American Isuzu Motors Inc. is launching its retail advertising strategy with the Ascender, the Trooper replacement.
The company will spend up to $30 million on media this year, down slightly from 2002, said Isuzu Motors America President Terry Maloney. It's a far cry from the $137 million Isuzu spent in 1998, according to Competitive Media Reporting in New York.
Isuzu's new ad agency, Malone Advertising in Akron, Ohio, created the campaign for the SUV lineup. Ads ask, "Why did I buy an Isuzu?" and give various value-related answers. For example, an actor in an Ascender commercial answers, "When it comes to power, space and value, three out of three's not bad."
Said Fred Bidwell, Malone's president: "We wanted to appeal to people already on the purchase track looking for a vehicle. We recognize there are other, bigger brands in mind, so we wanted to raise that question in their minds first of all and talk in a very common-sense, rational kind of way."
In a desperate attempt to spark sales, Isuzu in November changed its advertising strategy and agency. No longer will the automaker promote a brand image. Instead, all advertising will have a hard-sell retail message. Isuzu dumped Goodby, Silverstein & Partners in San Francisco, the ad agency it had used since 1991.