DETROIT -- One of every five dollars Dodge spends to launch the Caliber will be Internet-related. The brand is pursuing twentysomething single guys who are captivated by the Web and video gaming.
The young men Dodge seeks are an elusive target, said Mark Spencer, senior manager of Dodge communications, at a press briefing. And because Dodge has not fielded a new entry in the small-car segment in 14 years, the brand needs to work to get on shopping lists, he said.
Dodge will market the Caliber on Web sites related to comedy, music, animation and sports. For example, Caliber content and games will appear on the sites of The Onion, Daily Candy, The Knot and Office Pirates. Dodge also will use social sites such as MySpace.com and Friendster.com.
Dodge's total spending to launch the Caliber, including the Internet element, will reach an estimated $50 million, according to Advertising Age.
Dodge is making its advertising push for the Caliber in the next three months. The tag line for the national ad campaign is "It's Anything but Cute." Dodge says small cars traditionally are seen as cute -- an image Dodge doesn't believe appeals to the Caliber's target buyer.
In keeping with Dodge's edgy marketing approach, the brand will have a TV commercial called "Moon Dog." In the spot, a dog traveling in a Caliber "moons" dogs in other vehicles.
The Caliber's African-American campaign will carry the tag line: "Respect the Unexpected." The Hispanic campaign uses the theme "Lightweight, a lot of character."
Commercials began March 26 on network and cable TV stations. The launch includes a partnership with the Comedy Central cable network. Comedian Greg Giraldo will host man-on-the-street routines in a Caliber. Commercials will appear on Comedy Central's "The Daily Show."
Magazine ads will appear in Maxim, Stuff, Spin, Rolling Stone, Mad, ESPN the Magazine, Sports Illustrated and Entertainment Weekly.
Dodge describes the Caliber's target buyer as a college-educated, single, 25- to 35-year-old man or woman. But the marketing intentionally skews male, Spencer says. "It is a masculine-looking vehicle," he says, but women will respond to it.
Dodge says dealers have 23,000 orders for the Caliber. It has a base price of $13,985, including shipping.
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