Mitsubishi and its agency since 1998, Interpublic Group of Companies' Deutsch Los Angeles, bait viewers into going online to see the second half of their commercial for the new Galant. The strategy of leaving a cliffhanger and dropping a URL (SeeWhatHappens.com, later to become an abandoned site) would become standard fare starting the following year with a new Super Bowl advertiser, GoDaddy ("Proceedings," which also harks back to the 2004 game by riffing on Janet Jackson's halftime-show wardrobe incident).
Ad Age critic Bob Garfield called the SeeWhatHappensNext stategem a "very clever media integration."
It paid off: The ensuring 28 hours saw 170,000 unique visitors to the site, and another 40,000 a day from Feb. 3 through 5, according to the marketer. The video they found showed the TV commercial's Galant and Toyota Camry swerving wildly to avoid the upending hulks and large debris. Ultimately the Galant continues safely while the Toyota abandons the mission.
"It's not a commercial," the video concludes. "It's the ultimate performance test." A button also offered to let consumers further "Explore the Galant."
The ad itself faced a relatively thin field of auto advertisers, who would come to crowd later Super Bowls. In 2004, their ranks included Mitsubishi, Cadillac, Chevrolet and Dodge.
But Mitsubishi (and its parent company) was striving to regain profitability. After the 2004 Super Bowl appearance, its first since 1999's "Crazy Train," it returned to the Super Bowl sidelines. Deutsch in January 2005 wound up withdrawing from a creative review in which the annual ad budget promised to drop to $200 million from $300 million. The account ultimately went to Omnicom's BBDO.
Director: James Brown. Production company: Smuggler. Director of photography: Toby Irwin.
Agency producer: Marissa Wasser. Director of broadcast production: Randy Morton. Executive creative director: Eric Hirshberg. Associate creative director/copywriter: Steve Skibba. Associate creative director/art director: Vinny Picardi. Senior copywriter: Jason Elm. Senior art director: Mick Kuisel.
Special effects: Riot. Sound design: Stimmung. Music: Production Advisors. Post production: Company 3. Editorial: Mad River Post. Editor: Lucas Eskin.