Relaunch Moves Neon Beyond ‘Hi’

Plymouth, Dodge Model Gets Spending Boost to Build New Image
By Tanya Irwin
DETROIT–DaimlerChrysler plans to spend more in the next five months relaunching its Neon small car than the former Chrysler Corp. spent on any such launch over a similar period in its history, according to A.C. “Bud” Liebler, DaimlerChrysler vice president of marketing.
Liebler declined to put a dollar figure on the launch. DaimlerChrysler spent about $89 million when it introduced the Neon in January 1994.
The campaign includes a new tagline, “The next Neon: A lot more to love,” replacing the simple “Hi.”
Advertising for the redesigned 2000 Neon breaks March 15. The car is sold under both the Plymouth and Dodge nameplates. BBDO, Southfield, Mich., DaimlerChrysler’s national agency for the Dodge division, created this campaign. Plymouth agency Bozell Worldwide, Southfield, won’t be involved until regional dealer advertising launches in July.
“We tried to get away from cute and tried to be a little more sophisticated and clever and really break through the clutter,” Liebler said. “These are very soft-sell. I think you’ll be able to watch them 25 times and they’ll bring a smile to your face every time and you’ll never get tired of them because they are so upbeat.”
The campaign includes three 30-second TV commercials featuring classic songs with revised, auto-related lyrics. The lyrics are spoken over the music by comedian George Carlin in a deadpan delivery. The songs are “That’s Amore,” as sung by Dean Martin, “Dream a Little Dream of Me” by the Mamas and the Papas and “You Didn’t Have to Be so Nice,” by the Lovin’ Spoonful.
The spots were shot in Australia and New Zealand.
Print ads break March 16 with an eight-page foldout insert in USA Today. Four-, three- and two-page spreads will run in a variety of newsweeklies, auto enthusiast, lifestyle and shelter books. Outdoor ads are planned in 25 markets nationwide.
The TV media buy, handled by BBDO’s Pentacom unit, includes network and national cable, including ESPN, Turner Network, VH1, Comedy Central, USA and the SciFi Channel.