By on September 10, 2012

A hot tip from a few friends in my generational cohort, the ones who don’t drive or have any interest in motoring. They all love this ad for the Dodge Dart and encouraged me to check it out.

At 1:33, it’s a good deal longer than most car commercials, but it seems to be resonating with people beyond the catchy use of a Jay-Z song. As one friend remarked “I have no interest in the process of creating a car, but it held my attention.” I’ve put advertisement critique to the TTAC readership before (here, here and here), and it turned out that we have some marketing professionals in our ranks. The floor is open again.

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41 Comments on “Commercial Break: How To Bring A Car To Market In 93 Seconds...”

  • avatar

    I have wondered why this hasn’t already been mentioned on TTAC by now. This ad somehow made the process we all know to be tedious and boring at most large corporate automakers, cool and relatable. It’s just a well edited, nicely thought out advert.

  • avatar
    Dirk Stigler

    So “gen why” loves a hackneyed montage of actually slow, boring work set to music? I guess that’s why CSI is still on the air. It’s the Dukes of Hazzard car chase of the 21st century!

    • 0 avatar

      You’re right, it’s a perfect iteration of gen why. Fast forward all that work crap and give me the rewards!

    • 0 avatar

      The 18-49 Demographic CBS and FOX are currently sparring over comprises both Gen X and Y, but I’ve always thought Baby Boomers were the secret weapon to the success of CSI, NCIS, Two and a Half Men, etc.

      • 0 avatar
        Dirk Stigler

        I’d have thought so, too, but it seems like everyone I know in their 20s and 30s watches those shows. Compared to people ten years older than that, younger people or at least the ones I know are much more vocal about how anti-establishment they are, while actually being much more earthy and middle of the road than they’ll ever admit.

  • avatar
    Athos Nobile

    I bit too “in your face” for my taste, but still cool.

  • avatar

    It’s entertaining, but you could argue the drama is not singularly focused on the benefits of the car. There’s a lot of distraction in there. Ultimately the impact of this version will be measured by social media impact – downloads, YouTube views, Facebook mentions, etc. This is too long for major media like TV, the costs would be prohibitive. See how they cut it down for the football games.

  • avatar

    the ad might work on its intended level, but anyone who knows cars is immediately suspicious of any product coming out of Chrysler based on a Fiat and on a FWD platform. Did they intentionally make the Caliber so bad because they wanted to be able to softball its replacement to a consumer base with immensely-lowered expectations?

    i didn’t buy any of the “factual” content concerning the development of the car in the ad, but apparently a lot of people are. i guess they’re banking on ignorance and image being the key to initial sales.

  • avatar

    also, has anyone seen the new Camry ad with the couple describing their experience with a test drive? The girl calls it “powerful” and the guy says it appealed to him and therefore all male potential buyers because it has “stuff” like “rims” and “sleekness of the body…” yeah dude. Camrys are way sleek and those factory rims just ooze testosterone. hope your wife doesn’t find out you bought it because it’s apparently a huge pussy magnet.

    • 0 avatar

      I’ve noticed the role reversal in that Camry ad where the guy talks about fluff and the women talks about power and handling. At first I thought it was novel because on first glance it appears to make fun of the wife because she says “it’s grounded to the ground”. One rule of modern advertising is that you can mock men all you want, but you risk alienating the people who make 80% of consumer purchases if you imply that women are anything other than all-knowing and wise. So, to abide by that rule she repeats it just to reinforce the notion that hubby is silly for questioning her.

      It’s not the first time Toyota has used beta males in their advertising. Every time I saw that irritating couple they used to hawk Siennas I’d wonder in which storage space she kept his balls.

      • 0 avatar
        Kevin Jaeger

        I’ve found TV has become almost unwatchable due to constant mockery of men by wise, capable women. Fortunately I have a PVR that automatically scrubs out most commercials from everything I record, so I see almost none of these unless I watch TV live, which I almost never do anymore.

