Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Chevy gets it right

I like the campaign Chevy is running to promote its line of eco-friendly vehicles.

Chevy is smart to bundle its full range of initiatives under one umbrella effort in order to create a stronger message. Many companies are placing their bet on a single technology (e.g., Toyota, a former client of mine, emphasizes the Hybrid technology found on its very popular Prius). Chevy is betting that no one technology will win but, like in many categories, consumers will want to choose what makes most sense for them - e.g., hybrid, electric, E85, etc.

I particularly like the branding. "Gas friendly to gas free" is a simple and clear selling proposition. The iconography is clever as well.

While Chevy has rounded up the usual marketing props -- engaging TV spots, informative website -- they surprised me by running a series of ads on the NY Times Op-Ed page in which a GM exec answers questions posed by customers on a website. (Note to Chevy: you're doing a poor job populating the microsite. Don't squander a good idea.) I applaud Chevy's candor in a recent Op-Ed ad in addressing this question posed by a reader: "Aren't you the guys who killed the electric car?" (The questioner's last name was not Gore.)

Bold strategy. Engaging and integrated campaign. Even a bit of wikibranding to foster dialog and community.

What's not to like? Well, if this turns out to be green-washing there will be a lot to dislike about this campaign. But for now I'll give Chevy credit for attempting to create more demand for fuel efficient cars in America (and, yes, enable Chevy to also sell very thirsty Silverado pick-ups).

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