By on June 23, 2012

In what Fisker insists is not a defensive reaction to a cascade of bad news that has put the company’s continued survival in doubt in at least a few observers’ minds, Fisker’s ad agencies, eMaxx Partners and Mono, have run a series of ads strung out over five pages of Friday’s Wall Street Journal print edition.

The ad buy consisted of four quarter-page ads followed by a full page devoted to Fisker. A representative of eMaxx called the ads a “sneak peek of the brand voice” that will be further exposed in a larger worldwide marketing campaign to be launched in the third quarter of 2012. Though the campaign was kicked off with an ad buy at one of the oldest of old media outlets, the larger campaign will include a variety of media outlets by not much in the way of television ads. The main thrust of the campaign seems to be painting Fisker as a visionary company akin to the inventors of the 19th and 20th centuries that brought us the modern world.

In the press email announcing the WSJ ads, Henrik Fisker said, “Launching a new car company is a difficult enough challenge on its own and one that is rarely attempted, let alone also trying to establish a new brand with a revolutionary new product and technology.” Roger Ormisher, director of global PR for Fisker, said, “The ads are about celebrating the achievement of bringing a new car company to market during one of the worst economic downturns ever. There are always critics and skeptics of any new project, especially one that’s been in the political spotlight. But this is underlining what we achieved.”

The ad buy in the Journal might seem anachronistic for a technology based product but despite new media and the growing impact of social networks, but if you want to sell cars to the people who can afford a $100,000 second or third car (which because of the Karma’s limited range it necessarily would be – Justin Bieber has a Cadillac CTS-V wagon to drive when his chrome wrapped Fisker Karma is low on juice) there are worse places than the weekend editions of the Wall Street Journal. For decades the automotive classifieds in the Journal have been like a candy store for car enthusiasts, and they continue to be so as other newspapers get put out of business by the Scylla of eBay and Charybdis of Craigslist. The classified automotive section of the WSJ of course has the high buck Ferraris, Lamborghinis and Rolls-Royces that you’d expect but there usually are some interesting collectible enthusiasts cars for those on a slight more limited budget also listed by private parties or by exoticar dealers. Simply put, rich folks still read the print edition of the Wall Street Journal.

Fisker ad copy:

New isn’t easy.

History will tell you the new path is often the most difficult.

Discovery, far more work than settling.

But history will also tell you there are always a few who simply don’t care.

They don’t care that pushing forward is 4,000 times harder than being pulled along.

They don’t care that giant leaps require more than a single step.

And they don’t care that not everyone is behind them.

Because they know the doubters aren’t the builders.

The critics are never the creators.

And the skeptics, rarely the inventors.

When we set out to redefine and reshape how the

world thinks about cars, we knew it wouldn’t be easy.

And despite our many firsts, accomplishments, and accolades, it hasn’t been.

But that’s alright.

Building the future never is.



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24 Comments on “Fisker Reboots Marketing With Old Media Ad Buy...”

  • avatar

    Yesterday, Tesla assembled and distributed the first Tesla Model S cars to the awaiting multitudes. Seems to me that deserves a story, other than “Tesla only lets us drive 10 minutes”.

    You can learn a lot more about a car in 10 minutes than you can in 10 hours of not being able to drive it :).

    Seems to me this is a big moment for the electric car maker, and I think it deserves coverage …

    Or does TTAC only want to run bad news?


    • 0 avatar

      From Tesla:

      “Friday, June 22, 2012

      Tesla Motors (NASDAQ: TSLA) delivered Model S, the world’s first premium electric sedan, to its first customers at an invitation-only event at the Tesla Factory in Fremont, California today. These deliveries put Model S on the road approximately one month earlier than previously announced and places the company in a good position to build 5,000 cars by the end of 2012, followed by 20,000 cars in 2013.”

      It was an invitation-only event and we weren’t invited. I don’t know about the other TTAC writers but I didn’t get any kind of email announcement from Tesla, nor did they release anything on the PR Newswire site. If you note, the Tesla press release does not say exactly how many cars were actually delivered to how many customers, but yes, it was newsworthy.

      As for the “Tesla only lets us drive 10 minutes”, that was some other site whining. We didn’t get to drive it at all. In Derek’s post on the event last week, he concluded that TTAC would probably send someone to such an event in the hope of finding out something newsworthy despite the constraints.

    • 0 avatar

      We are going to drive the car in the near future and it won’t be for 10 minutes. Sit tight.

    • 0 avatar

      David Dennis, you really sound like you love being manipulated and lied to. There is something awfully wrong when a car maker goes to such lengths to control context and avoid observations that they don’t want made. That you claim to need the BS that results is perverse.

      • 0 avatar

        I’m excited that you will have the car and a review out soon. That’s fabulous! I assume it’s from one of the early owners?

        I am sensitive, perhaps too much so, to the unfortunate fact that Tesla has very few cars available to show to anyone, and as a result they are carefully rationing test drives. That’s an unfortunate fact of life at this point.

        I don’t see that as being manipulated, I see that as a company that needs to sell every car it can make right now – and it has a waiting list a mile long. So it doesn’t have to give its cars to journalists to make a point.

        My expectations for Tesla are high. Now, let’s see if it can fulfill them. I’m certainly not going to buy a Tesla until TTAC’s review comes out, and probably not for a long time after then, either :(.


