Dealers Get Big Boost

DaimlerChrysler plans to spend as much on a campaign touting its Five Star dealers as it would for a new product launch, according to senior vice president of marketing Bud Liebler.
Crafted by FCB Worldwide, Southfield, Mich. (formerly Bozell), the campaign breaks this weekend and includes five 30-second TV spots, four print ads and a radio component.
Spending was not disclosed but, given Liebler’s analogy, could be about $50 million.
In one commercial titled “Keys,” a set of car keys is tossed throughout the dealership from employee to employee and department to department until it finally reaches the salesperson–just as the customer is walking through the door to pick up his vehicle. The tagline is: “Five Star. It’s better. We’ll prove it.”
About 1,600 of the automaker’s 4,500 dealers have achieved Five Star status and another 400 are expected to do so by the end of the year.
The program was launched in 1997 in “response to the revolution in dealerships” and is intended to help the automaker compete with the growing number of dealership “superstores” such as AutoNation, Liebler said.
DaimlerChrysler told its dealers at the program’s inception that once a “critical mass” had joined, the company would advertise Five Star nationally, Liebler said.
The trademarked Five Star program ensures customer service excellence measured by consistent sales, comprehensive customer follow-up and well-organized facilities.