Mitsubishi Sets a Mean Stance for Raider Kickoff

LOS ANGELES Mitsubishi Motors North America launches its first pickup truck with a commercial today on ABC’s Monday Night Football.

The 30-second spot, from Omnicom Group’s BBDO in New York, shows a crimson Raider ascending a steep cliff in the desert and facing off against a generic competitor.

The two trucks face off with menacing revving engines, until the Raider’s roar makes the other truck whine, blow a hose, and leak in fear underneath. A voiceover says, “The new intimidating Mitsubishi Raider . . . ,” touting its towing ability and payload, and ends with the tagline, “Driven to thrill.”

“This commercial follows in the vein of Eclipse, with breakthrough creative, honing in on what’s important to the truck buyer, Raider’s clear and compelling benefits,” said Wayne Killen, vice president of marketing at MMNA, Cypress, Calif. “And, more important, [the message] is: ‘My truck is better than your truck.’ ”

Killen said the spot’s “J-cool” aspects, drawn from Japanese youth culture, harkens both to samurai movies and the American Westerns that inspired them.

“We didn’t want to overload on callouts and features,” said Killen of the commercial’s “clear, focused message,” credited to creative directors Mark Wegwerth and Christopher Cole, working under chief creative officer David Lubars and executive creative director Bill Bruce.

The spot will run heavily during sports broadcasts, Killen said, though it moves to network prime time next weekend. The campaign consists of print, online, outdoor (including wallscapes in Los Angeles) and experiential marketing, built around collegiate tailgate parties.

MMNA spent $290 million advertising in 2004 and $125 million through July 2005, according to Nielsen Monitor-Plus. Killen declined to enumerate spending on Raider, but predicted that it would “rival the Eclipse launch in weight and prominence.”