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Dodge Dart looks to score during NFL opener

Dodge hopes to score big by premiering a 90-second spot for its resurrected Dart model during the Giants-Cowboys NFL season debut. The goal of the ad is to create “mass brand awareness,” but the automaker is counting on its digital presence to keep the buzz going among the millennial target audience, says Mark Malmstead, Dodge Brand lead for media, social media, and CRM.

According to Malmstead, Dodge anticipates that the spot will drive traffic to the company’s digital assets. A similar spot that ran during MLB’s All-Star Game Broadcast in July increased visits to Dodge’s website by 30%.

“We start with a clean slate for the Dart with this [millennial] audience, and social media is playing a huge role in our marketing,” Malmstead says. “We want a younger generation to form their own association with the Dart.”

The ad, “How to Make the Most Hi-Tech Car,” has Dodge engineers building a time machine and summoning a colleague from the year 3,000 to design the Dart’s touchscreen dashboard display. The customizable Thin Film Transistor technology is a clear appeal to Millennial targets who don’t remember the Dart from its dowdy days as a cheap economy car in the 1960s.

Dodge’s social media push primarily comprises several contests. Currently running on Facebook through September 15 is a joint sweepstakes with Clear Channel Broadcasting offering 12 trips to the iHeartRadio Music Festival in Las Vegas. On deviantART, an online social media site for artists, which has 19 million members and generates 44 million unique visitors a month, Dart ran a contest that asked artists to conduct some research on the car and then create an art piece. More than 4,000 were submitted.

Similar contests are either concluding or about to run at online communities ReverbNation (songwriters), TransWorld (skateboarders), and Free Clothing Co (designers of graphic t-shirts).

“We’re working with high-profile sites that are real people-congregators,” says Malmstead, who added that the brand has yet to rev up its mobile marketing for the car brand.

“We’ve done very little with texting, and we tested QR codes with mixed results,” he says. “This year it’s all about awareness. We want high impact and high reach.”

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