Colby Gives Suzuki New Brand Direction

LOS ANGELES Three television spots for American Suzuki from Dentsu’s Colby & Partners break Monday, according to the company.

One 30-second spot for the Grand Vitara SUV (“Base Jump”) shows a man in a business suit being sent off to work by his wife with a kiss at the door. He puts on a cycling helmet and matter-of-factly drops off a cliff, launches a paraglider, and lands at the door of his Vitara, parked at the base of the cliff.

A second 30-second ad (“Elevator”) presents an attractive young woman disrobing in a crowded office elevator in anticipation of being picked up by a girlfriend in a Forenza for a biking trip.

The 60-second full-line commercial (“Brand Anthem”), which will also be cut into two 30-second spots, depicts the Suzuki fleet on the road toward adventures, with an emphasis on various action sports. Voiceover: “Life isn’t a spectator sport. That’s why people who really go for it go for Suzuki.”

All the spots end with the new tagline, “Want more out of life? We’re giving you the green light,” at which point the picture becomes a green traffic light as a voiceover commands, “Go!”

“We’re trying to position [Suzuki] as a brand for what we call ‘life enthusiasts,’ ” said David Weber, executive vice president and general manager at Colby’s dedicated Brea, Calif., office. “It evolved out of a new product direction that came out of Japan, called ‘A Way of Life.’ With the new brand direction, Suzuki is developing products for people with active lifestyles, and the Grand Vitara is perfect for launching that campaign.”

In the next 12 months Suzuki will also launch a new crossover vehicle, a midsize SUV and a refreshed sedan, Weber said. The next three months should see the biggest spending that the company ever has done in the fourth quarter, he estimated. “Our goal is to get a couple of vehicles that consistently sell in high volume, like the Forenza,” Weber said. “We’re looking to Grand Vitara to become a core-volume vehicle.”

Brea-based American Suzuki spent $70 million advertising in 2004 and $65 million through July 2005, per Nielsen Monitor-Plus. Led by the Forenza, unit sales were up 20 percent for August to 7,216 vehicles and 8 percent for the calendar year to date, per Car Concepts, Thousand Oaks, Calif.