Acura, which is nearly doubling its ad expenditure on Integra for the 1994 model year, wants to convey that the sports coupe is fun to drive, but client and agency believe that such a message must be executed separately to its two target markets if the company is to get maximum sales mileage from its advertising.
For the larger ad campaign, targeted to Generation Xers aged 18-31, Ketchum created Leonard, an animated dog who, courtesy of actor/comedian Dennis Miller's voice, says things like 'I love it when humans drool' and 'Finally, a car I'm not embarrassed to stick my head out of.'
Ketchum figures Leonard will carry more credibility with the MTV generation. 'This dog can say things about this car that a human can't,' said Bill Stenton, Ketchum senior vp/creative director. 'If a human stands there and says it, he's a shill.'
The other campaign, 'Hot Wheels,' is targeted to baby boomers aged 32-44 by likening the experience of driving an Integra to the childhood experience of playing with the Mattel toy for which the commercial is named. After taking a ride through a roller-coaster track, the Integra ends up doing a 360-degree upside-down revolution. 'Not since Hot Wheels has a car been this much fun,' the voiceover says.
That campaign is due to air on such shows as Seinfeld and Home Improvement. The media buys for 'Leonard' include MTV, Fox and like programming.
Generation X accounts for about 50% of Integra buyers and that younger segment of the baby boom generation adds in another 25%. By marketing to both groups, said Tim Hart, Ketchum evp/coo, 'We're covering 75% of the market, but they don't necessarily want the same advertising.'
For the first six months of 1993, Integra sales dropped 12% to 27,093 units, according to The Power Report.
Copyright Adweek L.P. (1993)