Dodge Shift: Out With ‘The New’

With Awareness Improved, Division Readies a Fresh Tagline
DETROIT–DaimlerChrysler’s Dodge division will drop its 7-year-old “The new Dodge” tagline this fall in favor of a replacement that emphasizes the unique technology features of its vehicles, sources said.
A slogan has been selected and is in legal testing, sources said. Other than the tag, which Dodge is expected to unveil to dealer association presidents at the end of the month, the now-familiar Dodge campaign is not being dramatically altered.
Dodge’s dealer executive committee has already reviewed the tag, sources said.
Actor Edward Herrmann will remain the division’s spokesman, and the signature red vehicles will continue to dominate advertising from BBDO, Southfield, Mich.
While the tag could not be learned, “The rules have changed” was one candidate that was rejected, sources said.
A title card with the tag will open and close all of the division’s TV spots and appear on new vehicle catalogs at dealerships later this summer.
The change is in light of consumer research that shows customers are much more likely to consider Dodge than they were when the campaign started in the 1993 model year with the introduction of the Intrepid, according to a source. Dodge is thus no longer “new,” and needs a more mature tag. “Consumers said ‘The new Dodge’ worked. … Now, be something,” a source said.
The new line will emphasize the unique capabilities and technologies of Dodge vehicles, rather than call attention to the “new” distinction. Consumers see Dodge as bold and rebellious.
“What they really want to do is make the point now that the product line Dodge brings is unique, whether you’re talking about a Viper or Intrepid or Durango,” said one source familiar with the shift.
Dodge spent about $600 million on advertising in 1998 and over $140 million through March of 1999, per Competitive Media Reporting.