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October 16, 2007

The Chevy Malibu Advertising Campaign WHO Can't Ignore?

2008_chevrolet_malibu_lt_frontWhen the all-new 2008 Chevrolet Malibu begins rolling into dealer showrooms on November 1, Chevy is betting that Americans will be aware that the company is back in the car business with a serious competitor in the midsize segment. Or so says a press release announcing its massive advertising and promotional campaign that kicks off October 17.

This integrated marketing push -- the latest in Chevrolet's "American Revolution" campaign -- will launch with an unprecedented one-day digital takeover of the leading online portals as well as automotive, sports, and lifestyle Web sites.

(Note to self: "automotive, sports, and lifestyle Web sites" sounds so.... Uhm... MALE. Can somebody please define "leading online portals"?)

2008_chevy_malibu_ad12 According to the press release I received titled "The Ad Campaign You Can't Ignore: Chevy Malibu," Malibu advertising will dominate broadcast and online coverage of the Major League Baseball 2007 League Championships and World Series, as well as other programming on primetime network and cable television. It will also feature prominently in out-of-home and print media, including USA Today and automotive enthusiast magazines.

(Another note to self: "other programming on primetime network and cable television" AFTERTHOUGHT! Sure sounds to me as if this "integrated marketing push" is heavily aimed at men, so I'm asking our women readers to let me know where they see this vehicle advertised. Who are "YOU" and where will you see the ads?)

2008_chevrolet_malibu_ltz_rear "We are introducing the all-new Malibu to America with a 'no stone left unturned' marketing effort. We want the entire country to know that this car, which is designed to be the best in the mid-size segment, is coming, and that it has bulletproof quality, coupled with beautiful interior and exterior design," says Ed Peper, Chevrolet General Manager. "Malibu has the look, feel, and content of a $40,000 car but it costs less than half that amount. It truly will be the car you can't ignore."

(Note #3: Ed: The press release quote says you want "the entire country to know" but I'm seriously wondering if you actually mean you want just the male population. I believe you must be attempting to reach women, but I still can't figure out how, or where.)

2008_chevrolet_malibu_ltz_interior "The Malibu campaign is not a one-day wonder. It will be a sustained, disciplined marketing effort to tell America about the all-new Malibu," says Kim Kosak, general director, Chevrolet advertising and sales promotion. "We know we face a big challenge because Malibu is going up against strong competitors like Accord and Camry. But we know we have a great product, a strong media plan, and a creative advertising and promotional campaign to tell our story. We're confident we can get the new Malibu on people's shopping lists."

Kosak notes that although the marketing campaign for the 2008 Chevrolet Malibu is massive, it's not a mass-market approach. She also reveals that there will be specific efforts to communicate with women, Hispanics, and African Americans about the all-new Malibu, as well as to other consumers in targeted geographic markets around the country.

"The all-new Malibu is the most-researched car in Chevy's history, and our marketing campaign is also the most-researched plan we've ever developed," Kosak says. "We know who the Malibu's target buyers are, and we have designed customized media plans for all of them to connect with them in a targeted way."

(NTS #4: I want to know who the target buyers are! I appreciate much of the GM product line, and have never felt that General Motors was sexually biased. But based on what I have read so far, this campaign concerns me. Even though they say the campaign is being targeted to women, Hispanics, and African Americans, the press release has not reinforced this to me by listing venues that appear to reach these markets.)

Advertising firm Campbell-Ewald says the campaign will include messages about the Malibu's quality, reliability, and durability; the highly designed interior and exterior; its quietness and safety features; and the hybrid version, which promises to be the most-affordable in the midsize segment.

"The Malibu target audience is deeply entrenched in their beliefs. They are highly skeptical of anyone's ability to compete with Camry and Accord," says Bill Ludwig, vice chairman, chief creative officer at Campbell-Ewald. "This campaign is designed to shock their systems, attack their beliefs, and debunk myths. We want them to start out skeptical and end up wowed. The great thing is, we have the product to do that."

(Note #5: I plan to be attending the Chevy Malibu product reveal in jut a couple of weeks, and will do my best to identify how well the advertising campaign messages match the vehicle and the demographics of its target audience. I am waiting to be shocked. Wow me, Malibu, and I will share it here.)

By Brandy Schaffels
Contributing Editor

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