A New Campaign From Chevrolet
By ELLEN PILIGAN
Detroit – With 10 new vehicles coming to the market over the next 20 months, Chevrolet knew its advertising would have to depart significantly from what had been done in the recent past. There would need to be less attention paid to lifestyle and feeling good and more to its new cars and trucks.
So on New Year’s Eve, Chevrolet will introduce a multimillion-dollar campaign, with the tagline “An American Revolution,” that intends to make the vehicles the stars. The campaign is significant because it covers both cars and trucks under one umbrella. Before this, Chevrolet ran a truck campaign, “Like a Rock,” and a car campaign, “We’ll Be There.”
Developed by Chevrolet’s longtime agency, Campbell-Ewald, a unit of the Interpublic Group of Companies, under the leadership of its chief creative officer, Bill Ludwig, the effort will be Chevrolet’s first full-vehicle-line campaign since the “Heartbeat of America” in the mid-1980’s.
It was, according to Gary L. Cowger, president of General Motors North America, a critical crossroads for the automotive company.
“Do we stay the course with the way we go to market or do we break with the status quo in our advertising?” he asked.
Executives chose innovation, he said. “With 10 new products, if not now, when?” he said. “This is more than just an advertising message. ‘An American Revolution’ is a state of mind, an attitude. It’s a commitment to break the rules if you have to in order to get the best results. It describes Chevy’s culture.”
The company will introduce “Car Carrier” – an ad directed by the feature film director Michael Bay (“Bad Boys II,” “Pearl Harbor,” “Armageddon”) – as the sole advertiser on “Dick Clark’s Primetime New Year’s Rockin’ Eve” with six 60-second spots. The newlyweds, Jessica Simpson and Nicholas Lachey, hosts of the Los Angeles portion of the show, will arrive in an SSR, Chevrolet’s new pickup roadster.
In addition, five 60-second spots will be shown during MTV’s “New Year’s Eve Pajama Party,” and there will be spots on the David Letterman and Jay Leno late-night talk shows, along with two electronic billboard ads in Times Square.
“We wanted to be where the action was,” said Kim Kosak, Chevrolet director for advertising. “And if you’re going to pick New Year’s Eve as your launch date, you better be in Times Square.”
There was also a challenge with 10 vehicle introductions. “I don’t know if it’s ever been done,” Ms. Kosak said. “I think it’s unprecedented.”
The 10 vehicles are the Malibu Maxx, Aveo, SSR pickup roadster, Colorado pickup truck, 2005 Equinox crossover, Cobalt premium small car, Corvette C6, Uplander, HHR crossover and the new Impala.
Every vehicle introduction will bear the “American Revolution” theme but with different taglines and different tones. “Aveo and Colorado are more youthful, Malibu Maxx is more sophisticated and SSR is a little bit more ruckus,” Ms. Kosak said. “You have to find that balance of cohesion but individuality for the individual products.”
Beginning today, the outdoor board campaign begins in 34 major markets on about 250 boards across the country featuring a yellow SSR.
The “Car Carrier” ad, which was unveiled yesterday, will run exclusively until Jan. 12, when individual vehicle spots will begin. The spot will also run nationwide in movie theaters beginning Jan. 1 and will appear for that day only on Yahoo.
“Car Carrier” has the feel of an action film. It begins with scenes of the new Corvette intercut with a car carrier to a remix of “Magic Carpet Ride” by Steppenwolf. The Corvette loads itself up the ramp of the car carrier as other new vehicles including the Colorado and SSR come into the picture from various settings.
They each take a turn making an entrance, the SSR dramatically backing its way on. At the end, a classic Chevrolet rolls up beside the car carrier with the six new vehicles. “It’s a nod to the heritage,” Ms. Kosak said. “Just a little nod because it’s not looking back, it’s about looking forward.”
Ads that will begin after Jan. 12 include “Soap,” featuring the SSR, “truly the poster child for ‘acceptable rebellion,’ ” Ms. Kosak said. The ad was inspired by experiences of people who drove the vehicle early on, she said. “They’d go into a town and people would go, ‘Holy Cow,’ and you’d literally be swarmed at a gas station. The challenge was to capture that awe.”
For the Colorado, whose message is that “it’s the biggest, baddest truck in its class with plenty of room, but with attitude and a smile,” Ms. Kosak said, the ad “My Man,” one of four, features five young men riding in the truck blasting “Man! I Feel Like a Woman!” by Shania Twain.
One man becomes caught up with the song – not to the appreciation of his buddies. The punch line is, “If you’re ever uncomfortable in the new Chevy Colorado crew cab, it won’t be because of lack of space.”
Malibu Maxx’s campaign will run in January with “Chain Reaction.” The spot shows a handoff from one buyer group to another, using the different features that work for that customer, beginning with a woman in workout clothes at a gas station who hands off the car to some guys in a band heading to an airport. Flight attendants take it next to unwind at a beach and a family gets in and takes it to a mountain, where fly fishermen get in.
Despite the new umbrella campaign, “Like a Rock” is not going away. “That’s been very successful for us,” Ms. Kosak said, adding that it will be dedicated exclusively to Silverado, which she said had an older market than the Colorado. “Colorado is much more youthful. It’s play first, enjoying the ride.”
The biggest challenge in coming up with the campaign? “It’s a daunting task to find something that can bear everything from an Aveo to an SSR,” Ms. Kosak said. “That’s why we needed to have individual expressions. You can’t cookie-cutter Chevrolet. It’s too big.”
DVD kudos will flow to Bay Dec. 9
By SCOTT HETTRICK
Michael Bay will be presented with the Pioneer Award by Jerry Bruckheimer Tuesday at the 2003 DVD Exclusive Awards.
Kudos will be presented at the annual event at the Wiltern LG Theater, hosted by Jenny McCarthy and produced for TV by Dick Clark Prods. Broadcast debuts on FX at 8 p.m. Dec. 9 in the first of several runs on the cabler.
Bay has pioneered the concept of video diaries on the sets of his productions, from the DVD Exclusive Award-nominated “Pearl Harbor” through “Bad Boys 2”; the latter is being released on homevid Dec. 9.
He also was one of the few filmmakers to go outside the studio system to work with the Criterion Collection in producing special editions of his films such as “The Rock” and “Armageddon” for laserdisc and DVD.
Previous DVD Exclusive Pioneer Award recipients have been Quentin Tarantino and Louis Feola.
Bruckheimer, whose DVD releases in 2003 include “Kangaroo Jack,” “CSI” and this week’s “Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl,” produced Bay’s films noted above as well as his “Bad Boys.”
Among other special awards recipients, filmmaker Kevin Smith will present the creative achievement award to comicbook legend Stan Lee, and John Ratzenberger will present the Studio Innovation Award to Pixar Animation Studios directors Andrew Stanton (“Finding Nemo”) and Peter Docter (“Monsters, Inc.”).
“American Pie” series producers Chris Moore, Craig Perry, Chris Bender and Adam Herz and series stars Nikki Schieler Ziering and Thomas Ian Nicholas will receive the Comedy Franchise Award from “Animal House” stars Stephen Furst and Martha Smith.
Roger Daltrey will appear as part of a salute to music programming on DVD.
Sleight-of-hand artist Ricky Jay will perform at the theater as part of the post-show party and reception at the conclusion of the taping of the awards, produced by Daily Variety sister publication DVD Exclusive.