Car campaigns vary, but ‘value’ a constant

Breaking through the ad clutter is the annual fall challenge faced by automakers. The 1993 season is no exception.Car manufacturers gearing up to sell their new lines of vehicles are appealing to family values and family safety, as well as touting...

Breaking through the ad clutter is the annual fall challenge faced by automakers. The 1993 season is no exception.

Car manufacturers gearing up to sell their new lines of vehicles are appealing to family values and family safety, as well as touting their own values.

As the economy declined, manufacturers tried to outdo each other with comprehensive warranty plans. Guarantees and the belief in the quality of product continues to figure prominently in many campaigns.

And to make sure they have really grabbed consumer attention, several have increased their already massive ad budgets to blanket the media with their message.

A sampling of car ad campaigns indicates the different advertising approaches are as wide-ranging as the number of makes and models on the road.

The Nissan campaign is the culmination of a three-year plan to build credibility and brand awareness for the Japanese automaker that began with the 1991 model year.

That was also the first year Nissan Canada and its agency, Chiat/Day/Mojo, took control of the Canadian marketing strategy rather than lining up with its u.s. parent.

This year’s introduction of the Altima and Quest models follows two seasons of non-car specific advertising.

‘Accolades’ in 1991 emphasized the company’s design and performance awards, and last season the ‘Manifesto’ television commercial outlined Nissan’s customer service credo on a panoramic backdrop of Canadian scenery.

This year saw the introduction of Nissan’s warranty program, the Satisfaction Commitment, an important part of the 1993 message as highlighted in the 30-second tv spot ‘Blind Faith.’

As the voiceover begins with ‘Any major purchase…involves a leap of faith,’ a man is seen free-falling through the sky to land into an air bag sporting the Nissan logo.

The Altima replaces the compact Nissan Stanza in a category that places it alongside the Honda Accord and Toyota Camry.

Altima advertising makes the bold statement, ‘We believe the last thing the world needs is another car. So we built one.’

The theme for Quest, a mini-van, is that a family vehicle does not have to look boring, ‘just because your kids enjoy driving around in any old box doesn’t mean you have to.’

Canadian advertising will still feature the ‘Built for the human race’ tagline discarded by Nissan U.S. this year.

Toyota Canada is hoping the cartoon stars of tv’s The Simpsons will capture attention for the launch of its newly designed compact, Corolla. The characters are not being used in u.s. advertising.

The Simpson family adorns dealer merchandise and includes such items as Bart dolls, posters, T-shirts, mugs and hats.

Advertising includes magazine, newspaper and a pool of three tv commercials that feature the characters, and position Corolla as ‘a welcome addition to any family’.

The target group is male, aged 30-40, married with children and earning more than $45,000.

Jim Feeney, vice-president management supervisor at Toyota’s agency Saatchi & Saatchi, says that the other Toyota models such as Camry and Tercel will have different advertising approaches that build on the themes established last year.

Tercel, to appeal to entry-level buyers, will focus on features and low prices. The Camry campaign will be an extension of ‘it will change the road forever.’

Feeney says that although Toyota has a competitive warranty program, it is more positive to focus on the company’s heritage of quality and reliability in the advertising campaigns.

Chrysler Canada has been getting a lot of ink before its November launch of the lh models, named for the platform design of the mid-sized cars.

The company will attempt to focus attention on its latest entries by spending more money to introduce Chrysler Concordes, Intrepids and Eagle Visions than for any other of its launches.

In the u.s., it is spending US$70 million on advertising and another US$35 million in dealer training.

Walt McCall, manager of corporate public relations for Chrysler Canada, says there will also be a substantial increase in the Canadian advertising budget.

A three-tiered launch will see the Intrepid unveiled Nov. 2, the Eagle Vision on Nov. 9 and the Chrysler Concorde in January 1993.

Teaser ads got underway last week and McCall says its just a small taste of the heavy print and television campaign to come.

The theme of the advertising will be quality and performance, in line with the u.s. campaign.

Most will be original Canadian creative, although some u.s. creative for Eagle Vision will be adapted for use here.

McKim Baker Lovick/BBDO is the agency for Windsor, Ont.-based Chrysler Canada.

The lowest-priced car sold in Canada also has the smallest advertising budget.

LadaCanada is introducing new versions of its Niva and Samara models this season, including a Samara convertible and a Niva four-by-four. The original Lada, the Signet, is now available only as a station wagon.

Peter Volny, president of Paul Phelan and Perry,agency for LadaCanada, says the shop has been focussing on creativity to compensate for the size of the budget.

Lada uses only print ads, most with a humorous approach such as the ‘Strong like bull, cheap like Borscht’ ad for the Niva pickup. All have the central theme of warranty, price and features.

Lada made its statement of quality in the 1991 car season when it launched its three-year, 72,000-kilometre warranty and five-year corrosion warranty.