Friday, December 16, 2005

I gots me some mad skillz, yo.

So there's this small...debate going on with the ad sales dept. in NY -- aka, the people who sell to the people buying ads. I was assigned to do an ad geared towards auto companies. Now, cars are VERY SPECIFIC things in advertising. For my lawgeekers, you should all understand when I say one phrase - "intellectual property rights to brand identity". So in my ad, I used an overhead shot of a guy driving what is a 1960's mustang. You really have to look hard to see what kind of car it is, but classic cars are fairly open in terms of brand identity anyway.

Amongst other things, they felt that it was too "cheap" of a car. In fact, acc. to our NY sales office, a 1960 Mustang in good condition only costs about $20k.
::pause::
huh.

Right.

So, on my first day as a permanent employee, I combined my knowledge of advertising with my freakishly-acquired, highly-detailed knowledge of luxury cars and sent back the following e-mail.*

*No, I did not get fired, thank you. My Mktg. Dir & immediate boss actually were rather delighted by this, as it would seem the NY sales team is a bit of a bane in their existence.


Dear J:

I picked the car in question because in order for us to use a high end luxury car for our branding...

a) any car whose brand was less than 10 years old & could be identified in the photo as a specific car would most likely contact us with questions as to why they weren't notified their brand was being used in our advertising, a question that would most likely then be followed by a request for renumeration BECAUSE we're using their brand in our advertising without their permission.

Note : simply removing a car's logo or hood ornament with photoshop isn't an option, as the design of the car body would give away the brand & model.

In addition, shots of a car's gearshift or control panels would also give away the make & brand of the car, since (and I'm really not kidding about this) car companies actually have THOSE designs patented as well.

For instance, the only reason that Lexus & Toyotas have the same gear shift is because Toyota owns Lexus. In contrast, a VW shift is COMPLETELY different in shape & style, as is a BMW.

there's even a difference in whether it's a 5 spd or an automatic. For instance, you can't simply buy a Jaguar 5spd - they have to be special ordered. So if I were to use a stick shift, I would technically be excluding Jaguar customers, along with Bentley, since other than the present 2-door coupe, their customers tend to be of an older demographic who primarily prefer the automatic 4 door sedans.
BMW offers the 5spd/auto options IN the dealerships, but the shift on a 325i is vastly different from that of a 5 spd Mini. 1 out of 3 Porsches are automatics (even if that is a waste of an engine) and Aston Martins are primarily 5spd. Meanwhile, Maserati doesn't even use a conventional gear shift anymore - their present controller is either a very small joystick-like lever in the center dash, or a dual paddle system on either side of the wheel.

b) because of the fact that we're attempting to advertise to car companies in general, by using one brand, we would in essence only be advertising to one possible customer, since we'd be excluding all of the OTHER car companies by "endorsing" the one.

So because of all of the above, I decided to run with the look of a classic car rather than a specific luxury car. Classic cars are, for the most part, free of any royalty issues, and a properly kept classic car actually costs A LOT of money - just ask Jay Leno. I would have been happier if I could have found say, a 1969 Porsche roadster, and I can continue to look, but for a draft, I figured the Mustang was a good place to start.

Like I said, I can continue to look, but for the specifications of a car that communicates speed in an image which also carried through the red tie brand identity that was established in the previous ad...I thought this would be a decent jumping off point. Let me know what you think.

Thanks!
~ Claris


and really, that's the short version. I mean, I didn't even get into how many different places the key for the ignition could be placed. Half the time I was a valet, I had the mumbled mantra, "Porsche is on the left..." Saab is in the middle, and Land Rover is like the ADD kid whose parents have taken them off the Ridilin because they want to be holistic -- sometimes it's left, sometimes it's the right side, sometimes it's in the center...

and don't get me started on Lamborghini's need to hide the damn outside door latch. Ten o'clock at night. Curb with no streetlights. Black car. 'nuff said.

the really funny part, that I didn't know when I made the ad in the first place...one of the PMs told me they did a survey a while back & our readers really don't tend to buy high end luxury cars anyway - we have a lot of NextDoor Neighbor Millionaires, and um, they buy Fords.

It's not that I'm mean....it's just that I like to win.

and really, is that so wrong?

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