Jeep creative says Mitsubishi’s new ‘It’s a Mitsi’ campaign is ‘a little desperate’

Jim Ingram and Chris Jeffares presenting onstage at Mumbrella360

Jim Ingram and Chris Jeffares presenting onstage at Mumbrella360

One of the creatives behind the successful ‘I Bought a Jeep’ campaign has described the new Mitsubishi ‘It’s a Mitsi’ campaign as desperate and said it could be damaging to the brand.

Cummins & Partners co-executive creative director Jim Ingram, speaking at today’s Mumbrella360 conference on the Jeep campaign which he claimed had generated $2.5bn in incremental sales over four years,  described the Mitsubishi campaign as “flattering” but said it will not “resonate in the same way”.

“In fact I think it might do some damage because it somewhat cheapens what I think is a very strong brand, it feels a little desperate. It feels they’re chasing a certain market,” he said in response to a question from the audience.

“One of our brand values is trying to create jealousy for our clients in their world. If you work in Fiat Chrysler marketing right now you’re top of the stack when it comes to their industry, there’s a lot of brands looking at what they’re doing and wishing they had something similar.”

Jamshop is Mitsubishi’s creative agency of record.

When quizzed on comments made my former Jeep marketer Mark Mcraith around social media not demonstrating an ability to drive a lead and sell a car from social activity, Cummins & Partners CEO Chris Jeffares said the power of social media lies in the conversations being had beyond official brand groups or handles.

“People completely misunderstand what social media is, they talk about it like it’s your own Facebook group or your own Twitter handle. That’s not where the excitement is, or the power of this is,” he said.

“The power of this is all those conversations that are going on that are miles away from your Facebook groups or your Twitter handles.

“I used to work in a business where they banned the phrase social media and said we’d prefer you to talk about social networking because that’s what it really is, it’s the conversations that go. It’s been very powerful in that regard at a brand level”

Ingram said social “gives you an excuse to associate with a brand”.

“You might not make a direct purchase through a social engagement but they’re all compounding factors that help you make that decision when you finally walk into a dealership or a shop or put a hand on a product on a shelf.

“That’s where social engagement can be a powerful tool, as soon as you’re connecting with a brand on any level you’re on step closer to partnering with them.”

During the 45-minute presentation Jeffares and Ingram outlined Jeep’s transition from an American car company struggling to be relevant to an Australian audience to a brand thats tagline ‘I bought a Jeep’ has become one of the most-well known, and parodied, lines in recent years.

“Jeep was our first client in our very first week. A lot of what we were talking about is what is their problem? We clearly thought there was no brand relevance in the Australian marketplace. People don’t necessarily like to buy American cars either,” said Jeffares.

“The advertising of the time actually compounded that as an issue for the brand.”

“The very first thing we did with Jeep was embrace the spirt of adventure,” Jeffares said.

Embracing the “spirit of adventure” led to Cummins & Partners developing the ‘Don’t Hold Back’ platform for the brand.

Ingram added: “What that actually did to tap into the Australian psyche, most people who buy a 4WD they don’t take it off road but they like the idea that they just might one day and that was the principle that launched the Don’t Hold Back platform and why it was so right for Jeep at the time to give it relevancy in the Australian market.”

Cummins & Partners continued to push the ‘Don’t Hold Back’ idea before introducing the retail positioning of ‘I bought a Jeep’ to complement it in September 2011.

“We developed I bought a Jeep, it was actually one of the bravest things I’ve been involved with from a marketing point of view for a number of reasons,” said Jeffares.

“What they did in the very first piece of communications is they ran advertising that showed the purchase of a Jeep was a totally surprising purchase, almost to the point of idiotic, and then through the same communications it showed a level of acceptance for that and then the idea of ‘you know what that’s a pretty good decision’.”

The challenge more recently was to tie the retail idea of ‘I bought a Jeep’ with the ‘Don’t Hold Back’ embracing adventure brand platform, Jeffares and Ingram explained.

It saw the ‘I bought a Jeep’ idea applied to demonstrate people who buy a jeep are able to escape from every day life and have adventures.

“Our next challenge was to take I bought a Jeep and actually allow us to extend our brand platform of ‘Don’t Hold Back’ so the next iteration of I bought a Jeep campaign started to represent what buying a Jeep meant to people,” said Ingram.

Miranda Ward


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