American Isuzu will launch its 2002 Axiom sport-utility on April 1 with its biggest cross promotion ever, linking up with McDonald's hamburger chain and Miramax Films' upcoming Spy Kids movie.
Gary Tucker, vice president of sport-utility marketing and product planning for American Isuzu, said a high-tech version of the Axiom will appear in the movie, which debuts nationwide March 30. The movie placement will be the centerpiece of a $1 million-plus promotional campaign that includes sweepstakes, licensing and events.
In March, McDonald's restaurants will offer a miniature version of the Spy Kids Axiom in Happy Meal packages. Tucker said Isuzu will give away a real Axiom in an accompanying sweepstakes. Each Happy Meal bag will have a code number. Customers will go to the McDonald's Web site and enter their code number to see if they've won. In addition, the Spy Kids Axiom will be featured in McDonalds restaurants' tray mats and in-store displays
Radio Shack retail stores will offer a radio-controlled 'Spy Mobile' Axiom model. The toy car will be sold and distributed by Radio Shack. Tucker said Isuzu will receive licensing fees, although he declined to estimate how much.
Web-based initiatives for Axiom include a separate Web site, www.isuzuaxiom.com, where consumers can interact through live events with Axiom's developers and designers. Hand-raisers will receive e-mail messages including video clips and information about the Axiom, as well as 'e-commercials' that can be passed on to others.
Isuzu will place Axiom models in family entertainment venues, such as theme parks and shopping centers. A separate display program, called the 'Guerilla Street Campaign' began in Isuzu's top 10 sales volume cities in February. The sport-utility will be displayed in younger demographic venues such as clubs, sporting events and concerts.
American Isuzu, which plans to increase its 2001 advertising budget as much as 50 percent over 2000 spending, is shifting is media strategy with the launch. Tucker said 80 percent of the Axiom's undisclosed advertising budget will be dedicated to cable and spot TV, while 20 percent will be dedicated to print and outdoor. Last year, Isuzu put two thirds of its ad dollars into print, with the balance into local TV. Isuzu's agency is Goodby, Silverstein & Partners in San Francisco.
'The Axiom gives us an opportunity to relaunch and gain some awareness for the brand,' Tucker said.
Competitive Media Reporting said American Isuzu spent $79.3 million in measured media in 1999.
Since last year, Isuzu's media buying agency SFM, New York has been working with GM Mediaworks to leverage print buys. Tucker said the GM Mediaworks association will help Isuzu buy media more efficiently.
'Our relationship with GM is that we can leverage common disciplines where- ever possible. Media is one,' Tucker said.
'But as far as marketing the vehicle, we market the vehicle totally on our own,' he said. 'We are a stand-alone distributor.'