DeLoreanIn the past few weeks/days, I read an article in Ad Age titled, What to Expect From Chrysler’s Marketing Chief: Provocative Ads. And, an article in Automotive News titled, Chevy review is latest sign GM wants ads that provoke.

Provocative ads aren’t going to make Americans part with tens of thousands of dollars for a new car, but I’m sure provocative cars and trucks would – I’d bet $25,000+ – what a concept!

Speaking about concepts.  Every new car show I’ve attended – and I’ve attended many over the years all over the country – people are always amazed and excited about concept cars, but you never see them on the road! What’s with that?

What a shame and what a waste of our taxpayers dollars.

I was compelled to read both articles because of my early career in Automotive marketing and the concern I have for the industry and how it impacts our economy. We should all be rooting for Detroit to succeed  because when they do – we all do.

Research says that less than 20% of people who walk into a dealership buy a new car and drive away with it. These stats lead me to believe that Detroit lacks provocative “WOW” brands! I’d love to see the statistic about how long an average visit is!

Here are just a few more points I’d advise Detroit to mull over:

  1. Next to getting married, buying a new car is one of the most involved decisions one can make and auto manufacturers these days have to give real, tangible reasons to buy their products not just fancy ads
  2. Word of mouth (peer reviews, personal experiences, testimonials etc.,) is the most influential form of communication in a car purchase vs. ad campaigns and provocative new models would drive WOM
  3. Performance, design, efficiency, value etc., contribute more to WOM than Ads
  4. Mass media has lost a ton of influence, so big budgets and splashy ad campaigns are no longer necessary when the majority of people search online first – and search a lot online – when in the market for a new car. Brands could reduce their marketing ad spend and either reapply the savings to reduce the price of cars, put it back in design or more added value features
  5. It’s all about the cars – car marketing chiefs and their minions need to get more involved in the design/production effort by representing the customer and being their voice in the board room

Come on Detroit, you can do better!

P.S.: Is there another John DeLorean out there – maybe a slightly more disciplined and better funded one?