Marketing Campaign Case Studies

Tuesday, June 24, 2008


Davidson Development Inc. was the primary engine behind the project that came to be known as World Golf Village, an upscale development located between Jacksonville and Saint Augustine, Florida, combining residential, commercial, and recreational zones. The Village’s centerpieces were the World Golf Hall of Fame and a course designed by legendary PGA (Professional Golfers’ Association) champions Arnold Palmer and Jack Nicklaus, called King & Bear in honor of the two players’ respective nicknames. Initial attempts at marketing the area to home buyers took golf purists as their target market, but after several years of lackluster sales in its Estates of World Golf Village subdivision, Davidson turned to Atlanta–based agency Cole Henderson Drake (CHD) for a marketing campaign that would remake the development’s image.
The Estates of World Golf Village ‘‘Repositioning Campaign’’ made use of a $700,000 annual budget during its 2003–04 run. CHD sought to change consumer perception of World Golf Village by drawing attention to the opportunities for gracious living present in the development rather than focusing solely on the golfing amenities, and it calibrated its message not for male golfers but for baby-boomer women, who were believed to play a larger role than their husbands in making home-buying decisions. The campaign primarily consisted of a series of two-page print spreads, with black-and-white photos and copy emphasizing the elegance and inspirational nature of the Estates lifestyle.
The campaign coincided with a 170 percent sales growth of Estates properties, and Davidson’s revenues far outpaced precampaign goals. A tracking study indicated, furthermore, that CHD had successfully recast World Golf Village’s image. In 2005 the ‘‘Repositioning Campaign’’ won a Silver EFFIE Award in the Real Estate category.

The PGA Tour’s World Golf Hall of Fame in Pinehurst, North Carolina, was opened in 1974, but in the 1980s the PGA began searching for a site on which to build a similar facility that would honor golfers not eligible for the World Golf Hall of Fame. In the early 1990s a location between Jacksonville and Saint Augustine, Florida, was donated to the cause, and a number of worldwide golf clubs and associations pledged their support. The PGA eventually decided to close its Pinehurst facility and combine operations with the Florida facility under the name World Golf Hall of Fame. Construction began in 1996, and the Hall opened in 1998, boasting the support of 26 golf organizations from around the world.
World Golf Village was the name given to the multifaceted development surrounding the Hall of Fame. Conceived as a golfers’ resort destination as well as an upscale residential area, the development featured two golf courses, the more notable of which was called King & Bear, named after its designers, the golf greats Arnold Palmer and Jack Nicklaus. The development mixed retail, commercial, residential, and resort amenities, but for a variety of reasons initial sales of the mostly high-end real estate did not meet expectations. The location itself (in a previously little-developed area) was faulted by some in the local real-estate industry, and a related lack of vehicle traffic made it difficult to create buzz in the community. Prospective buyers and members of adjacent communities did not have a clear understanding of the development’s aims outside of serving as a site for the World Golf Hall of Fame, and the lack of inhabitants made potential homeowners question the vibrancy of the community into which they were being asked to buy. In many cases these criticisms were shared or propagated by important local opinion makers, including real-estate agents and the press. The lack of enthusiasm surrounding the project led to stalled plans for further development of the site as well as reductions in investment on behalf of the project’s backers. If the development was to satisfy investors’ initially grand visions, it needed an image makeover.
Previous marketing on behalf of World Golf Village had focused on the Hall of Fame and the golf courses in an attempt to appeal to a logical target market—golf-obsessed men—but this strategy had not so far resulted in a sufficiently attractive image to drive developers’ and investors’ sales goals. Davidson thus enlisted Atlanta agency Cole Henderson Drake (CHD) to create a print campaign for the Estates of World Golf Village, a community within the larger development featuring homes priced at $500,000 and higher. The agency needed to respond to the perceived shortcomings of the World Golf Village image while offering fresh strategic insights.

CHD took the lackluster sales results so far posted by the Estates subdivision as evidence that previous advertising efforts had been wrongly conceived. Though the exclusive targeting of male golf enthusiasts was clearly a commonsense approach to the image-building project of a development featuring world-class golf courses and a shrine to the sport’s greatest players, CHD observed that women tended to have the most influence in selecting a community and home. CHD particularly focused on women of the baby-boom generation with upscale habits and tastes—many of whom still had kids at home—rather than the retirees or empty-nesters who might also have been likely to have the financial resources to buy into the Estates neighborhood. These women, CHD believed, valued the emotional attributes of a potential home. The apparent lack of vibrancy in the World Golf Village community was thus a formidable barrier to these key home buyers, as was the idea that the development was strictly for golfers. Though the target group of women appreciated the amenities typically found in upscale golf communities, the golf attractions themselves were only tangential factors in their decision making. They primarily wanted assurance that the community they were choosing was healthy, balanced, and had a promising future.
CHD further decided to market the Estates beyond the local area, targeting affluent residents of the northeastern United States in addition to regional and local women. Prospects from outside the immediate area would not be affected by local perceptions and would be more accustomed to the premium prices of the homes in the Estates neighborhood. The Estates’ affiliation with an entity as prestigious as the World Golf Hall of Fame, as well as the fact that home sites were adjacent to a world-class golf course, made this a reasonable if ambitious expansion of the target.

