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Marketing tips, observations & philosophy, plus a few rants and random musings - from those who practice, preach and teach marketing, research, advertising, public relations and business strategy.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Yes, But Does it Sell?

In the advertising media there’s been a lot of talk recently about Chrysler’s $200 million “Dr. Z” campaign. The question is: “Is it working?”

Hmmm. In a word, no.

Sales are actually down at Chrysler in double-digit percentages. Nothing new there right? Just ask Ford, GMC, and every other automotive giant in the States. However, from a marketing perspective, the Dr. Z campaign has a fundamental problem, namely when you watch the commercials, you remember nothing about the product, just the guy with the funny mustache and thick German accent. In effect, the star of the show is overshadowing the very cars he’s trying to sell.

In a random sampling of viewers, the Today Show discovered that – after watching the commercial in its entirely - few people could name the type of car being pitched and even fewer caught that that Dr. Z is actually Dieter Zetsche, Chairman of the Board at Chrysler.

The point is that messages are products in and of themselves that should be tested before they’re released to the general public. Most rational business owners would consider it insane to do a comprehensive roll-out of an untested product, yet these same executives waste thousands of dollars each year by taking a “spaghetti approach” to marketing, i.e. just throw anything up against the wall and see what sticks.

I felt sorry for Chrysler’s spokesman as he did what any good PR spin doctor would do tried to turn negative questions into positives. I watched as he cheerily said that while sales were down, web traffic was “through the roof” and the company was very happy that people were talking about their cars.

Call me crazy, but I’d rather have people buying my cars than talking about them.

2 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Also see the recent buzz hype and media coverage of Snakes on a Plane.

All the media coverage and no one in the seats.

Product (the movie) didn't provide the benefit the viewer wanted.

8:53 PM

 
Anonymous Chris Haddad said...

I would actually disagree. Before Snakes on a Plane came out I was extremely critical that the hype and marketing for the movie was making a promise that the flick itself couldn't keep.

And then I went and saw the thing in a crowded theatre and had the time of my life. The flick was silly, raucous, eminently mockable and exactly as much fun as a movie called "Snakes on a Plane" should have been.

Did Snakes light the box office on fire? Nope. But then again neither did big-budget flicks fueled by massive ad budgets like Superman or MI:3. I'm figuring that Snakes will have a long life on DVD and with midnight screenings where hopped up popcorn-heads can scream back at the screen to their heart's delight.

The hype wasn't the problem, the expectations that that hype would translate into a 50 million opening were.

6:18 AM

 

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