Is the 2015 Chrysler 200 the most important new product for Fiat Chrysler Automobiles? While it is certainly debatable, we'd be strongly inclined to say "yes." As the first competent midsize sedan that Chrysler has released in the better part of two decades, the new 200 is absolutely crucial to achieving the brand's goal of becoming FCA's "mainstream" manufacturer.
"The 200 sets the benchmark, for us, on how we plan to develop cars going forward." – Marissa Hunter
Of course, we already know how the 200 drives. Jonathan Ramsey delivered an early taste, while Steven Ewing amassed over 1,500 miles on a 200S AWD during a two-week stint with the sleek sedan, with the former complimenting the new car's fit and finish and the latter calling it an "infinitely better product." And indeed, you, the customer, have already voiced early support for the sleek four-door, with over 17,000 orders during its first two days on sale.
This has all happened before the 200 has really even graced our TVs or Facebook feeds in any significant way. But considering this early success, you can imagine the degree of pressure on the advertising team to come up with a campaign that will help the 200's ever-increasing momentum.
We sat down with Chrysler Group's global director of brand advertising, Marissa Hunter, to find out just what went into the 200's initial advertising blitz, known as Born Makers.
That name was the first thing that caused us issue. What is a "born maker?"
"The focus isn't really about just dreaming up big ideas, but it's about having the ingenuity, the commitment, the energy and the passion to make them happen." Hunter told Autoblog in a phone interview. "It's the idea that from a craftsmanship perspective, you dig a little deeper and work a littler harder and build something that's more beautiful, more innovative and more stylish."
"Innovative and stylish" aren't really adjectives associated with the last 200 (and its Sebring antecedent), of course. The old 200/Sebring were arguably some of the worst cars in the midsize sedan class, and remain regular fixtures on the lots of local Hertz or Enterprise offices. Turning that reputation around will be far more important to bringing in customers than talking about advanced tech or new powertrains, a fact that Hunter seems to recognize.
"The focus isn't really about just dreaming up big ideas, but it's about having the ingenuity, the commitment, the energy and the passion to make them happen."
"They are what they are, and you just have to do what you think is right to build the right car, for the consumer, for the marketplace today and in the future," Hunter told Autoblog. "The place where we are going to build the car has been rebuilt from the ground up, so that we could then rebuild the car from the ground up," Hunter said. "The 200 sets the benchmark, for us, on how we plan to develop cars going forward."
Certainly, part of repairing the 200s reputation involves showing the new vehicles off in the coming ad campaign. The two spots, a 60-second ad and a 30-second ad, show off the car in what is arguably its best shade – white. Backed by the gravely vocals of Kevin Yon, from the Born of Fire Super Bowl ad, and with a Detroit-based singer belting out Bob Dylan's Things Have Changed, there are no shortage of parallels between this and the breakout Eminem ad from a few years back.
"There are some similarities to that work, intentionally so," Hunter said. "There are some pieces of it that feel a bit more evolved. The images that are being used are perhaps a bit more optimistic."
Have a look at the 60-second spot in the video below, and let us know what you think of Chrysler's efforts. Does this live up to the trends set by past Chrysler campaigns? What would you have done differently? Sound off, in the Comments.
• On-air campaign launches on Saturday, June 7, with :60-second and :30-second spots
• "Born Makers" features remixed version of "Things Have Changed" with vocals by Detroit singer/artist MoZella; Narrated by Kevin Yon (voice of Chrysler brand's "Born of Fire" campaign)
• Campaign includes Hispanic, in-theater, print, digital, social and out of home/transit extensions
• As of official auto sponsor of "24: Live Another Day," the All-New Chrysler 200 will be featured throughout season, with fully-integrated episode on Monday, June 9, on FOX.
• The Chrysler brand will proudly display the all-new 2015 Chrysler 200 on the front of the Chrysler Group Headquarters in Auburn Hills in June
• All-new 2015 Chrysler to start at $$21,700 MSRP (excludes tax, title. license and destination)
June 6, 2014, Auburn Hills, Mich. - The Chrysler brand will debut its "Born Makers" marketing and advertising campaign today to mark the launch of the all-new 2015 Chrysler 200. The on-air campaign will launch in the U.S. on Saturday, June 7, with a :60-second and a :30-second commercial running across national broadcast and cable television. 'Born Makers" includes Hispanic, in-theater, print, digital, social and out of home/transit extensions. The All-New 2015 Chrysler 200 is available in dealerships now. The commercials can be viewed at www.youtube.com/chrysler.