      • 0 avatar

        My experience in the plane business applies here. Plane manufacturers aren’t as tight with reviewer access as these guys are being, and they often have a single conforming model completed to show.
        There are some bright folks at Tesla, but their marketing guys are too clever by half. I don’t want a car with silicon valley quality levels that this sort of marketing foretells. That’s not a slam on the valley, but they act this way when the emperor’s new clothes still aren’t ready for prime time. Sometimes, they are changing the word, but often His Highness is about to stroll around nekkid.

      • 0 avatar

        “silicon valley quality levels”

        Do you mean Apple, HP, Cisco, Intel, Nvidia, SanDisk and list goes on. This site would not even exist without Silicon Valley quality products.

      • 0 avatar

        I’m not taking about the stuff this site runs on. I am talking about the next gen stuff that they control access to. The stuff the fortune 100 are implementing in test projects because they know its not ready for critical systems, but they want to get experience on so they can keep up.

        Think about virtualization software in 2002, or SANs from even earlier.

  • avatar

    That ad copy is so a ripoff of Apple’s The Crazy Ones theme.

  • avatar

    I’m just glad Fisker and Tesla are being supported by private investment rather than Government investment because I do not believe in the efficacy of Electric Vehicles nor do I wish to subsidize them.

    I’ll also be happy when the VOLT dies completely and GM does the smart thing and produces better ICE engines that run on natural gas and shale oil/ diesel.

    • 0 avatar

      How do you figure?

      Fisker has used nearly $200 million of more than a half BILLION in federal loan guarantees that were promised to it. Tesla has already burned through $465 million in loans secured with your tax dollars.

      Dude, you — and we — ARE subsidizing them. Get real.

      And you reactionary clowns call GM “Government Motors.” Stop taking the bogus campaign talking points you hear from (Drug) Rush Limbaugh and Faux News as The God’s Truth and use Google before you make such ill-informed allegations as real facts.

      • 0 avatar

        JHR, BigTruck made a mistake, but instead of just pointing it out, you made a bigger one. You assume his opinion is evidence of him belonging to a group you disdain and insult him at the same time (reactionary clowns). You then assume his source is people you also call names. Finally, you attribute to those people propaganda they have not spread (at least AFAIK).
        I believe that the pundits you pretend to have paid attention to on the radio or Fox News would prefer no goverment checks be sent to any of these companies. That seems to be their opinion, and it doesn’t seem to be a reactionary response so much as a strongly held belief.
        Feel free to spout jingoisms all you want, but how about we all avoid ad hominems at the other posters? Folks like Rush are always fair game, but if you want to be convincing I suggest you attack them more effectively or do it somewhere populated with like minded people rather than a diverse group like this one.

      • 0 avatar


        LOAN =/= subsidy

        They have to pay it back.

    • 0 avatar

      A loan is not a subsidy, but all they have to do is pull a Solyndra, call for bankruptcy and the taxpayers will never see any of that wasted money.

      Fisker and Tesla are the perfect epitome of stupid grandiose ideas that can only exist with the Government pumping billions into them.

      This isn’t cutting edge technology, this is the pathetic attempt to realize a campaign promise that the US, with abundant natural resources of fossil fuels, will go the distance to do anything possible to make electric cars because fossil fuels are “evil” according to the morons that have been running our nation and our industries into the ground for the last 3 years.

      • 0 avatar

        Actually, a government loan or guarantee of a loan is a subsidy. Your mortgage is likely subsidized. The government part of the deal has real costs which can be measured in all cases. There is no free lunch.

  • avatar
    Alex Mackinnon

    I’m not sure what you mean by limited range with the Karma.

    As far as I know, the range is only limited by how much gas you can give the ecotec 4 banger it has under the hood. Same as a Volt. The only range anxiety is from running out of gas.

    If it weren’t seemingly full of form of function compromises, the Karma could easily be a person’s only car.

  • avatar
    el scotto

    100k for an indulgence? Won’t be seeing many of these parked at a big box store. I’d take my 100k and have a fairway view and garage space for a real golf cart. Anyone who buys one of these is living in their own hipster, d-bag purgatory. If you desire a hybrid go to your Toyota dealer.

  • avatar

    1 to 2 years for Fisker, 2 to 3 years MAX, for Tesla.

    You cannot survive in the “new normal” economy. *Almost* nobody has 100k let alone 60k to drop on extra toys when you’re worried about what to feed your effing fambly for the next few days. Expect major pullback from these joke markets by the end of the year, and without massive 12-40k government credits, the demise of both companies.

    • 0 avatar

      The beauty of fascism is that government officials and their business cronies are rolling in graft and privilege, so selling $100K toys is easier than selling $25K toys.

  • avatar
    Ex Radio Operator

    Lefties can never win on facts. Slurs and name calling is their stock in trade.

  • avatar

    I would be in Fisker’s camp except Tesla seems to be putting out better cars cheaper. Tesla is also not only doing its own engineering, but also doing custom engineering for other companies.

    • 0 avatar

      It pays to remember that Tesla was started by tech entrepreneurs.

      Tech entrepreneurs tend to think in terms of creating companies that others will buy. Having interested buyers doesn’t necessarily require making a profit; rather, the potential for a profit or the ability for the business to fill a void within the acquiring firm can be enough.

      I was quite skeptical of Tesla, but they have proven me wrong by doing a good job of grooming a company that an established automaker will want to eventually acquire. As a business, Tesla may never make a dime in profit, but that probably won’t matter.

      The same thing can’t be said of Fisker. Fisker is going to have to live or die based upon the success of its products. Given what has happened thus far, life isn’t looking good for Fisker.

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