Mitsubishi Takes Honesty Campaign Further

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On the heels of its most successful major marketing campaign, Mitsubishi, Cypress, CA, last week launched a $45 million integrated marketing campaign for its redesigned 2001 Eclipse Spyder and 2001 luxury Montero SUV. The campaign takes its theme from last year - the real reason people buy sports cars is because of how good it makes them look -to the next level.


"The same general theme will be used for this campaign," said Steven Gough, director of marketing at Mitsubishi, "but we are going to the next level by discussing how alive people feel once they are behind the wheel of these types of cars. Everything from the music, photography and design of the campaign is going to be edgier, more upfront and more honest. I think the vanity approach worked because it cut through the clutter of everything out there. And we are being honest with them, but at the same time, we are having fun with it, and they understand that."


The campaign, developed by Deutsch, Los Angeles, will include direct mail, national print, TV, Web and point-of-purchase materials. Last week, Mitsubishi launched a staggered drop of 250,000 mail pieces to previous Mitsubishi owners and prospects touting the Spyder. The interactive brochure, which dealers are already reporting responses from, Gough said, invites the consumer to go to the closest dealership and take a test drive to qualify for prizes in a contest.


The Montero mailings, which also will invite consumers to visit their local Mitsubishi dealers, will be dropped to 100,000 consumers at the end of this month. The fold-out brochure also will contain a magnet people can put on their refrigerators.


"The audience for luxury SUV owners is smaller, and we can better identify the group," Gough said. "We will be going after previous Mitsubishi owners and prospects with this campaign as well."


Mitsubishi will run two different print ads for each car. The first will be a three-page fold out featuring black-and-white photos, the Web address and no specific offer. The single-page ad will focus more on the cars' features and pricing.


For the Spyder, it will run ads in the April issues of car enthusiast magazines like Car and Driver, Motor Trend, Automobile and Road and Track. To reach its most affluent owners, Mitsubishi will run Montero print ads in both enthusiast and consumer magazines. In the May and June issues of the same enthusiast magazines, readers will see the Montero ads; and in the May through July issues of consumer magazines such as Architectural Digest, Food and Wine, Oprah Magazine, Men's Journal, Golf and Vanity Fair, consumers also will be able to see ads for the SUV.


TV ads for the Montero are scheduled to begin airing April 24. Both will run on national TV channels along with syndicated cable channels.


Two separate commercials will be airing for the Spyder. The first titled "Chat Room" will target the computer savvy 25- to 33-year-old demographic. The second, scheduled to begin airing tonight, will reach out to an older demographic and will be called "Shaft," focusing on a comparison between fictional cops Shaft and Joe Friday and asking the question, "Who was cooler?"


"There are two audiences for this product," Gough said. "Aside from the young crowd, there are the empty nesters whose kids have gone off to college and can afford two or three cars and want something sporty."


There are plans to run two separate Montero spots as well, but only one has been approved as of yet. The first commercial will have a "toughness meets style" highlighted by comparing quarterbacks Joe Namath with Johnny Unitas. The commercial will point out the similar accomplishments of both but that Namath was more popular because he was the one seen on the sidelines wearing a full-length mink coat.


The commercials are intended to serve as an introductory and brand building device that will not only contain a specific call-to-action but will display the Web address. They are scheduled to run in heavy rotation for three weeks and will then be "sprinkled" throughout the year as Mitsubishi pushes other models of the Eclipse and Montero.


Mitsubishi will run banner ads for the Spyder on three different Web sites, Shockwave, E-Online and Artist Direct. Montero banner ads will run on one site only, Studio One. Direct e-mailing will be done only to those who have visited the site previously and asked to be contacted by Mitsubishi with notices of special offers and new releases.


Point-of-purchase items will include posters and cup holders promoting the availability of the new vehicles.
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