There has been a lot of uproar among agency types over Chevy’s use of Mellencamp’s “this is our country” for those Chevy ads.
My major issue was never the music used (let’s face it, any anti-corporate lyrics are just posturing and anyway, looking at the iPod ads, it’s great advertising for the band to get a song broadcast by the right brand, but I digress), but more the message.
According to this ad, the only people who Chevy is made for are blue collar, American as apple pie people from the Heartland. Though I was born in the Midwest and love the Heartland, people don’t live like they show in the ad. I have no clue what a thresher is even after Googling it. And farms are not cool or aspirational, even in the Midwest.
This is terrible strategy.
Blue collar America is disappearing (and thankfully so, unless your idea of a good job is working hourly in a dangerous factory rather than on salary in a comfortable office), the Heartland is losing population to the major urban centers (though they are now mostly in the West and Southwest, it’s still not the farm that they are moving to), and you are not going to attract the new urbanite with a call to the old days.
I don’t need a car that looks cool around piles of lumber. I will never in my life be near piles of lumber. I need a car that a potential client (or date) won’t be embarrassed to be in.
The fact that I am even bringing this up points to a deep brand issue.
The new Chevy Malibu isn’t a bad looking car at all. Yes, Campbell-Ewald will do the same crappy auto advertising they always do, but the looks are there and so it the faint scent of opportunity. With Toyota’s quality declining, with styling that is far better than the 31 flavors of vanilla Ford and Toyota lineup, and with some good luck Chevy could be in the mix. If only people like me considered buying a Chevy. Because we don’t.
The only reason people like me won’t consider it is the Chevy brand. Feel-good Heartland ads aren’t going to change any minds. Why do American car companies stick with the same old boring shops they’ve had for the past 60 years of decline?
And does anyone really think that Campbell-Ewald has the answer to Chevy’s brand issue?