By on January 7, 2010

Of all of Chrysler Group’s branding conundrums, the de-Ram-ified Dodge brand has got to be one of the toughest ones. Without the truck-based image or styling, Dodge is a brand without a purpose, and Dodge CEO Ralph Gilles brought little to his brand presentation at Chrysler Group’s five-year plan that would help explain what Dodge is or why consumers should choose it. Other than more refined youthfulness and less rugged wisdom. Or something. Anyway, if Dodge is really to be “all things to all hip people” as the Autoextremist succinctly puts it, they sure picked the right ad agency. Wieden + Kennedy does hip like few others, having started with Nike’s “Just Do It” and taken off from there. As the ad above, and several other Honda spots prove, the guys knows how to bring some youthful enthusiasm to the otherwise staid, desperate world of car advertising. And goodness knows recent Chrysler Group advertising needs the help.

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15 Comments on “Dodge Signs Hipster Ad Agency Wieden + Kennedy...”


  • avatar
    John Horner

    I’ve always loved that “Cog” ad. I wonder why Honda never used it in the US? Maybe they figure it is too subtle for the scream-in-your-face US consumer advertising market.

    BTW, this same agency is doing Levi’s current nearly apocalyptic ads. Weird, intense stuff:

    [youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FdW1CjbCNxw&color1=0xb1b1b1&color2=0xcfcfcf&hl=en_US&feature=player_embedded&fs=1]

    You want to talk cool? The narration in the ad above is Walt Whitman’s “Poem America” … read by Whitman himself and found on an old wax cylinder he recorded himself in the earliest days of sound recording.

    Edgy and cool enough for you? I can’t wait to see what they do with Dodge.

    • 0 avatar
      ash78

      I think it was simply too long. Roughly 2 minutes, IIRC. Plus it advertised the Euro Accord, so it would probably have to be redone slightly…and at 200 takes, it might have been hard to replicate again.

    • 0 avatar
      Seth L

      Widen Kennedy has hit it out of the park with the Go Fourth campaign.  Those adds could have been awful.
      Things could go all pear-shaped on them for Chryco though, look at CP+B’s fair-to-terrible stint with VW.
      Of course, the last good Chrysler commercial I recall was in 2001.  Then they got Celine Dion, and we all know how well that turned out.
      Could anything be worse then being condescended to by  Howie Long?  That’s my low bar right now.

    • 0 avatar
      MadHungarian

      Dang.  Nice wagon.  Whyizzit that Europeans don’t feel emasculated by driving wagons?

      Clever ad too, but only so far.  It was no longer plausible when you got to the three tires rolling uphill.  There just wasn’t enough momentum to send the second tire rolling up that slope.  And once that bubble of plausibility bursts, the rest of it becomes just something you have to sit through to find out what the point is at the end.

  • avatar
    Pig_Iron

    That Honda ad was great (took many takes to get it apparently), too bad we didn’t get the Accord wagon.

  • avatar
    toxicroach

    Chrysler as a luxury brand.  Dodge as a hip brand.  Jeep is for girls who love getting their hair done.  Yeah.  Why not just pick two words out of the dictionary and use those as brand names.  It would be less headache inducing than this mess.  Chrysler will never be a luxury brand, not so long as a single Sebring roams the earth like some Lovecraftian abomination.  Dodge will never be hip as long as Dodge Caravans that look like Playskool toys left out in the sun for too long are used to drop kids off at school.
    In short, you’d need to retire the brands for 10 years, at least, probably more like 30.  Otherwise you might as well just start over with a new name.

  • avatar
    superbadd75

    Sadly, this new hip agency is going to be charged with the task of advertising the same garbage products that Chrysler’s been hawking for the past few years. And hip is one thing that they are definitely not.

  • avatar
    pgcooldad

    Anyway, if Dodge is really to be “all things to all hip people” – , they sure picked the right ad agency.

    Just as Chrysler is on it’s road to redemption by picking the right agency for Dodge, so it TTAC for actually saying something positive of Chrysler.

    A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step for more than one entity.

  • avatar
    rpol35

    Dodge’s target market is simple, it’s the same one as Chevrolet, Ford, Toyota, Honda, etc., what I would call commodity cars. And it’s OK to have a full-size model like the Charger and a sporty model like the Challenger, though the Charger needs an update. What’s not OK is to have the Avenger and Caliber which supposedly cover the bread & butter, volume based, highly competitive segments. Dodge has absolutely nothing with those two chowder-headed models.

    I don’t know how a “hip” ad agency promotes a non-hip company that has no “hip” models to sell.

    • 0 avatar
      pgcooldad

      You are right on all accounts, but the Charger is getting an update and the Challenger is a classic design that should not change much.
      The Avenger has two problems. One is definitely the interior which is getting a complete makeover; the other is noise from engine compartment, an easy fix. Design wise it is respectable. Now as far as safety, the thing is an all around five star performer and the platform is solid.
      The Caliber …. they should scrap it aspa.

      Check out the 2011 Charger’s rumored looks below:
      http://www.allpar.com/cars/dodge/charger-2010.html

      And what they are doing to fix what they inherited.
      http://www.allpar.com/corporate/chrysler-group/five-year-plan.html

      The problem at Chrysler is time. The previous owners starved it of products needed now.

      superbadd75,
      I like the Boston Terrier, I have two. Now can you add some substance to your posts?

  • avatar
    bmoredlj

    This firm has a + in their name which tells me they’re hip, but while their portfolio is impressive and they do good work, with all due respect, people were going to buy Nikes, Levis, and Hondas no matter who handled the ads.

    It won’t be hard to improve on the many missteps Chrysler group has already taken adwise  (the Journey, T&C, Ram, and Jeep ads are all, IMO, horrendously awful,) but this firm cannot perform miracles, and that’s what they’ll need in addition to lots of lipstick for the nigh unmarketable pig that is the Chrysler product portfolio.

    None of Chrysler Group’s ads since the Fiat takeover have even attempted to make an argument for why their product deserves consideration over any other brand on the market. Blind brand loyalty and charity will only get you so far…

    • 0 avatar
      Seth L

      Yup.  It’s still all about the product.  I’m kinda enjoying the thought of a Widen Kennedy meeting about the Compass.  “How the hell do we sell this?”


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