It has figuratively been a wild ride. It is most certainly literally going to be a wild ride! The new 2018 Dodge Demon has been unleashed and it represents a halo car and high water mark for the brand and market segment as the most powerful, quickest and fastest V8 production car offered by a manufacturer. Yet, if you aren’t in the market for a car that only comes with drag radials and standard with only one seat, what about this should you care about? The marketing naturally!
The fact of the matter is Dodge has come a long way in a relatively short amount of time. Dodge has a long history and a proud past but, not everyone in the marketplace remembers or resonates with those truths. What many more remember today is a series of hopes that turned to blunders and expectations that sometimes fell short. There is no doubt that market and economic/regulatory forces have had a major hand in Dodge’s fate but, producing an exciting product is not enough without letting the world know you have it ready for them.
What we can learn from Dodge is that even after trying times, they invested in product and then marketed that product using a variety of methods which has been described as a “slow burn” which has erupted into a flurry of excitement.
Dodge embarked on a brand awareness campaign after the Fiat Chrysler Automobiles reorganization. Each product was given its own tag lines and marketing efforts but, the brand as a whole rolled out the Dodge Brothers.
John and Horace were cast and competed across history, always in Dodge’s best products from all the years. These spots were well produced and used on a variety of platforms including broadcast in multiple 1:00 and :30 second spots, social media and print.
This effort showed what accomplishments and excitement Dodge used to exude and then drew the line that those efforts were in direct lineage and rekindled in today’s products.
With the release of the Challenger Demon, Dodge builds on all of these themes and worked all angles of marketing to even greater effect.
With a foundation of brand awareness laid, Dodge moved to highlight individual products to the markets they identified as most targeted. In a two fold move, Dodge released a new “halo” product. This is a pinnacle product that creates further brand awareness, is exciting on it’s own and will likely help to drive other product sales. Not everyone who took note of the Challenger Demon will buy one. Rather, many will purchase lower model Challengers, more convenient four-door model cars, or more practical vehicles for their lifestyle. Halo products can have this effect, but only if they are marketed!
Dodge has done this by leveraging its media efforts in key ways. First, before unveiling the Challenger Demon, fourteen videos were created and rolled out one per week until the day the curtain was pulled back. These videos were put on the company website and pushed to all the major outlets including YouTube and Facebook.
Furthermore, announcements of the videos and their highlighted features were made on Twitter. All of this lead to what all marketing hopes for, word of mouth! Blogs soon picked up the feeds, weighed in and linked back to the videos. Auto magazines would write in-depth articles on what we might expect. Movie tie-ins with the Fast and Furious franchise were announced. Then, posts to Facebook and Instagram passed all this free advertising around. Jackpot!
The new marketing strategy ran concurrently with the older one of the Dodge Brothers, and Dodge with the tag line ”Domestic not Domesticated” rolled with the Metallica theme song “Fuel”. More than one marketing strategy and lots of video has worked for others before, the insurance industry anyone? So, why not Dodge?
Dodge also attempted many styles of high quality video marketing. Dodge used high end CG animation to introduce us to its newest product.
Later videos used moody lighting with live action video and a bellowing soundtrack to bring us into a unique world.
Then because humor is more likable than not, Dodge poked fun at the pharmaceutical industry by mocking a list of “side effects” from driving an exciting car in the spot “Warning”.
When the big day came, the target market was salivating, not even sure what they were going to get! To bring it all to the fore, a live event highlighting the videos previously created, old tie-ins with the Dodge Brothers and celebrity endorsements all came over an hour to a live audience, in house and streaming over the internet. The doors blew wide open and interest soared!
With all of that, what can we take from this, even if you don’t have the budget to buy the rights to a major rock band? The lessons here are, even a company that is more than 100 years old had to return to square one and build brand awareness before trying to sell its product. Many think if I put up an ad that says “for sale” we are home free. It is important to tell people you exist and build a likability factor before you push the sale. We are all more likely to buy from someone we have had a conversation with before, rather than a complete stranger!
Then, we see that quality video drove much of this success. By now all of us in the know have read about how poor video can deter but, professional video can grow. Fourteen high quality videos built buzz, excitement and grew social media energy that was far greater than the cost of the videos themselves. People watch video in greater quantities than ever before and there is more video than ever. It is easy for other to share these videos but, they have to want to. Quality video keeps people coming back and introducing it with others. This was easily measured when the live event was streamed across the internet and to the world and thousands on a well light, but excitement enhancing stage, with plenty of camera angles to show everyone why this moment was worth waiting for!
Building your brand is worth while. Skipping steps will not get you to your goal more quickly and it is a consistent cycle that you can build upon, but only if you nurture it. A focused and consistent effort is needed fight your way through the noise of your competition. The good news is, great ideas and quality are still worth the investment and payback in full. Marketing well is the key and high quality video can be the answer!
View the Dodge Challenger Demon videos here: