `Here's all these new models,"' Mr. Ormes said. "We're looking at building the brand, not each individual model" (AA, Feb. 19).

Mr. Ormes is aware that compressing seven launches into a one-year span will be even more of a challenge than Mazda's failed attempt to launch six products in 18 months in the early '90s.

In Mazda's case, a much larger ad budget stretching over a longer span wasn't enough to make the public aware of the new models.

Mazda tried to divide and conquer by launching each product, and ended up with a spree of product ads that had very little linkage besides the tag line "It just feels right."

Mr. Rechtin is a reporter for Automotive News.

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