Crain News Service
American Isuzu Motors is going to buck an industry trend, deciding to allow regional dealer associations to pick their own ad agencies and develop ad content without restrictions.
Automakers' national ad agencies usually handle regional dealer ads.
Isuzu will spend $25 million regionally, and the marketer is encouraging dealers in key markets to form regional groups. It will double the co-op funds it gives to the groups, which are expected to jump to 24, from the current 11.
In December, Zimmerman & Partners of Fort Lauderdale, Fla., won the Philadelphia-area group's business and is pitching several others.
Isuzu dealer groups spent $13 million in measured media in the first nine months of 1998, according to Competitive Media Reporting.
Isuzu dealers like the move.
'The big difference is we control the (ad) content,' said John Galeani, a Jacksonville, Fla., dealer and former dealer council chairman. 'I feel I know the northern Florida market better than the national people do.'
Dealers in his area are forming a regional group; groups also are being formed in New York, Los Angeles and San Francisco.
Tom Cavanagh, executive manager of advertising communications, said the brand also will put more money into spot TV in such key markets as Southern California.
The 1999-model national ad budget will be slightly lower than last year's budget, Cavanagh said. Isuzu spent $116 million on measured media in the first nine months of 1998, according to Competitive Media Reporting.
Cavanagh said this year's regional ads differ from 1998 because they are tied to the national campaign that touts Isuzu's truck-only lineup. Last year's regional spots showed road footage only and promoted a lease deal, he said.
The regional spot for the Rodeo shows how much gear can be put into the sport-utility. Two spots for the Trooper sport-utility state that 'life is too big for cars.'
Isuzu had dealer ad groups until early 1991, when it disbanded them and took over regional advertising.