New Goodby Ads Reposition Isuzu

Automaker’s Corporate Image Now on Front Burner; New Tagline
SAN FRANCISCO-Facing stiff competition in the truck market, Isuzu Motors has broken a campaign from Goodby, Silverstein & Partners that repositions the Isuzu brand as the specialist in sport utility vehicles.
The new ads take a more up-front corporate image approach and, unlike recent ads, carry a tagline: “Go farther.”
The campaign touts Isuzu’s vehicles as a means of escape from urban life. Ads broke Sept. 14 on network TV during the broadcast of the 49th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards.
The campaign consists of two image spots: One at 60 seconds in length, the other at 30. They are backed by a series of 15-second product-oriented spots. All the ads show the re-engineered Rodeo.
The 60-second ad, shot in black and white, opens like a bucolic fairy tale with a scene of deer in a meadow. A giant dressed in a business suit stomps into the field and sets down skyscrapers, factories and “keep out” signs. From the distance comes a silver Isuzu Rodeo that drives through the city, eluding the angry Goliath.
A narrator intones: “The world has boundaries. Ignore them.” The spot closes with a graphic of the tagline and the Isuzu Rodeo name.
The new ads “aim to position Isuzu as the company that is the sports utility vehicle specialist,” said Rich Silverstein, agency principal and co-creative director. Previous ads focused on the Trooper and Rodeo models; the Isuzu brand took a back seat. They also took a humorous approach and positioned individual models-trucks and SUVs-as fun and adventurous. The new ads make no mention of the truck category.
Instead, the new campaign plays into the idea that “an SUV represents freedom and the spirit of breaking through barriers,” added Silverstein.
The repositioning comes shortly after Isuzu reported a sharp decline in profits, partly due to heavy competition in the truck market.
Spending on the campaign was undisclosed. Isuzu spent $70 million on advertising in 1996 and $28 million in the first half of 1997, according to Competitive Media Reporting.