I often speak about the power of owning a word. Own a word, the right word, and it can carry your brand to financial success.
Two car companies show a stark contrast to the success or failure of following this rule. Let's use Dodge and Hyundai as two examples. Both companies, like all car companies, have struggled in the recession. Dodge is the established brand, a brand from the past that stood for muscle cars and power. Hyundai is a newcomer, having struggled to get their brand established.
That was the past. How the future has changed. Let's take a look at how Dodge has responded to the crisis and their new ads around their Dodge Caravan line.
Word on the web for this ad - BORING.
Not only boring but it leaves you wondering what is the point and who is the audience.
There is little reinforcement of the brand, other than attempting to convince those watching that a minivan is manly. Sorry, no matter how many times you say that in an ad, your audience isn't going to buy it, figuratively or literally.
Next is Hyundai, who's ads in the past were scattered and insulting with their DUH campaign. Someone has wised up and changed their tune. Take a look.
What is the Hyundai Assurance? It was an offer that stunned the car industry and put the Hyundai brand in front of nearly every American. The Assurance is a promise to take back your car if you lose your job.
Lately Dodge has attempted their own return policy marketing plan, but it is so bad it is causing the exact opposite response that is intended.
The ad, which I can't find a copy of on the web but watched last night during the NBA playoffs, goes something like this.
Same shot of the Caravan. Voice over says:
"You have 60 days to decide if you want to keep the car"
"If you aren't happy you can return it"
"Who needs 60 days to decide? Just look at it"
The unspoken message here, especially with the line, "Who needs 60 days to decide?" screams "DON'T BUY ME" "YOU MAY NOT LIKE ME AND WANT TO BRING ME BACK" "SAVE YOURSELF THE HASSLE AND MAKE THE DECISION NOW. DON'T BUY ME"
I was shocked at the fumbling nature of this ad in its attempt to instill confidence in the buying public but instead simply shoot themselves.
Hyundai Goes Viral
Hyundai now completely owns the word Assurance. The public may not know the details about what you have to do to take your car back, but the message has come through. Hyundai is watching out for you and gives you Assurance. They make you feel safe.
You know a message works when others begin using it in your favor. Take a watch on the following video. The public understands the Hyundai message.
WARNING - This video contains offensive language and images.
If you are going to judge a car company by its ads, then Dodge is dead and Hyundai is the one to watch.
Own a word and you own the world.