The years 2000–05, though they were marked by a struggling American economy in general, saw one of the country’s most substantial real-estate booms in history. Real-estate companies of various sorts, flush with profits thanks to the boom, turned increasingly to the imagebuilding power of advertising, which generally represented an attempt not just to spur sales but also to hedge against the ever-present threat of a market downturn. Among real-estate agencies, several nationwide firms were actively engaged in brand-building efforts. Re/Max was the U.S. market leader, and it increased ad spending by 10 percent in 2002 before turning to Los Angeles agency davidandgoliath for a $30 million national campaign, which was released in 2004. Century 21 boosted ad spending by more than 60 percent in 2002, up to an annual ad budget of roughly $25 million. It ran a 2003 campaign tagged ‘‘Real estate for your world.’’ Meanwhile, Coldwell Banker in 2003 launched a $14 million national campaign touting the realtor’s ‘‘Concierge’’ program, which provided logistical aid to new home owners. Some notable innovations in advertising were made by new-home developers during this time as well. Ryland Homes, a home builder with offices across the nation, worked with the media-sales firm WorldLink and a TV distributor to create an original syndicated TV program called America’s Moving To . . . The show, which named Ryland as a sponsor and featured content specially designed to resonate with the company’s target consumers, ran in local markets with a Ryland presence and highlighted housing choices in cities around the country. A group of developers of new-home subdivisions in the San Francisco Bay area turned to a similar concept in 2003, banding together to underwrite the show Bay Area New Home Living Featuring Sunset Magazine. The halfhour show featured two- to three-minute segments sponsored by and showcasing the developments of individual home builders. These segments were interspersed with decorating, architectural, and lifestyle content sponsored by Sunset Magazine.

The ‘‘Repositioning Campaign’’ ran during 2003 and 2004. It focused on print executions but also included outdoor ads, direct mail, public relations, and promotional tie-ins. Its yearly budget was a relatively minimal $700,000, and hence a premium was placed on effective selection of magazines rather than on blanket coverage. The ads were placed primarily in lifestyle magazines with editorial content that included travel, finance, and style. This was a departure from previous World Golf Village advertising, which had run mostly in local and regional newspapers. Not only did lifestyle magazines allow Davidson and the Estates to appeal to upscale consumers outside the region, but they also served as a more appropriate context for the new ads’ elegantly understated visuals and two-page-spread formatting. The core message that CHD sought to communicate with the series of print ads was that the people who lived at World Golf Village were as special as the golf opportunities that were available. In keeping with the targetmarket shift, the agency wanted to alter the image of World Golf Village from that of a golf purists’ community to that of a fashionable, inspiring, exclusive, and yet approachable place to live. CHD took it for granted that consumers would understand the golf-centric elements of the development, and many ads used little golf imagery, focusing instead on the elegant lifestyle and prestige of the Estates in fashionable black-and-white photographs. Frequently these photographs were supported by nods to the prestige of the World Golf Hall of Fame and the King & Bear golf course, with logos appearing along with copy that detailed important information about the development. When an ad did focus explicitly on golf, that focus underscored the lifestyle pitch. For instance, one ad showed a man from behind, surveying a dramatic golf-course backdrop, and the accompanying copy stated, ‘‘Some refer to it as one of the top courses in the world. A lucky few refer to it as their backyard.’’ Overall, the campaign was meant to create a much-needed persona for the development rather than emphasize the quality of the homes and golf amenities.
Along with the series of print ads, CHD used eventfocused marketing of the Estates. Regular open houses spearheaded by the agency allowed local prospects to see the world-class development in their midst and resulted in a much-needed increase in traffic to the site. Out-of-town vacation packages, offered through direct mail, were also paired with tours of properties. Materials given to prospects after such tours and used by realtors carried messaging and images consistent with the print ads’ theme. The World Golf Village was also the exclusive real-estate sponsor of the Bloomberg financial service’s website.

