After about a nine-month competition pitting it and Bozell against one another for the coveted assignment, BBDO, the Dodge brand agency, won last week with a strategy that laid out how Neon could become a phenomenon on the scale of the VW Beetle, as well as with headlines like '$12,000. Loaded.'
In contrast, Bozell's strategy hinged on making claims, such as 'The safest small car on the planet' and 'The most powerful small car on the planet.'
Neon will be introduced to the public next month at the Frankfurt Auto Show, an unusual move for Chrysler since the car won't be sold in Europe, at least initially. But the company is so convinced the new cars will turn the whole subcompact category on its ear that it wanted to beat its chest around the world, not just in the U.S. Chrysler is building just one version of the car and marketing it under the name 'Neon,' though it will be sold at both Dodge and Plymouth showrooms.
According to Dodge creative director Dick Johnson, the Neon will be sold on three levels - personality, technology and price. 'The car has a chance of being a real phenomenon in the category if we can create the right message and attitude around it,' said Johnson.
For BBDO, which earlier this year won Chrysler's consolidated media assignment of more than $400 million, Neon, which will be supported by an estimated $80-million campaign, was a major creative/strategic victory. And its suggests the balance of influence at Chrysler is evening between BBDO and Bozell, which historically enjoyed a much closer relationship with Chrysler while Lee Iacocca was ceo.
John Damoose, Chrysler vp/marketing, said the company's agency compensation is revenue neutral, and that there was no financial gain for either agency for winning Neon.
Copyright Adweek L.P. (1993)