The "Born Makers" commercials is narrated by Kevin Yon (the voice behind the Chrysler brand's "Born of Fire" commercial that debuted during Super Bowl XLV) and features Detroit born artist/singer MoZella performing the vocals behind Bob Dylan's "Things Have Changed" track.
The commercial's visuals include footage of Chrysler Group's Sterling Heights (Mich.) Assembly Plant (SHAP), and its employees. The All-New 2015 Chrysler 200 is designed, engineered and built with pride in Michigan. With a major investment of more than $1 billion, Chrysler Group's Sterling Heights (Mich.) Assembly Plant (SHAP), once slated for closure, sports an all-new paint shop using leading-edge technology, a new, fully robotic body shop and an upgraded assembly area, setting the stage for the world-class craftsmanship found in the all-new 200. The commercial ends with the "America's Import" tagline.
Script (:60-second spot):
What's a Born Maker made from?
From callused hands...
from the shoulders of giants.
From small steps.
And giant leaps.
And sharp minds.
From steel resolve.
From blood, sweat...and gears.
All the things that make a Born Maker...made this.
A car with swagger.
A car that proves a well-made sedan doesn't have to cross an ocean to be
worthy of American driveways.
We are Born Makers.
We made this.
The All-New Chrysler 200.
In addition to Hispanic, in-theater, print, digital, and social tactics, the marketing campaign also includes the Chrysler brand as the exclusive auto partner of "24: Live Another Day" on FOX television. The "24"collaboration will include an in-show integration on Monday, June 9; media exclusivity in key episodes; and season-long placement of the All-New 2015 Chrysler 200; as well as customized digital content and experiences; social media activations; and co-branded marketing.
The Chrysler brand will display the All-New 2015 Chrysler 200 on the front of the Chrysler Group Headquarters in Auburn Hills this month (June).
The Chrysler brand's "Born Makers" was created in partnership with Dallas-based The Richards Group.
About the Chrysler 200
The All-New 2015 Chrysler 200 debuts the new "face of Chrysler." The grille and headlamps are integrated for the first time, and the updated Chrysler badge has an emphasis on the wing, which is more defined. The available full-LED daytime running lamps (DRL), LED fog lamps and standard LED tail lamps give the All-New Chrysler 200 a distinctive, recognizable look coming and going.
The 2015 Chrysler 200 debuts a beautiful exterior design featuring the new "face" of the Chrysler brand – a thoughtful, exquisitely crafted interior and an exceptional driving experience, complements of a segment-first nine-speed automatic transmission and an Alfa Romeo-based chassis. The All-New Chrysler 200 provides the choice of two world-class engines, an innovative all-wheel-drive system, available sport mode and paddle shifters for an engaged driving experience, and an EPA estimated highway fuel economy of 36 miles per gallon (mpg) with a 2.4L engine.
The All-New 2015 Chrysler 200 offers the most available safety features in the mid-size sedan segment, and state-of-the-art, easy-to-use technology that keeps drivers and passengers connected, With a starting U.S. Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) of just $21,700 (excluding $995 destination and tax, title and license).
About Chrysler Brand
The Chrysler brand has delighted customers with distinctive designs, craftsmanship, intuitive innovation and technology all at an extraordinary value since the company was founded in 1926.
Whether it is the groundbreaking, bold design of the Chrysler 300, the simple elegance and extraordinary driving experience of the All-New 2015 Chrysler 200, or the family room on wheels functionality of the Chrysler Town & Country, Chrysler brand vehicles reward the passion, creativity and sense of accomplishment of its owners. Beyond just exceptionally designed vehicles, the Chrysler brand has incorporated thoughtful features into all of its products, such as the innovative center console with pass through storage and sliding cup holders in the 2015 Chrysler 200, the industry-exclusive Stow 'n Go® seating and storage system on the Chrysler Town & Country, and the fuel-saving Fuel Saver Technology in the Chrysler 300.
The Chrysler brand's succession of innovative product introductions continues to solidify the brand's standing as the leader in design, engineering and value. The premium for the Chrysler brand is in the product, not the price.