LAS VEGAS - Mitsubishi Motor Sales of America Inc. hopes plain talk will help sell vehicles, especially the 2000 Montero
Sport and Eclipse.
The redesigned compact sport-utility and sporty coupe compete in image-conscious segments, where looking good can matter as much as the vehicle's performance.
So Mitsubishi, through its ad agency Deutsch Inc., has decided to call a spade a spade.
The Eclipse ads, unveiled at Mitsubishi's national dealer meeting here last month, point out that most sporty car buyers buy the vehicles less for their horsepower than for how the driver looks in it.
One Eclipse ad says love at first sight is strictly that, about what you see and nothing else. After all, a woman doesn't gawk at a man for the first time and tell her friends how much she admires his moral fiber. The second commercial notes that there is really no difference between a squirrel and a rat, except for the bushy tail.
'We wanted to expose the ugly truth that people buy sports cars because of how they look in them. The supposed motivations of horsepower and handling are really rationalizations of vanity,' said Eric Hirshberg, Deutsch executive creative director.
In the same vein, the 2000 Montero Sport ad campaign discusses how the vehicle makes the driver feel rugged, even if the vehicle is never taken off-road. Though sport-utilities do sell because of their ground clearance and four-wheel-drive gear ratios, Mitsubishi wanted to talk about desire, Hirshberg said.
So the ad points out that the lunch boxes of potential buyers, when they were kids, did not have pictures of Isaac Newton or Abraham Lincoln on them. They had pictures of the A-Team.
'Of course, the performance has to be there, because you can't win on looks alone. But you're kidding yourself if you think looks don't matter,' Hirshberg said.
Another Deutsch strategy is shooting passenger cars in areas where people normally drive, instead of deserts or mountain roads.
'We put cars where people drive them, in neighborhoods, streets, on their way to work,' Hirshberg said. 'People want to imagine themselves in your car, and doing it in ordinary places helps complete that little fantasy.
'Plus,' Hirshberg said, 'we save a lot of money doing it that way.'