During the two years of the campaign’s run, the Estates of World Golf Village saw its sales grow 170 percent, with sales revenues far outpacing Davidson’s goals. Traffic to the development substantially increased, according to CHD, and the ratio of prospects to sales drastically improved. Before CHD released the ‘‘Repositioning Campaign,’’ the ratio of prospects to purchasers of homes in the Estates neighborhood was greater than 1:100. By 2004 this ratio had narrowed to 1:10, well ahead of industry norms, which were approximately 1:20. CHD also pointed to strong evidence from a tracking study indicating that perceptions of World Golf Village were changing. Davidson vice president of marketing Alayna Kimball said in a press release, ‘‘We are very pleased with the campaign and its consistent message for the Estates. The ads were effective and instrumental in helping us exceed our sales goals.’’ The campaign won a Silver EFFIE Award in the Real Estate category in 2005, a testament to its effectiveness in the marketplace.


Darden Restaurants, the largest casual-dining restaurant group in the world, operated three distinct restaurant concepts: the Olive Garden, Bahama Breeze, and Red Lobster. With about 700 locations, Red Lobster was the nation’s leading full-service seafood restaurant chain, offering fresh seafood at moderate prices. Red Lobster had a disappointing year in 1997, with same-store sales falling 3.9 percent on average unit sales of $2.6 million. Hoping to increase sales and revitalize the Red Lobster brand, Darden Restaurants released its ‘‘Life on Land Is Dry’’ campaign. Created by the ad agency Euro RSCG Tatham, the $80 million radio and television campaign began in October 1997 and portrayed the seafood restaurant as an escape from life’s dry daily routine. To reinforce the slogan, Euro RSCG Tatham created spots that contrasted images of dry, barren landscapes with images of couples and families frolicking at the seashore. The new campaign—which began with television spots during programs like the Major League Baseball playoffs and prime-time programs Friends and 3rd Rock from the Sun—carried the theme ‘‘Life on Land Is Dry.’’ The commercials, together with ancillary marketing changes like new menus and the addition of an elevated bar to some restaurants, were designed to create a more energetic personality for the Red Lobster chain. The campaign ended in mid-2000.
‘‘Life on Land Is Dry’’ marked a strategy shift for Red Lobster. The campaign promoted Red Lobster as a fun-loving restaurant instead of promoting the chain’s prices, selection, or food quality. The strategy proved to be effective. During the campaign’s second year Red Lobster reported double-digit gains in same-store sales for the first time in nearly a decade.

Red Lobster was a pioneer in television advertising among casual-dining chains, putting commercials on the public airwaves long before similar chains such as Chili’s, Bennigan’s, and T.G.I. Friday’s joined the fray. For many years Red Lobster advertisements employed the tagline ‘‘Red Lobster for the Seafood Lover in You,’’ developed by its longtime partner Grey Advertising, one of the world’s largest ad agencies with billings of more than $5 billion. Grey Advertising’s other accounts included Cover Girl makeup, Pantene shampoo, and Kool-Aid fruit drink.
Over time, however, casual-dining competition grew keener, with a host of clever ads vying for the attention of consumers. As Red Lobster’s sales began to decline in the mid-1990s, Grey Advertising tried to come up with a new approach that would differentiate the seafood chain from its rivals. In 1997 the agency created a campaign for Red Lobster that provided more emphasis on fresh seafood. The slogan was ‘‘Prepared so fresh you can taste it.’’ This campaign reflected Red Lobster’s desire to expand its audience not only to those looking for lobster and shrimp but also to people who enjoyed fresh fish. It did not, however, resonate with consumers. ‘‘That wasn’t the personality we were looking for,’’ Red Lobster spokesman Andrew Dun said. ‘‘In today’s restaurant world, having a fresh product isn’t enough to be differentiated.’’ In the first quarter of 1997 Red Lobster sales of $475.3 million were about 1 percent below the same period a year earlier. Same-store sales, a measure that excluded new and closed outlets, were down 3.6 percent. The chain worked feverishly to combat the sales slump by introducing a new menu, lowering prices, and sinking more money into employee training to ensure that servers and managers understood the new menu. None of this seemed to work, however, and in the summer of 1997 Darden Restaurants announced it would review its Red Lobster advertising and consider switching agencies. Prominent ad agencies were asked to submit proposals as part of the review process. Adweek, an industry trade publication, reported that campaigns Darden rejected early on included one by Saatchi & Saatchi that said, ‘‘Life is a beach. And we’ve got the food.’’ The company also passed on a J. Walter Thompson proposal with the theme ‘‘Inside every Red Lobster there is a great little seafood place.’’ After extensive review, incumbent Grey Advertising, New York–based Deutsch, and Euro RSCG Tatham, a Chicago ad agency with a strong consumer-products resume, emerged as finalists for the $90 million account. A test of the three agencies’ ad strategies determined the winner.
In September Darden selected Euro RSCG Tatham to develop the new Red Lobster campaign. At the time Euro RSCG Tatham was the world’s eighth-largest advertising agency, with billings of $7 billion. It had no significant restaurant accounts, although it was working with consumer-product and food companies promoting brands such as Sara Lee, Head & Shoulders, and Old Spice. Euro RSCG Tatham began work immediately on the estimated $80 million campaign. Its contract for the Red Lobster account was structured with an incentive. The more Red Lobster improved, the greater the revenue for the ad agency. Grey Advertising continued to handle Darden’s Olive Garden business.
Tatham officials soon began dropping hints in the trade press about the direction of the new Red Lobster campaign. The agency said that it would continue advertising Red Lobster on television but that it would also look at more targeted advertising, such as direct mail and the Internet. New advertisements would include an emphasis on atmosphere as well as on food. ‘‘Red Lobster has more to sell than food on the plate,’’ a Tatham official declared. ‘‘They have a place, an attitude, a feeling . . . all of which we will portray in the advertising.’’ Tatham’s new ads, featuring the tagline ‘‘Life on Land Is Dry,’’ debuted on October 6, 1997.