        I haven’t seen that particular commercial, but ones of that type have become so ubiquitous they’re painful.

      • 0 avatar

        I got to agree with both of you. It makes me want to barf.

      • 0 avatar

        The most cringe-worthy egregious example of this is the “Suzanne Researched This” ad featuring the used-house-salesperson (aka realtor). Here is a link if you don’t know which one I am talking about:

      • 0 avatar
        M. Ellis

        In response to the guys who are sick of watching beta males:

        The reason women aren’t made fun of in car commercials is simple: car dealers have a reputation for treating women poorly. You can make fun of a guy in a car commercial because most guys are going to watch it and either be amused, or go ‘that isn’t me, they wouldn’t treat me that way’.

        Look at commercials where guys are not only the main target, but pretty much the only target: beer commercials. There women are basically (sex) objects. The lower rent the beer, the worse the women are treated.

        Similarly, in sports cars or cars marketed to men, the women almost never drive, and are usually a nice passenger seat ornament to the virile white man in his 40s or early 50s sitting in the ‘I make more money than you’ car. The current Ram truck ‘Guts and Glory: Giants’ commercials talking about how badass men, specifically western men, are? Bull rider. Hockey Player. Dirt Biker. Race Car Driver. Rancher/Cowboy. Farmer or Tractor Mechanic. Football Players. The truck is shown plowing snow, hauling, at a construction site, hauling a dirtbike, or doing other ‘manly’ things.

        Two women in the entire commercial. A singer showing ‘bravery’ by standing up and singing in front of an audience (as opposed to riding a bull that’s actively trying to kill her), and about a half-second shot of a woman driving the truck in a nondescript manner.

        So feel free to be annoyed at the beta male commercials, but don’t think for a second that women are put in some kind of privileged position.

      • 0 avatar

        My wife says I like this ad.

  • avatar

    Nice ad, let’s hope the car lives up to expectations.

  • avatar

    I like it! Not too many car commercials seem to be hitting the younger target market.

    Biggest problem (as with most commercials) WHAT KIND OF ________ WAS THAT AGAIN? They flashed the logo for two seconds at the end. That was 93 seconds of airtime for two seconds of brand building.

    Plus, if Gen Y finds out that the committees weren’t actually thrown out, then the whole premise fails. Gen Y wants authenticity above all else.

  • avatar

    Gen Y guy here, I felt that the add was decent but the joke about throwing out the accountants felt a little forced. My favorite add in recent chrysler memory is still snowpacalypse.

    Also, the SNL add spoofing Clint Eastwood part 2, one of the best adds of all time, (and it actually mentions Chrysler unlike the real one!)

  • avatar

    Like it a lot.

  • avatar

    As a baby boomer I liked the ad. But as a car guy I also know the car is based on a Fiat and that ad does not reflect that. So again my belief that all ads are just bs is reinforced. Worse it has not motivated me in any way to check out the car.

  • avatar

    The ad does keep my attention, but it does nothing to make me like the car, which is the worst possible thing they could have done: I’m now well aware of how much I am not interested in their product.

  • avatar

    I’ve seen a shortened version of this ad before, and both of them are good. The appeal I think is that they tell the story of building a new car, minus the traditional negatives of domestic car manufacturing – especially in entry-level models. (IE the committees and the accountants.) If the intended message is “Dodge made a new compact and it’s different from the cars you remember” I’d say it is successful.

  • avatar

    I liked the ad, but I’m a little biased since a friend of mine was involved in the production.

  • avatar

    How to build a dodge:

    Get C’s and D’s in school.
    Get turned down by Ford and GM.
    Design a bad car.
    Have any decent feature of your otherwise crappy car ruined by accountants.
    Don’t fully validate your car.
    Rely on a third party firm heavily for engineering talent.
    Drunk and high UAW line workers “assemble” your car with marvelous results.
    Your car is eviscerated by any reviewer you didn’t buy off.
    Your car receives no awards, except maybe for worst car.

