Mitsubishi and Clemenger steer away from classic car ads, focus on feelings (and fertility) over features

Mitsubishi has released a new commercial via Clemenger BBDO for its Outlander SUV and, rather than focusing on the car’s features as is customary, it’s focusing on the feelings of those who drive them. And while it’s a laudable goal to try something new, we must admit to being slightly confused about this one.

A Clemenger BBDO release says the decision to take a different approach was because the Outlander name has been around for nearly ten years, and that’s plenty of time for people to become accustomed to its features and versatility.

“As a practical family vehicle, it’s a big tick. To go beyond the traditional realms of SUV advertising, Clemenger BBDO drew on a new insight.”

The 60-second spot begins with a family scene featuring a rather well-to-do family where a mum and dad are getting ready to leave the kids for an evening out. After navigating lego in shoes, stolen high heels and a pink scooter on the drive, they approach their Outlander and upon arriving at their destination hand the valet their kids’ play money. The two sit down to dine and the husband hands his wife a picture of them in their younger days, then she slides a positive pregnancy test across the table in return before the tagline appears: “You and new Outlander. You’ve never looked so good.”

After an office straw poll, no-one really knew what this was trying to tell us. Does the Outlander increase fertility? Does the Outlander make you look younger? Was the child conceived in an Outlander? The release offers some clarity, but we’re a bit unsure how the layman viewer will digest the clip without all the background information. 

The release says: “Directed by Chris Dudman of Robber’s Dog, the new commercial tells a stylish and cinematic story of a young couple escaping the clamour of family life for a romantic night on the town. No kids, no kayaks, just a couple recapturing a moment of simpler times, looking and feeling as good as they did on their first date.”

“SUVs are great for the Saturday sports run, but the people who drive them want to be seen as more than mothers,” said Clemenger BBDO account director Emma Foot. “They’re smart professional and sophisticated, and they want their vehicle to reflect that. The new model Outlander has undergone a thorough and rather handsome redesign, so the stage was set for a story about how it makes you feel, rather than how many kids it’ll carry.”

Mitsubishi and Clemenger BBDO have had a fairly good run on the advertising front, with the retro campaign for the Mirage and the humorous take on hybrid technology to launch the MPEH Outlander standing out. It also released an ad promoting the just released Triton ute that talks up its reliability with the tagline ‘You can bet on it’.​ 

And that’s helping sales, with Mitsubishi saying it was New Zealand’s fastest-growing mainstream car and light commercial vehicle brand in 2014.

“In every year since 2009 more owners have chosen a Mitsubishi than in the previous year,” said head of sales and marketing strategy Daniel Cook earlier in a release. “We see it as a gradual migration towards style, innovation, quality and reliability. It also reflects our customer support, especially Diamond Advantage, the best new-vehicle warranty around.”

He said Mitsubishi attracted new buyers from across the board last year, with twice as many buyers in the private ‘small sedan’ buyers group choosing Lancer than its nearest competitor. There was also 80 percent more new buyers in 2014 than in 2013 for the ASX, its ‘small SUV’; and sales of the Pajero were the highest for a decade. 

“Looking back over the year, we’re especially proud we’ve given New Zealanders a look into the future with the debut of an extraordinary Outlander, the technology-leading plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV). So quickly was this vehicle adopted by eco-focused individuals and businesses it singlehandedly elevated New Zealand to the status of the world’s fastest-growing PHEV nation. Company Vehicle magazine voted the vehicle NZ’s ‘best medium SUV’, bar none, while National Business Review named it ‘Green Car of the Year’.” 

About Author

Comments are closed.