Red Lobster was a leading player in the market category known as casual dining, whose appeal was primarily to aging baby boomers. This was the group that came of age simultaneously with fast food. As they aged, analysts said, these customers would want full-service, sit-down dining. Although more receptive to ethnic influences on the menus, they still wanted familiar food at moderate prices. ‘‘The major challenge [in appealing to this market] would be the economy,’’ said Ron Paul, president of the restaurant-industry consulting firm Technomic. ‘‘Casual dining is doing very, very well now because consumers are willing to spend the dollars it takes.’’ But when the economy took a downturn, he noted, consumers traded down to fast food.

The 1990s were a golden age for casual dining establishments. The restaurants’ themes, or concepts, varied, but their menus did not stray far from mainstream tastes. Some companies stuck with one specialty, such as Uno Restaurant Corp. and its famous deep-dish pizza of Chicago. Many chains, however, developed several concepts. Darden Restaurants, for example, was able to establish the two dominant chains in casual dining—the Red Lobster seafood concept and the Olive Garden, which had an Italian theme.
With its focus on seafood, Red Lobster was in the enviable position of having no serious national competitors. Its closest rival, Landry’s Seafood Restaurants, operated about 120 seafood restaurants in 26 states. The nation’s number two operator of casual-dining seafood restaurants, Landry’s operated four chains: Landry’s Seafood Houses, the Crab House, Joe’s Crab Shack, and Willie G’s Oyster Bar. By contrast, steak chains such as Outback Steakhouse and Lone Star Steakhouse & Saloon were in a crowded field and struggled to trumpet points of differentiation.

