DMB&B Mixes Attitude, Frugality For Sunfire

Hendrix’s ‘Fire,’ A New Tagline Aim Pontiac Sedan At Target Buyers
DETROIT–D’Arcy Masius Benton & Bowles targets the young car buyer with an adventurous spirit but limited cash flow in a new campaign for Pontiac’s 1999 Sunfire.
Two 30-second TV spots feature the Jimi Hendrix song “Fire” and a new tagline: “Hot set of wheels. Money left to burn.” The campaign broke Aug. 24 in an abbreviated spot and network flight, and will return with heavy prime-time exposure in October and November. Two print ads are running in lifestyle and fashion magazines.
DMB&B is also featuring audio Sunfire ads in a limited test with Moviephone (777-Film) in Chicago and Dallas, said Mason Franklin, vice president and Sunfire brand marketing partner at DMB&B in Troy, Mich. The free movie information line has begun accepting advertising as a lead-in to its services, Franklin said, and Pontiac is testing its viability.
GM spent about $20 million on measured media spending for the Pontiac Sunfire in 1997, according to data from Competitive Media Reporting.
Both of the TV spots are broken into three vignettes, each showing Sunfire owners breaking life’s everyday rules. The Sunfire appeals to consumers aged 21-34 with active lifestyles who are looking for a stylish car that reflects their individuality, Franklin said. The campaign’s tongue-in-cheek disdain for life’s “rules” hits home with the target buyer’s independent nature, he said.
While the targeted consumers prize their individuality, they also have limited finances, and will be attracted to the second part of the tagline’s promise, said Gary Horton, DMB&B’s chief creative officer.
The use of Hendrix’s “Fire” fits with the target buyer’s independent thinking, and also assists in the vehicle’s branding, said Linda Meek, DMB&B vice president and co-creative director on the campaign.
The agency hopes to continue using the song in future Sunfire campaigns, Horton added. New executions are planned for next calendar year, he said.