Some years ago when Fallon still had the BMW account and I still worked at Fallon, a very good account guy on the interactive side of the business confided that he desperately wanted to get onto a new account because we was worried that he would soon be pigeonholed as “a car guy.”
Looking at the Tom Cordner, who has started up new Mitsubishi agency Traffic, that may not be a bad thing.
Cordner had previously worked at Ford while at JWT and on Lexus while at Team One (an agency that he actually founded). Certainly, he was more senior that this account guy, but there is clearly the opportunity to make something happen with a little bit of expertise in a category like automotive.
Just ask Tom Cordner.
The problem with car advertising, of course, is that there are far too many makes and models of cars out there so it’s really boom and bust based on fads. Take the SmartCar, for example:
I don’t care what you may have thought on your trip to Europe when you saw these zipping around the cobbled streets of Milan and parking perpendicular to a parallel-parked Maserati, these cars suck.
This is America. The land of big cars and wide-open spaces. While it may make sense to drive this car among the Vespas of the world, you are going to die in even a minor brush with a Yukon…and even a 4Runner or a BMW 5 Series. For savings of, what, maybe $200 a year over a real car like a Mazda, you can drive a ridiculous-looking death trap with no actual space for regular-sized Americans or anything larger than a cup of coffee.
On a positive note, you can lord it over your friends that you drive such a trendy car.
Do it quickly though so you can get your smugness in before you get totaled in a head-on collision with a bike messenger.
Car purchases, which you would expect to be very rational and planned out, are really just big-ticket impulse buys. With the long life of each model (about 3 years before a facelift, 7 years total before a redesign as a rough industry average) based on manufacturing considerations, advertising and branding is critical to keep moving metal if you’re not a passion brand or a fad car.
Mitsubishi is neither and Traffic have their work cut out for them.