The Autoextremist Defends Dodge Decision To Run Superbowl Ad

Edward Niedermeyer
by Edward Niedermeyer

The gist of Sweet Pete DeLorenzo’s argument is that Chrysler has to do something to remind Americans that they still exist. Given the Chrysler’s inability thus far to articulate a vision for the Dodge brand post-Ram, this makes a certain amount of sense. With a new, well-respected ad agency, Dodge could use the Super Bowl’s giant stage to get back on the buying public’s radar. The problem with the plan lies in the one question that DeLorenzo fails to answer: why bring buyers into Dodge showrooms if there’s nothing there?

Contrary to the Autoextremist’s assertions, Chrysler is a complete write-off product-wise, and will be for about another year. Even if Wieden+Kennedy come up with the next great car ad, the effort will only end in frustration for all concerned until Dodge has new product to back up a big ad spend. Dumping cash on superbowl ads makes no sense until Fiat has cleaned up Chrysler’s new products. Need proof? The last time Dodge ran a Superbowl ad, it was for the Magnum… ’nuff said.

Product aside, there’s also the question of message. For one thing, we still have yet to see any evidence that Dodge stands for anything as a brand. Further confusing the outlook for the ad is Chrysler Group Marketing boss Olivier Francois’s vision for the ad: “It looks like the ad we have today,” Francois tells Automotive News [sub]. “It sends a message of irreverence, passion for cars and fun to drive.” Where does the ESL stop and the brand confusion begin?

Meanwhile, for a final contrast, Subaru is avoiding the Superbowl altogether, instead running low-cost TV ads on that great competitor to the Superbowl, the Puppy Bowl, highlighting Subaru’s sponsorship of the ASPCA. Having grown its sales all year on the back of a strong brand image, Subaru is cementing its branding ties to pet ownership as a signifier of (or substitute for) the outdoorsy image of its vehicles. According to Automotive News [sub], Subaru spent about $200m on advertising in 2008 and has been steadily increasing that amount.

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  • PrincipalDan PrincipalDan on Jan 18, 2010

    They should just take out an ad that says, "Hello, remember us? We didn't die, seriously. Were still here."

  • Oldyak Oldyak on Jan 19, 2010

    Subaru and the dog shows...... Is this their next"legacy" Seriously Weird... but then...with their track record of supporting......... it might fit!

  • GregLocock Two adjacent states in Australia have different attitudes to roadworthy inspections. In NSW they are annual. In Victoria they only occur at change of ownership. As you'd expect this leads to many people in Vic keeping their old car.So if the worrywarts are correct Victoria's roads would be full of beaten up cars and so have a high accident rate compared with NSW. Oh well, the stats don't agree.
  • Lorenzo In Massachusetts, they used to require an inspection every 6 months, checking your brake lights, turn signals, horn, and headlight alignment, for two bucks.Now I get an "inspection" every two years in California, and all they check is the smog. MAYBE they notice the tire tread, squeaky brakes, or steering when they drive it into the bay, but all they check is the smog equipment and tailpipe emissions.For all they would know, the headlights, horn, and turn signals might not work, and the car has a "speed wobble" at 45 mph. AFAIK, they don't even check EVs.
  • Not Tire shop mechanic tugging on my wheel after I complained of grinding noise didn’t catch that the ball joint was failing. Subsequently failed to prevent the catastrophic failure of the ball joint and separation of the steering knuckle from the car! I’ve never lived in a state that required annual inspection, but can’t say that having the requirement has any bearing on improving safety given my experience with mechanics…
  • Mike978 Wow 700 days even with the recent car shortages.
  • Lorenzo The other automakers are putting silly horsepower into the few RWD vehicles they have, just as Stellantis is about to kill off the most appropriate vehicles for that much horsepower. Somehow, I get the impression the OTHER Carlos, Tavares, not Ghosn, doesn't have a firm grasp of the American market.