No more trying to reach the marketplace through college kids for the U.S. marketing arm of Daewoo. Like nearly all automakers doing business here, Daewoo Motor America is turning to traditional dealers and traditional advertising.
'Our next huge expenditure has to be in marketing and advertising,' says Bill Tucker, vice president of marketing and customer relations at the Compton, Calif., company.
When Daewoo entered the U.S. market in 1998, it tried to sell cars through company-owned stores and grassroots marketing with students. The plan failed, and Daewoo has done a turnabout.
The company recently launched its first national TV campaign on CNN, ESPN and TBS, has outdoor boards in about 100 markets, and is running national print ads in USA Today and American Airways magazine.
Beginning March 1, Daewoo began a co-op plan with dealers in which the company will split advertising costs with the retailers up to $200 per car. With 48 company-owned stores and 276 franchises in 45 states, the co-op deal could cost Daewoo $20 million if it reaches its goal of selling 100,000 cars in the United States this year. That's much more than Daewoo has ever shelled out in this market.
'We always wanted to do national ads,' Tucker says. 'It was just a matter of priorities.'
Daewoo still does not have an ad agency of record. It uses Kenneth C. Smith in San Diego and URI in Santa Monica, Calif., on a project basis.
Through February, the company sold 10,268 cars here, much better than the 1,840 it sold during the same period in 1999 and nearly a third of the 30,787 cars its dealers sold during all of last year.
But Tucker is still worried.
'Being at Daewoo is an adventure,' he says. 'We're still crawling.'