Mitsubishi tackles amateurs

Mitsubishi is hoping a new partnership with The Score will help it go far.

Mitsubishi is hoping a new partnership with The Score will help it go far.

The Mississauga, Ont.-based auto company is inviting amateur athletes to upload footage of their greatest feats at thescore.ca/gofar, where visitors can vote for their favourites over the next nine months. The winner will be crowned the Mitsubishi Pure Performer at the November Vanier Cup in Hamilton, as part of the company’s sponsorship of the Canadian Interuniversity Sport (CIS) football league.

‘We’re really trying to position the brand around athleticism,’ explains Larry Futers, director of national marketing at Mitsubishi Canada, adding that the company’s three main brand attributes are durability, reliability and athleticism. ‘Customers don’t get too excited about durability and reliability. The area of athleticism is a lot more fun…it gives us an area we can literally play in.’ The CIS sponsorship is also a good way to reach university students to keep the brand top of mind, Futers adds.

Futers approached TSN, RDS and CBC about building a promo together, but was most impressed by The Score. ‘They’re more like us – smaller and nimble. Everyone else was offering us cookie-cutter options, while The Score said, ‘Let’s build this program from scratch,” he says. The microsite also features daily ‘face-offs’ of great moments in professional sports history that visitors can vote on.

Mitsubishi Canada began playing up its athletic side last fall, launching three TV executions by AOR BBDO Canada featuring athletes’ spirits being sucked out of their bodies and into Mitsubishi cars. The spots garnered a lot more controversy than expected, since they broke one week after the release of the horror movie The Invasion, which featured people losing their souls and turning into drones. Customer complaints go directly to Tokyo HQ, which was rattled by the negative feedback and pulled the plug on the spots.

Despite the rocky start, Futers and his team were confident that playing up athleticism was the right way to go for the brand, and is promoting the Score program with a non-controversial 30-second TV spot.

Mitsubishi Canada also just relaunched a sportier version of its website last month: Mitsubishi-motors.ca.