Ram's Diaz: 'Butts in the seats' will sell pickups
Test tracks, TV spots will push new light-duty truck
DETROIT -- Marketers at the Ram brand will set up test tracks at auto shows, state fairs and regional events to give shoppers a firsthand taste of the re-engineered 2013 Ram 1500 pickup.
One-on-one efforts are needed to lure loyal owners out of rivals' pickups, said Fred Diaz, head of the Ram brand.
"We know that if we can get the butts in the seats, if we can get them into our trucks, we can get them sold," Diaz said two weeks ago at a media event here to reveal Ram's "Moving Heaven and Earth" advertising campaign.
Bob Hegbloom, head of Ram marketing, is planning more training for dealership sales reps to help them explain the light-duty pickup's new features. Dealership sales reps will work the test-track events.
The re-engineered Ram 1500 pickup is arriving in dealerships this month.
Meanwhile, TV spots for the pickup began two weeks ago. The spots highlight the pickup's 25-mpg highway rating and its air suspension system, which provides extra clearance for off-road use and easier vehicle entry and loading.
The TV commercials feature actor Sam Elliott, whose gravelly baritone has made "Guts, Glory, Ram" well-known in American living rooms, and Latin musician Juanes.
Production of the re-engineered pickup began last month. It features an optional Pentastar 3.6-liter V-6 engine paired with a new eight-speed automatic transmission and several aerodynamic improvements to boast the segment-best fuel economy rating.
Diaz: One-on-one efforts
The commercials show nature adapt as the pickup approaches, with stars realigning, mountains crumbling and vast areas of land falling away.
Ram's marketing campaign was created by the Richards Group of Dallas and includes print, radio and digital advertising.
In one spot brand spokesman Elliott's makes his first on-camera appearance on behalf of Ram, saying to the camera: "The road doesn't end here. This is only the beginning."
Diaz said the automaker aims to attract more Hispanic consumers to the pickup line, using 17-time Latin Grammy winner Juanes to deliver the brand's message to Spanish-speaking consumers.
Diaz said that so far this year, 17 percent of Ram's sales were to Hispanic consumers, up 1.3 percentage points from the year before. He said it is important for Ram to use a familiar face to carry its language to Spanish-speaking consumers, instead of just voicing over English-language commercials.
Diaz said: "If you do it wrong, the Hispanic culture will see right through it."
You can reach Larry P. Vellequette at email@example.com.