Random thoughts on ads and industry rumblings

Chrysler hit a stand up, out of the park home run with its “Born of Fire” Superbowl TV spot with the tag line, “Imported From Detroit.” These spot struck a chord with the American public.

Strange that the ads should come under the ownership of the Italians (Fiat). Strange that the Italians should understand the American psyche better than Americans (Cerberus) or the Germans (Daimler).

Or maybe it isn’t so strange after all. I have a center-spread ad from a European magazine from the early ‘80s for the Fiat Panda. It shows a punk rock girl – black leather clad with an over the top orange Mohawk/mullet next to a Panda with a similar hair style; she says, “Dad’s Dino just didn’t have the headroom.” The ad grabbed me so much I wrote to the magazine and asked if I could get a copy. They sent me an unfolded copy that I have framed.

Now juxtapose that ad with Ford’s ads for the Fiesta. I know the Fiesta is a completely different car than the Chrysler 200 but come on, the Fiesta ad, with its unicycles, balloons, mimes, and what have you just doesn’t do much for me.

Don’t get me wrong, I really like the Fiesta (I haven’t driven one but the looks are appealing). The commercial just seems to artsy fartsy, not quite serious. The Fiestas in the commercials are Lime Squeeze Metallic or Yellow Blaze Metallic Tri-coat, two of the wimpiest colors I’ve seen in a long time. The Fiesta looks much better (to me) in colors like Bright Magenta Metallic or Tuxedo Black Metallic. (Do kids really like Lime Squeeze Metallic?)

I think Ford missed the mark with its marketing; the Fiesta is aimed at young people but many people my age (old) are looking for something economical, roomy, and with a little attitude. The Fiesta isn’t just for kids; us old farts like it too but throw in a little pizzazz – PLEASE!

Did you hear that some folks at GM want Bob Lutz back? I can’t think of a worse idea. Bob Lutz is a dinosaur; does GM want to build cars that only appeal to staid middle-Americans? If GM wants to move into this century they need to hire someone away from Hyundai or Kia, or maybe one of the young dudes at Ford to run their marketing and/or be the product czar. Get some attitude GM.

A case in point is the Chevy Cruz, a really good car but if Chevy was trying to out-appliance the Corolla, they did it. Even daily transportation should make you say, “Damn I want to drive that.” Take a look at the 2011 Hyundai Elantra, that car looks like fun just sitting still yet it really is a daily driver.

So those of you who crave Bob Lutz, go back to your own century.


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