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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.

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