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Mitsubishi's New Drive

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'Style,' 'Fun' Are Watchwords in Deutsch Ads
LOS ANGELES--Deutsch will reposition Mitsubishi Motor Sales of America as a stylish maker of fun cars with a TV campaign breaking later this month themed, "Wake up and drive."
The estimated $60 million campaign will launch Mitsubishi's 1999 Galant sedan and kick off a new image effort for the Cypress, Calif.-based client.
Created by Deutsch's Marina del Rey , Calif., and New York offices, the campaign will replace the 2-year-old "Built for living" effort created by longtime factory shop G2 Advertising in Huntington Beach, Calif.
Mitsubishi executives confirmed the new strategy but declined to comment on specifics. "This positioning is meant to assert what we think is at the core of our products and our brand--a unique combination of quality and durability with style and fun," said marketing communications director Peg Dilworth-Hunt.
Dilworth-Hunt also used the words "style" and "spirit" to describe the new positioning. Mitsubishi is internally employing the strategic theme, "Spirited cars for spirited people."
Deutsch's effort kicks off this week on a Galant-devoted Web site, which hails the model as Mitsubishi's "new style leader." Teaser ads in the August issues of car enthusiast magazines promote the wakeupanddrive.com site and the 1-877-wake-u-up toll-free hotline. The copy reads, "If you're having a tough time deciding between an Accord or Camry, we can help."
The TV ads will begin with teasers on July 27, followed by the Galant spots two days later. Sources said the spots use quick cuts and hyperkinetic footage of a speeding Galant, while using the irreverent tone of Deutsch's commercials for dealers, which ask, "Is your life built for Mitsubishi?" The client has yet to formally award the agency the factory account.
Despite vying with best-selling sedans such as the Toyota Camry, Honda Accord and Ford Taurus, Mitsubishi has high hopes for Galant. "Those are tremendous products with deep brand equity, but we feel we have the most viable alternative [for] style and fun," said Dilworth-Hunt.
Mitsubishi sales were up 2 percent through June, per automotive consultancy J.D. Power and Associates.