‘‘We’re taking a brand that already has a lot of positive attributes and making it more casual, more energetic,’’ said Wyman Roberts, executive vice president of marketing for Red Lobster, upon announcing the chain’s new ad campaign. ‘‘Like all brands, we need to evolve into something appropriate for these times.’’
In Red Lobster’s judgment the times called for repositioning the restaurant as a welcome break from the otherwise dry world. The first two 30-second television spots, entitled ‘‘Escape’’ and ‘‘Pack Your Bags’’ and featuring the tagline ‘‘Life on Land Is Dry,’’ began airing in October 1997 during prime-time programs such as Monday Night Football, Friends, 3rd Rock from the Sun, Home Improvement, and the Major League Baseball playoffs. The new commercials set footage of Americans of all ages enjoying fun on the beach to upbeat original music. The beach images, shot on both U.S. coasts, in Cape Cod and Los Angeles, were designed to associate the fun and excitement of water experiences with the freshness of Red Lobster fish and seafood. ‘‘By tapping into people’s memories of great beach vacations and sunny days spent relaxing in backyard pools, we capture their passion for life by the water including their hunger for fresh fish and seafood,’’ said Gary Epstein, managing partner of Tatham.
Subsequent spots in the campaign used contrast to make the same point. Scenes of people doing everyday, mundane tasks on land, using shots of the Los Angeles freeway and the deserts of Lancaster, California, were juxtaposed against the ‘‘escape’’ implied in Red Lobster seafood. ‘‘Research showed that our customers long for experiences that take them away from the grind of their everyday routines,’’ Roberts observed. ‘‘With this understanding of our customers’ needs, we hope to get them excited about seafood and the entire experience of dining at Red Lobster restaurants. In fact, this ad campaign is the first chapter in the larger story of efforts to restructure and rejuvenate Red Lobster.’’
The ‘‘Life on Land’’ campaign also included a number of beach-themed commercials featuring musical accompaniment from big names such as Rod Stewart and LeAnn Rimes. One spot launching a promotion for snow crab legs featured three older women cavorting across the sand while Rod Stewart’s song ‘‘Hot Legs’’ that contains condolence phrases played in the background. The promotion offered one pound of crab legs for $9.99. Another spot employed country-and-western prodigy Rimes’s baleful rendition of ‘‘Blue’’ to promote a $14.99 Maine lobster dinner. ‘‘It’s the story of the end of the season and a woman reflecting on the great summer and the experiences she’s had at the seashore. Red Lobster is trying to do a good job of just tapping into that,’’ said Roberts.
To complement its brand-building efforts on network TV, Red Lobster also released a $12 million radio campaign focusing on promotional messages. Radio stations in 60 markets across the country aired 60-second spots supporting the ‘‘Life on Land Is Dry’’ theme. The initiative, which doubled Red Lobster’s annual radio spending without eating into TV buys, followed successful local tests that involved sponsorships of local disc jockeys.
In 1999 the campaign aired another beach-based commercial, titled ‘‘Wingtips,’’ which featured a woman walking barefoot across a pristine beach. The spot’s voice-over encouraged consumers to ‘‘Breathe. Smile. Eat. Make a mess. Make a memory.’’ The spot deviated from the campaign’s other commercials by ending with the tagline ‘‘Escape to Red Lobster.’’ The ‘‘Life on Land Is Dry’’ campaign ended in mid-2000.
In addition to the multimedia advertising push, Red Lobster also made a number of cosmetic changes designed to improve the restaurant experience for both its patrons and employees. Dress-code changes for staff allowed servers to wear shorts and colorful shirts with fish motifs instead of the traditional black pants, white shirts, and ties. The company also eliminated its long-standing ban on beards for male workers. The changes were designed to improve morale in this notoriously highturnover industry.
Significant additions were also made to the Red Lobster menu. More boldly flavored entrees like Louisiana Lacy’s Catfish and Hickory Planked Salmon were added, together with a new seafood pasta line backed by TV commercials. ‘‘In the past, I think we were guilty of creating a menu that leaned toward the middle of the road,’’ said Tim Rosendahl, the seafood chain’s vice president of food and beverage. ‘‘Now our seafood gumbo, for example, is much more authentic. It’s got a real kick.’’
Finally, Red Lobster announced a renewed effort to increase awareness of the restaurant’s alcoholic beverage offerings. Elevated bars, akin to the ones seen in Bennigan’s and T.G.I. Friday’s outlets, were installed in select Red Lobster restaurants, while a teal-colored corrugated roof was designed to provide a tavern-on-thebeach feel. With this push the chain hoped to tap a potential new profit engine, since its alcohol sales were only about half the industry average. In the past, Roberts explained, ‘‘We did not really push or even acknowledge in our restaurants that it’s OK to have a drink.’’
Red Lobster’s sales slump appeared to have bottomed out by the end of 1997. Sales of $417.8 million, with 49 fewer restaurants, were more than 4 percent below the prior year. Sales on a comparable store basis were down 0.2 percent. On the plus side, profit margins were substantially improved over 1996 because of lower cost of goods sold and reduced selling expenses. More importantly, the company was satisfied with the new course being charted by Euro RSCG Tatham. ‘‘Red Lobster has made great progress compared to one year ago and is in the midst of a refocusing on guest satisfaction similar to that successfully undertaken by [t]he Olive Garden,’’ said Joe R. Lee, Darden Restaurants chairman and CEO. ‘‘While we celebrate the improvements, we realize we must maintain our focus on great food and great service in order to provide an outstanding dining experience every time.’’
The company continued to make progress through 1998. After nearly a decade of stagnating or declining fortunes, the chain saw double-digit gains in same-store sales in the third quarter of that year. The 11.6 percent increase marked the biggest such gain in eight years. Analysts credited much of the sales success to the revamped ad campaign. ‘‘It’s a much classier campaign,’’ observed Stacy Jamar, a restaurant analyst for Salomon Smith Barney. ‘‘It’s a more appealing image than before.’’ ‘‘They [Euro RSCG Tatham] have really done a good job with established brands,’’ added Lehman Brothers analyst Mitchell Speiser. ‘‘It has taken a while to turn Red Lobster around because there was a negative perception that it was an old chain and not too relevant. They have done a great job of changing the perception and pruning the portfolio.’’


