DETROIT -- Once upon a time, minivan commercials showed moms hauling kids to and fro. But the latest Dodge Grand Caravan spots throw those cliches overboard in favor of claustrophobic spoofs of spy movies.
The edgy new commercials are part of Dodge's campaign to reposition itself as a youthful, sporty brand following Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne's decision to separate the brand from the Ram truck brand.
The TV spots were created by Dodge's new agency, Wieden+ Kennedy, the Portland, Ore., agency best known for Nike commercials. View the Grand Caravan commercials at autonews.com/caravanads.
The spots, which have a spy-movie ambience, show Grand Caravans filled with anxious grown-ups carrying out unspecified but risky activities to suspenseful music. The missions require the characters to watch Sirius Backseat TV and use their laptops, connected to the Internet via the Grand Caravan's mobile hot spot.
In one commercial, called "Kittens," the minivan pulls into an alley. As the Grand Caravan comes to a stop, the female driver commands her male passengers: "All right, kittens, suit up." They don cat masks, climb out and purposefully stride off clutching briefcases. The voice of TV actor Michael C. Hall intones: "It has everything, so you can do anything."