  • avatar

    An ad about the Dart being some sort of clean sheet design is no worse than the F150 ad where Dennis Leary claims “torque is power”. No, torque is torque. Torque and speed are power.

    Great song, though.

  • avatar

    They’ve been doing some good marketing. Unfortunately, with their track record, they need several years of over delivering on quality or it will be time for government intervention after yet another generation of idiots get trapped into thinking they will die if Chrysler goes away.

  • avatar

    I believe I’m in the target age demo for this ad, but somehow it just doesn’t resonate. It’s not bad, it just doesn’t really make me want the car.

    I’d much rather just see Sergio Marchionne walking through a Chrysler assembly line telling us in a frank and direct way about all the changes the company has made and daring us to go try out their products. Straight talk is always in fashion.

  • avatar

    It’s not bad, better than all those ads with the car driving around the Salt Flats or a winding road. Too bad it’s selling a car that’s just the replacement for the Neon, only 5-6 years too late.

  • avatar

    OK, let’s say that you don’t read TTAC or any car web site, or magazine, and you see this add. I think that would make a big difference, I know I’m jaded by what I read here. I actually wanted to check out the Dart and from what I read in the “pre-view” phase, thought it might be a good car, a “little” Charger with better gas milage and sporty looks. Now, nope – not interested, I did go look at it but just couldn’t get the negatives out of my head.

  • avatar

    Trendy ad. I suspect Generation Y is intelligent enough to know no mass market car is built without a lot of committee meetings, and that the ad is a lie.

  • avatar

    This is an example of a great ad. Again, the five P’s of product marketing…


    Product: Given where Dodge was with compact cars before the Dart came along, anything was improvement. The Dart has not been holding up well in the car reviews, and finally got some seat time in one. It’s “adequate,” it has some great features, but it looks better in pictures and the interior, although having some high tech bits in it is a bit, plasticky. BUT – product did do a pretty good job. They have the MPG story, the technology story, and the we built it from the ground up (well via Italy) story.

    Persona: They are nailing their target persona perfectly. The images and story told play, in my opinion very well the cynical Gen X and Y. We went against convention. We left the suits and the bean counters out (even if that isn’t true). We didn’t get marketing involved until the geeks actually developed the product. All of this points to those cynical of the whole car process because the process drips of cynicism. It also tells these personas, we are passionate, we believe – and the “lead designer” actor in the ad is aspirational. Clearly in his 30’s, he screams, “you want to be like me, empowered, smart, ground breaking, heavy coffee drinker.”

    And the cameo by Tom Brady, in his 30’s, three Superbowl rings and the dude bangs supermodels as a hobby. What guy doesn’t want to be Tom Brady for the day.

    Position: They position themselves well here. We’re different. We’re ground breaking. We worked hard to get this right. Again remember, this is the “message,” and message doesn’t have to reflect reality. We worked harder than anyone else and we didn’t just go buy a Toyota Corolla (remember, they show the car falling out of the sky and being crushed) and tried to copy it. We went and reinvented it.

    Price: Heavily played in the ad – $15,995 is where it starts. Of course that doesn’t get you that big screen, the fast engine where you can four-wheel drift around the turn (that scene also appeals to Gen X and Y) but no need to bring that up. It’s all in the positioning.

    Packaging: Packaging doesn’t mean the box it comes in (but it can) and in this case the packaging is the ad itself. It is outstanding. And for over 90 seconds, it does an amazing job of holding your attention (most eyes roll back in the head after about 30 to 45 seconds).

    This is a damn good ad. It only misses one thing. At the end of the ad there is no call to action. I guess you could say going to is implied, but it should be called out. Especially because this ad positions the car as new, ground breaking, ground up, outside of convention, we’re different. A go to XXX to find out more and a custom landing page would have been the cherry on the cake.

    I love this ad, and overall I have been very impressed with Dodge/Chrysler/Jeep advertising since the Eminem Superbowl ad (which was also a work of art)

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