Fiat Chrysler: a shift from retail to brand advertising has helped lift sales this year

Jeep’s ‘Don’t hold back’ campaign

Fiat Chrysler has said that a shift from retail to brand advertising has helped drive sales growth this year.

Year-to-date sales are up 62.9%, with 21,464 cars sold this year compared to 13,180 in 2011, the company announced today.

Fiat Chrysler’s head of corporate affairs Lenore Fletcher told Mumbrella that while other factors were obviously at play, a switch from retail-led to brand advertising – with a focus on the emotion and heritage behind the brand – had helped shift units.

Advertising for the group’s brands, by CumminsRoss, which was hired in February last year, has often barely featured a vehicle at all, focusing on the brand’s ‘spirit’ instead. The company acknowledges this was a risk – particularly for car dealers, who are said to like to see the product featured prominently.

“A few eyebrows were raised initially. But it became clear very quickly that the strategy was working,” said Fletcher.

She singled out Jeep’s ‘Don’t hold back’ campaign as the company’s most effective in recent years. Don’t hold back kicked off last year. One of the first ads featured surfer Ben Wilson – and didn’t feature a Jeep at all, only the logo.

Another featured 79 year-old footy legend Tommy Hafey.

“I’ve been in this business for over 20 years. I’ve worked at five different car companies, and I’ve never seen support for marketing in this format before. Marketing does not always get approval from dealers. But almost all of them are behind the programs we’ve been running,” she said.


  1. Gordon
    6 Dec 12
    9:15 pm

  2. great job for what (was) a tired brand. fantastic creative – the dont hold back slogan has really worked for thsi brand. and lots of media visibility too – good job for whoever did the buying.

    the car category is very crowded so to achieve a 63% increase is amazing.

  3. Luke
    7 Dec 12
    9:39 am

  4. Don’t underestimate the power of pricing in this equation – Jeep delivers a lot of car for the coin and aggressively pushed it’s $25k – $30k driveaway deals for most of the year. Anyone in the market for an SUV would quickly discover Jeeps have a significant price advantage over competitors.

  5. Ben S
    7 Dec 12
    9:55 am

  6. No question here that some great work and new thinking from the marketing team and their core partners (CumminsRoss, Maxus) has paid off. Well deserved result.

  7. Car Guy
    7 Dec 12
    9:58 am

  8. Luke,

    Pricing comes into play only when the consumer puts the brand on the shopping list.
    Otherwise we would all be driving Ladas.
    They wont “quickly discover” prices until they first consider brand.
    Having said that, Jeeps are great value are much improved product and now a relevant brand to more Australians than ever before. It’s the 3 P’s in perfect harmony.

  9. Jimi Bostock
    7 Dec 12
    11:03 am

  10. Great strategy, excellent execution. It’s no surprise that it’s lifted sales. A lot of brands would do well to take heed.

  11. AdGrunt
    7 Dec 12
    11:24 am

  12. Well done indeed.

    Automotive stakeholders are, as the article notes, very hard to move from the Stealomatic-with-features-and-price-point approach.