Mitsubishi’s youthful rebrand

The automotive brand is rolling out a Canadian-specific, less sporty identity.

Mitsubishi is rolling out a new brand identity, moving away from the overall global “athletic” tone and towards a Canadian-specific “young, energetic and spirited,” positioning. This means a humorous attitude with a new Canadian-wide tagline, “It must be the Mitsubishi” and two new spots launched in September and November.

This follows Mitsubishi’s Electriphobia campaign in May, by John St., which cured people of their fears of electric vehicles, and has since been picked up in international markets.
The first TV spot features a man evading his in-laws in a wannabe-action-movie chase, while the second features a father and son in a dealership, with the 10-year-old scrutinizing the car in more detail than his dad (implying the car will be around when he’s able to drive).

While this pits the car co against other humour-driven advertising, like Subaru’s Sumos or Volkswagen’s overall cheeky approach, Angus Tucker, partner and co-CD, John St., says it will help reach the younger-skewing guy demo and make the brand more top-of-mind.
“Humour is a great way to disarm people [and] done right, it makes it an ad they want to watch, rather than one that makes them want to change the channel,” says Tucker.

Mitsubishi’s former athletic approach relied heavily on global network elements and typically featured cars racing down tracks and heavy use of athletes in creative, says Peter Renz, director of national marketing, Mitsubishi.

“Athletic wasn’t giving us enough flexibility to move the brand forward,” says Renz. “We did a lot of one-offs – things that didn’t match together. We didn’t have a cohesive link to a brand positioning.”

As for the new Canadian tagline, it moves away from the global “Drive@earth” (meant to convey Mitsubishi’s driving credentials and focus on sustainable vehicles) tag because it was a bit vague, says Tucker.

“We are profoundly influenced by the things around us. What makes Italians who they are? Must be the food. What makes Canadians so hardy? Must be the weather. Powerful things affect us,” says Tucker. “A Mitsubishi is one of those things. There’s only one explanation for a driving experience like this: Must be the Mitsubishi.”