Jeep was a division of the Chrysler Group, a Detroitbased subsidiary of the DaimlerChrysler Corporation that was responsible for the manufacturing, sale, and marketing of the Chrysler, Jeep, and Dodge brands in the United States. The Grand Cherokee, which was introduced in 1992, was a major vehicle for Jeep. It had helped initiate the market for smooth-handling, road-friendly, midsize sport-utility vehicles (SUVs) in the 1990s and was still a leader in that category. Competition from other midsize vehicles, such as the Ford Explorer, combined with customer migration to both bigger and smaller SUVs meant that by 2000 the Grand Cherokee had to fight to hold onto its market share.
Jeep enlisted ad agency Foote Cone & Belding (FCB) to run a new campaign for model year 2001 that was intended to help Jeep stand out in a crowded field. The effort, titled ‘‘There’s Only One,’’ centered around ‘‘Shake,’’ a humorous spot that featured a muddy Grand Cherokee shaking itself clean in the manner of a dog. First airing in the fall of 2000, it attempted to show consumers that, even though the Grand Cherokee was a luxury midsize SUV, it was still rugged and hard-nosed, just like Jeeps had always been. The campaign’s tagline, ‘‘Jeep—There’s Only One,’’ subtly built on Jeep’s name recognition and status as an originator of the off-road and SUV categories. The brand’s greatest asset was its name; ever since the vehicle’s wide use by the U.S. military during World War II, Jeep had been one of the most recognizable brands in the world. The company wanted to capitalize on this as much as it could. The ‘‘Shake’’ spot was a big hit with critics and took home a Bronze Clio in 2001 in the television/film commercial category. It also helped the Grand Cherokee to be recognized—according to surveys conducted by automobile-industry data collectors R.L. Polk & Co.—as the midsize SUV with the highest degree of customer loyalty in 2001.

The Jeep name originally referred to a military vehicle widely in use by the U.S. Army during World War II. Combining elements of a car, a truck, and an armored vehicle, its durability and ability to travel made it essential to the war effort. The Jeep was developed by the Willys-Overland company of Toledo, Ohio, though other manufacturers also built Jeeps during the war. After the conflict was over, Willys began to market the brand to civilians. The High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicle (also called the Humvee, or Hummer), a larger, more heavily armored vehicle, later came to replace the Jeep for most military uses. Jeep had a number of owners, including American Motors, before being scooped up by Chrysler in the late 1980s. Chrysler was one of Detroit’s most profitable companies in the 1980s, but by the end of the following decade its fortunes had begun to fade. In 1998 the automaker merged with German car manufacturer Daimler-Benz (most famous for its Mercedes brand automobiles), creating the DaimlerChrysler Corporation/DaimlerChrysler AG. Jeep became a part of the Chrysler Group, a subsidiary of DaimlerChrysler that also handled the manufacture, sales, and marketing of the Chrysler and Dodge brands. The Jeep Grand Cherokee was first introduced at the 1992 North American International Auto Show. It replaced the Grand Wagoneer as Jeep’s midsize SUV. The vehicle was larger than the original Cherokee, which, along with the Wrangler, served as Jeep’s touchtone vehicle. It helped create a new market for midsize, rugged SUVs. Despite its off-road capabilities, the vehicle proved popular with suburban and urban drivers, and it was one of the leading SUVs throughout the 1990s. It offered a roomier, more luxurious feel than many other midsize SUVs in the early 1990s.
In 1998 Jeep introduced the second generation of the Grand Cherokee, radically redesigning the car in the face of competition from the Ford Explorer and Chevrolet TrailBlazer. The new Grand Cherokee featured the Quadra-Drive system, which helped the driver maintain control of the vehicle even if only one wheel had traction. This improved the Grand Cherokee’s offroad performance and made it safer in the snow. It also featured a powerful V-8 engine and a driver-side airbag. This second-generation model proved so successful that Jeep did not significantly alter the Grand Cherokee again until model year 2005.
Unfortunately, the SUV market was starting to get crowded. Smaller imports, such as the Honda Odyssey, had begun to make tentative inroads into the U.S. market. Also alarming from the Grand Cherokee’s point of view was the rise of larger luxury SUVs, such as the Cadillac Escalade. With younger, lower-income SUV drivers buying smaller imports and wealthier buyers moving on to bigger vehicles, midsize SUVs felt a crunch. By 2001 these larger and smaller SUVs had seen their market shares rise 37 percent and 42 percent, respectively. Meanwhile the midsize category remained flat. This presented a challenge. Jeep had to distinguish itself and the Grand Cherokee from an ever-growing field of rivals within the SUV market.

The Grand Cherokee was a midsize SUV. These vehicles had proven particularly successful at connecting with image-conscious families who wanted a large vehicle to transport their children but did not want to buy a ‘‘stuffy’’ minivan. Also, the Grand Cherokee’s size and Quadra-Drive system gave it a reputation among drivers as a safe car, one that would offer good handling in the snow and protect the driver in the event of a crash. The safety aspect appealed to suburban moms and dads. In addition, the Grand Cherokee was an imposing vehicle, and it had considerable off-road capabilities. This made it popular among males in their 20s and 30s who were looking for a rugged, fun car.

