Tuesday, July 2, 2013

A strong start

On July Fourth Chevrolet will begin its most important vehicle announcement in years with the launch of the new Silverado.

Each Silverado delivers approximately $12,000 profit to the corporation. Full-size pickups, like popular priced sedans, are at the very heart of Chevy's DNA. It's a category they have to play successfully in to be whole. And they need this campaign to help change the trajectory of the brand.

Chevy Trucks were always the bright spot in the Chevrolet product line. Even as the company was losing share in cars, their truck sales remained strong, nipping at Ford's heels. But then the bankruptcy happened and that broke the brand's faith and trust with some truck buyers.

You see, Chevy wasn't just an American-made brand. Chevy Trucks helped make America. They hauled hay on the farms, towed tools to the jobsites, moved mountains of dirt, rock and sand to make way for progress.

When GM went begging hat in hand to the federal government bail it out, it was a sign of weakness. It undermined one of the essential pillars of the Chevy brand. Now people weren't leaning on Chevy Trucks. Chevy was leaning on the people. Chevy wasn't like a rock anymore, and truck sales began to decline significantly.

Clearly the people at Commonwealth and Chevrolet understand that their road to redemption won't be built on the strength of superior features alone. Especially since any superiority that this new truck may have in mileage, towing capacity, comfort, etc. will quickly be matched or lost once Ford launches the new F-Series in six months.

Chevrolet needs to become something more that just a collection of features. It needs to find its center; that one thing the brand is famous for. Based on this spot, it's clear those in charge think the future of the Chevy Truck brand is buried in its past.

First of all, I'm going to come straight out and say it. I like this spot. While there's nothing really new here – the images are those we've seen in truck spots for generations, using a popular artist to create a new song for the brand, bolting an irrelevant tagline on the end – are all hallmarks of Chevy Truck advertising.

This spot works because the details are right. The tone is right. The fundamental message is right.

Trying to own the word "Strong" is smart.

Chevy was always about dependability, being there when you need it. Every image and every line in this song remind us of that. Since Ford has been the category leader, Chevy has been a feisty underdog, not afraid to take shots at the big boy. We did it 20 years ago when we produced the Chevy Truck Ford County campaign. They're doing it again here with the line "Everybody says he ain't just tough."

Will this campaign lift Chevy Trucks out of the doldrums and have it challenging Ford for sales supremacy? Not on its own. The product has to be right and the grass-roots marketing has to get people behind the wheel and experience the product. It's going to be a long, tough road.

This is definitely a strong start.

Here's a full-length, web version of the spot that does a better version of conveying the entirety of the positioning. Enjoy.

1 comment:

  1. Chevy was already the challenger brand to Ford before the bankruptcy, but as you said so eloquently, when GM went begging the government for a bail out, it was the antithesis of a brand positioning itself as a rock.
    I wish I liked the campaign as much as you do. I see every cliché in the book, nothing very original here. Chevy seems to think business as usual will win the day, but I’m not sure that is the strongest strategy.