Jean Gamache, Creative Director,

Cossette Communication-Marketing,MontrealAn image campaign for client Asuna was successful because it took precisely the opposite approach to every other car campaign, says Jean Gamache.'What we did was to say, `It's a good car, it will do what it has to do,...

Cossette Communication-Marketing,


An image campaign for client Asuna was successful because it took precisely the opposite approach to every other car campaign, says Jean Gamache.

‘What we did was to say, `It’s a good car, it will do what it has to do, but it’s not a car to impress other people,’ Gamache says.

He says the signature, `Built to impress no one but the driver’ is targeted at young, well-educated adults who have left the family home.

‘These people are a little bit older, a little more mature, they are independent. They are very cynical.’

The newspaper campaign consisted of three double-page ‘teasers’ poking fun at the kind of people who would never buy an Asuna, including a group of old women at a beauty salon, and a nerdy family, who profess not to have heard of the car.

The three ads ran for two weeks in May in the Montreal and Quebec markets.

Q. Why did you choose newspapers for this campaign?

A. To create some interest, to launch the name of the brand, to induce the personality of the brand. Newspaper was a very fast, very effective way to create interest around the brand, because the double-page spread and the kind of illustration we had was very strong.

But the newspaper cannot live alone. It needs television.

So after the newspaper campaign, we had a 30-second tv commercial, launching the brand, explaining the positioning.

After that, we had five or six 15-second commercials to build the brand and provide information about different models.

Q. Are newspapers underused for image advertising?

A. It probably is underused, but the problem is the quality of the reproduction. It’s too bad, because for me it’s a great medium. Most people use newspaper for retail, or to give very precise information.

When you’re building an image, you don’t need an absolutely beautiful image, you need good rendition, or color. But you don’t always have that.

Q. Excluding your own work, what have been some of the best examples of image building in newspapers?

A. Urgel Bourgie. It’s a funeral home. Also, Pizzaiolle. It’s a restaurant that did an image campaign that said, ‘We don’t need advertising.’

The whole theme is that they don’t need to do advertising, but, in fact, they do, because they advertise. It’s a great campaign.

Q. What qualities do successful newspaper image campaigns have in common?

A. In newspapers, if you don’t have a good concept, it will be catastrophic. You can hide the weakness of a concept in tv or in radio. But in print, if the concept is not good, the ad is not good. Because in print, there is just a headline and the visuals.

There is no music, no tra-la-la. It’s very simple. So you must have a very good concept, very simple, and it must be easy to produce.

You can’t do something visually very complicated, because newspaper doesn’t have the technology to give quality to your illustration.

Q. What specific challenges does the medium present – what are its limitations?

A. I don’t think you can be very subtle in the visuals. It has to be big, it has to be simple. It’s a little bit like billboards.

But the newspaper is like any other medium. It has its own qualities, as billboards have their own qualities, as television has its own qualities.

Basically, every medium is neutral, and depending what you do with it, you can do anything.

Q. Do you think technological innovations, such as a new four-color process, or more flexible layouts, would convince more advertising agencies to use newspapers for image building?

A. It would help a lot, sure. If we could only get black and white, a real nice black and white, I would use it a lot more. Sometimes we are unable to get that. We just did a campaign for [General Motors] and it was a mess, because the reproduction was poor.

Q. Why is it that image advertising in newspapers is more prevalent in Britain and the United States than in Canada?

A. Quality of the medium. Advertising has existed such a long time in Britain and the u.s., it was born with the newspaper in a way. There was no tv, radio or billboard. So they had to master this medium.

When we started to advertise in Canada and Quebec, there was tv and radio, and perhaps we never mastered print.

Q. What trends do you see in image advertising?

A. I don’t think there will be big change in image advertising in print. Maybe in tv, radio and magazines, but not in the newspaper, because the limitations of the medium are so drastic.