Despite efforts by Toyota, Honda, and Nissan, the primary competition for the Grand Cherokee came from fellow American midsize SUVs, such as the Chevrolet TrailBlazer, Ford Explorer, and Dodge Durango. In fact, these four vehicles together commanded a whopping 72.9 percent of the midsize-SUV market share in the United States.
Though Chrysler Group stablemate the Dodge Durango also competed with the Grand Cherokee, GM’s Chevrolet TrailBlazer and especially the highly successful Ford Explorer were considered to be the major competitors for Jeep. The Explorer, available in two- and four-door models, was the leading vehicle in the segment in terms of sales. In fact, the Explorer had been the topselling vehicle in the segment every year since its introduction in 1991, and by 1998 Ford was selling more than 430,000 units of the vehicle in the United States alone. The Explorer especially appealed to families because of its smooth ride and attractive appearance. That helped the Explorer stand out in a crowded segment. Jeep wanted its new campaign to accomplish something similar for the Grand Cherokee.

Jeep sought a clever campaign that would emphasize the Grand Cherokee’s reputation as a rugged vehicle that could be taken off-road such as places with full with aztec ruins in Central America, while also distinguishing the vehicle and the brand from the flood of SUVs on the market. To implement its new plan, Jeep turned to Foote Cone & Belding (FCB), a Southfield, Michigan–based subsidiary of True North Communications. FCB had a long history working with the brand, and Jeep was confident in the agency’s abilities. The campaign would include billboards and print ads focusing on the vehicle’s rugged appearance. The key to the campaign, however, was a new television spot called ‘‘Shake.’’ FCB hired Gerard de Thame Films, a production company based in London, to put the spot together. It was directed by Gerard de Thame, who had previously directed music videos for the famed British musician Sting. The commercial, which first aired in fall of 2000, began with a mud-coated Cherokee pulling into a suburban driveway. After a couple got out of the Cherokee and walked toward the house, the vehicle shook itself off in a quick back-and-forth motion reminiscent of a dog. Now mud was everywhere, including all over the couple who owned the car. A voice-over then said, ‘‘Even though the Jeep Grand Cherokee is more refined and civilized than ever, it still hasn’t lost its animal instincts.’’ The spot closed with the campaign’s tagline, ‘‘Jeep—There’s Only One.’’ The humor of the spot allowed the company to spotlight Jeep’s rugged reputation in a subtle way. By revealing a clean-cut suburban couple to be the drivers of the muddy Grand Cherokee, the spot implied that even Grand Cherokee drivers who lived in the suburbs had ‘‘messy’’ wild sides. The campaign’s tagline, ‘‘There’s Only One,’’ also called to mind the Jeep’s storied past. The vehicle’s ubiquity in the military during the massive mobilization for World War II injected it straight into popular culture. By 1942 the vehicle merited a mention in the film Holiday Inn, starring Fred Astaire. The Jeep, with its distinctive vertical front grille, quickly became an icon and would become synonymous with rugged, off-road vehicles. Even by 2000, with SUVs a major force in the U.S. auto market, many people still referred to every vehicle in the class as a ‘‘jeep.’’ The ‘‘There’s Only One’’ tagline was a subtle reminder that these ‘‘jeeps’’ were not the same thing as a real Jeep. It also underscored Jeep’s position as the longtime leader in the SUV category.

The campaign was a solid success, and the ‘‘Shake’’ commercial was awarded a Bronze Clio in the television/film category. A Clio was one of advertising’s most prestigious awards. The Clio Awards originated in the late 1950s as a way to honor the best in advertising. Subsequent television spots continued to underscore what people loved about the Grand Cherokee. In October 2001 the Polk Automotive Loyalty Awards were announced, and the Grand Cherokee was ranked the number-one SUV for customer loyalty. The awards were given annually by the Michigan-based R.L. Polk & Co., a firm that collected and analyzed information about the automotive industry. Despite Jeep’s satisfaction with Foote Cone & Belding’s work, the Chrysler Group dropped the agency in late 2000, in the interest of consolidating all of the company’s advertising and marketing efforts with one firm. It awarded its account to Omnicom, an agency that had been working with other Chrysler brands. Later that year Foote Cone & Belding became a part of the New York–based Interpublic Group.

