Spend any time in the advertising business, and you'll see this kind of struggle. So called "high-concept" advertising is what tends to be what consumers emotionally engage with and remember. Usually, only big brands with a national presence and lots of money can pull off advertising that is more about the spot than the product it's hawking. Running with the big boys requires vision on the part of decision makers. While big companies have marketing specialists with high falutin' degrees and summat, the retailers that close sales and take the money from your hand focus much more on product.
According to Bloomberg, Chrysler and its dealer body are playing out this very struggle. Dealers are unhappy with the company's new advertising efforts and budget changes that have been made as part of the recently enacted five year business plan. Facing sales that were down twenty five percent in November, dealers have asked that the new ads focusing on lifestyle and brand-building, such as the latest Jeep spots, be stopped. Advertising that shows vehicles and their features, along with a harder sell on the price and incentive front would be preferable to the dealers.
Cash on the hood is down, however, and Chrysler has some vehicles that are challenging to sell. Regional advertising budgets have been readjusted, as well, siphoning off funds from some higher-volume dealers to regions without enough volume to get any help in the fourth quarter otherwise. The plan in Auburn Hills is to aggressively rebuild its brands over the next five years, which is an image-building operation where the new campaign makes sense. In the meantime, however, the company needs to sell cars to stay solvent until its touchy-feely advertising takes root; an effort that may be better served by the product-centric advertising the dealers want. While everyone loves clever advertisements, sometimes it's just best to scream about the deals on Sunday, Sunday, SUNDAY!
Hit the jump to see an example of the new commercials.