Mitsubishi Motors North America took its first step toward changing its image as the "deal of the week" car company by jumping into the Super Bowl with a 30-second commercial at the last minute.
The spot shows the Galant GTS V-6 going head-to-head with the Toyota Camry XLE V-6 in an accident avoidance test. The commercial shows people throwing debris on the road, and the Galant steers clear of the stuff quicker than the Camry.
The company showed the spot to its dealers yesterday shortly before the Super Bowl kickoff. The commercial ran during the second quarter of the game.
"I love it," said Chuck Barber, chairman of the Mitsubishi Dealer Council and owner of Barber Bros. Mitsubishi in Orem, Utah. "I believe we can hit our sales goals if we pay more attention to our products in advertising and compare them to other products."
Mitsubishi CEO Finbarr O'Neill said the Super Bowl spot indicates the direction the company wants to go with its message. Before, Mitsubishi highlighted price and incentives. O'Neill said in 2004 there will be more focus on the strengths of the products.
"This is about a change in direction," O'Neill said. "We are going to show the features and benefits of our products."
Ian Beavis, vice president of marketing for Mitsubishi, said an advertiser dropped out of the Super Bowl last week, and Mitsubishi took up the offer to get into the big game. He said the company got a "bargain price" - more than $1 million but less than $2 million. The average 30-second Super Bowl spot was more than $2 million this year.
"We didn't get the spot in until 10:30 Friday night," Beavis said. "But this is very exciting for us."
Jim Lemay, owner of Performance Mitsubishi in Cincinnati, says dealers are pumped. "Mitsubishi has never done anything like this," he said. "This is good because our customers have to have justification to buy the product."
The 30-second commercial can be viewed at www.seewhathappens.com.