SUV Conquers Paper Trail

LOS ANGELES After spending months on the shelf while the automaker committed ad dollars to the spot and cable markets, Mitsubishi Motors North America broke a commercial for the Endeavor this week.

Called “Origami,” the spot features the SUV cruising through an animated environment, amplifying the “Japanese cool” theme developed by Omnicom Group’s BBDO for the brand. Everything in the spot, including the wheat fields and water splashes, resembles the folded-paper art.

Copy (by associate creative director Brian Donovan) is delivered by a Japanese narrator and in English subtitles, giving the appearance of Japanese import. Sounding like Toshiro Mifune in classic Japanese movies, the narrator says, “The legend is well known. It rules the mountains. It rules the creatures.” At the end, an origami dragon bows in deference to the Endeavor. The spot, running in 20- and 30-second versions, is tagged “Driven to thrill” in English.

The spot, combining origami, animation, digital compositing and miniature sets, was produced here by MJZ with music by Stewart Copeland, according to the Cypress, Calif.-based automaker. BBDO creatives were not available for comment.

A source said that Mitsubishi is pulling back from national commercial play as a matter of “cost control” and will continue to air in the spot market and in cable.

MMNA reduced its advertising expenditures to $233 million last year from $285 million in 2004, according to Nielsen Monitor-Plus. Sales are down 22 percent on the year to 15,445 units, and the Endeavor is off 33 percent over last year with sales of 2,133, per Car Concepts, Thousand Oaks, Calif.