Neal Freeland

Engineering/marketing manager, family guy. My personal blog with a few work thoughts mixed in.

Dodge Ram Challenge

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Marketing a truck is pretty straight forward: you sell it as tough, and buy TV ads during football games to get it in front of a male audience. Dodge launched a campaign last fall that did this, but also added a few twists: they pitted four teams of tough guys (military, contractors, firemen, cowboys) against each other in a reality series race, the teams driving stock Ram trucks through challenging courses in the California desert. They added flames and jumps and helicopters, and of course lots of images of the trucks. The TV campaign built the brand just as any ad does, but was also supported by an online microsite that incorporated community features from Yahoo! answers, groups, and Flickr.
This campaign is still running (I saw it last weekend while watching the NFL Playoffs), and I finally checked out the microsite. I was pretty impressed. The episodes are very professional, and add believeability and depth to the TV ads. That said, it’s very expensive to produce this content (and hire Tony Scott, of Top Gun, to direct it, not to mention the cost of the helicopters), and checking Quantcast it looks like only 30 k vistors came to the site even after a huge amount of TV promotion. Furthermore, the community features are filled with spam and complaints about the auto industry bailout. It’s hard to imagine the return on investment is there, but this is a nice example of how marketers are trying to create integrated campaigns that engage users online.

Written by nealfreeland

January 21, 2009 at 12:11 am

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