CEA Decides to Flex Some Muscles For 1998 Chevy Camaro Campaign

DETROIT-General Motors’ Chevrolet division is giving its restyled Camaro a heavier media budget and new brand personality in an effort to reverse the sports car’s sales slump.
Two new 30-second TV spots break Oct. 14 from Campbell-Ewald Advertising in Warren, Mich., Chevrolet’s national agency. The campaign drives home the “brute power” of the car with comparisons to rough-and-tumble motorcycle drivers, said Bill Ludwig, CEA chief creative officer.
Chevrolet spent about $26 million on Camaro advertising in 1996, according to Competitive Media Reporting, down from previous years. Camaro sales also are down, off nearly 23 percent for the current ’97 model year compared with ’96, according to GM figures.
The automaker will put much more weight behind the new campaign to introduce a new exterior appearance and the addition of a modified 305-horsepower Corvette V8 engine in Z28 models, Ludwig said. Print executions breaking at the end of the month are “very in-your-face, hyperreal,” Ludwig said. One carries the headline, “Politically correct, it ain’t.”
Both TV spots feature minimal copy. In fact, in “Dueling Exhaust” there is no dialogue, and the only copy is the on-screen sign-off, “New 305-HP Camaro,” followed by a small red Chevrolet bow tie logo. “Pass” starts off with raw, bluesy rock music, as the camera alternates between quick shots of motorcycles and the Camaro. A voiceover warns, “We wouldn’t recommend trying this in just any car,” as the Camaro makes its way through a stream of bikers.
While past advertising carried the “Genuine Chevrolet” umbrella themeline, the agency chose to put emphasis for the new work on communicating an attitude and establishing a personality for the hot rod, Ludwig said.
“If you look at the world of sports cars out there, there are a lot of fancy sports cars, there are a lot of sleek sports cars,” Ludwig said. “As we probed consumers’ attitudes, they told us loud and clear that the Camaro is really the honest, no b.s. car out there. It’s the honest American performance car.”