Monday, June 16, 2008


In the 1990s Chrysler Corporation ran a prolonged branding campaign for its four-wheel-drive Jeeps. Although Jeep was one of the oldest and best-known sport utility brands in the United States, it had encountered intense competition as the popularity of four-wheel-drive automobiles (dubbed ‘‘sport utility vehicles,’’ or SUVs) exploded among American consumers. In order to bolster the Jeep brand, Chrysler directed the advertising agency Bozell Worldwide, Inc. to create a television advertising campaign for Jeep’s product line: the Jeep Wrangler, Jeep Cherokee, and Jeep Grand Cherokee. Three of the ads, ‘‘Snow Covered,’’ ‘‘El Toro,’’ and ‘‘Quicksand,’’ were designed not only to elevate sales but also to distinguish Jeep from the 40-odd other models of SUVs that were flooding the market and vying for consumers’ new car dollars.
To reach its upscale target market, Jeep chose to run its ads primarily during highly rated, prime-time network television shows and special events. ‘‘Snow Covered,’’ ‘‘El Toro,’’ and ‘‘Quicksand’’ each used a combination of humor and fantasy to catch viewers’ attention, and each was an element of what Bozell’s managing partner and creative director Bill Morden termed ‘‘the consistent, constant visual of building the brand.’’ ‘‘Snow Covered,’’ a 60-second spot that first aired during the 1994 Winter Olympics, had, according to USA Today, ‘‘one of the longest runs of any TV ad produced by a car company.’’ The commercial featured a Jeep burrowing under a deep blanket of snow as an arresting way of conveying the power and tenacity of the vehicle. Interestingly, the ad did not picture an actual Jeep model. The 30-second ‘‘Quicksand,’’ which debuted in September 1995, showed a Jeep Grand Cherokee trapped in a tropical landscape by a massive water buffalo that refuses to move out of the way. After the car sinks down into a mire of quicksand, the buffalo ambles away. The Jeep then drives itself up out of the muck and goes on its way. ‘‘El Toro,’’ another 30-second spot, first aired in September 1996. It depicts the romantic attraction of two animals for a bright red Jeep Grand Cherokee. The car is first pursued by a bull and drives into a river to escape. As the car emerges, dirty, muddy, and dripping, it is chased by a smitten pig.
Although Jeep could not draw a direct correlation between the television commercials and its sales figures, it pronounced itself pleased with the results of the campaign. Jeep sales rose during the period the ads were being broadcast, and polls demonstrated their popularity with consumers. In addition, the ads won a number of advertising awards, generating further publicity for Jeep and its vehicles.

The Jeep brand originated during World War II when the U.S. Army required a rugged vehicle that could master off-road terrain and the brutal conditions of battle. Partly because of Jeep’s popularity among American GIs, the American Motor Corporation continued to produce the sturdy car after the war. Seemingly half-car and half-truck, the vehicle with its four-wheel-drive capacity had a reputation for being able to go anywhere. Jeep never lost the macho image it garnered during the war. It was a car for the outdoors, for the rugged individual, for the free spirit. In the 1980s, however, a growing market for ‘‘passenger-friendly’’ four-wheeldrive vehicles developed. Drivers wanted the robust look and image of a four-wheel drive outside but the comfort and smoothness of a sedan inside. Jeep responded by shifting its product line, discontinuing some models, and introducing new ones to conform to this trend. Jeep Cherokee first came on the market in 1984 and quickly attained great popularity. Jeep Wrangler, a smaller and more economically-priced model, appeared in 1986. The following year Chrysler Corporation acquired the American Motor Corporation and incorporated Jeep into its new Jeep/Eagle division. In 1993 Chrysler launched the Jeep Grand Cherokee, a luxurious and premium-priced four-wheel-drive vehicle, with a slew of amenities. By the mid-1990s these three models made up the whole of Jeep’s product line. The Wrangler, which in 1997 cost about $13,000, appealed to a younger market. The Cherokee, on the other hand, suited a slightly older consumer who might need more space for a growing family. Finally, the Grand Cherokee, with optional leather seats, was the four-wheel-drive vehicle for the affluent consumer who appreciated the luxury of the model but also sought the cachet of the Jeep brand.
Jeep’s product line was evolving in tune with the American car market. By 1997 pickup trucks, SUVs, and minivans—all three were termed ‘‘light trucks’’—accounted for one out of every two vehicles sold in the United States. Indeed, the sale of sport utility vehicles increased 74 percent in 1997 alone. According to the London Independent, analysts expected SUV sales to rise an additional 35 percent by 2006. Even more noteworthy was the fact that the fastest growing sector of this market was for the so-called luxury SUVs, which included the Jeep Grand Cherokee. The company’s website explained the allure: ‘‘This vehicle is proof you can have a true off-road vehicle without giving up . . . luxuries and amenities.’’

The higher-end sport utility vehicles appealed to a far different group of consumers than the early Jeep models: the average Jeep Grand Cherokee buyer was 44-years old. Advertising Age declared that the success of the car was ‘‘largely due to the acceptance of upscale SUVs by buyers in their forties.’’ The vast majority of sport utility vehicle drivers no longer even took their cars off-road. Rather, the appeal of the SUVs was due more to the perception that they were safer than smaller, more fuel-efficient cars. Not only were SUVs a great deal larger and heavier (they weighed about 5,000 pounds) than the average car, they also afforded the driver a clearer view of the road because they were so tall. As The Fort Worth Star-Telegram asserted, ‘‘Sport utility vehicles appeal to an aging population desperately seeking security at a time of corporate downsizing, family breakups, and crime.’’ Moreover, by providing more cargo and passenger space, SUVs were ideal for families.
But more than anything else, an SUV-like Jeep provided a crucial intangible factor—image. A spokesperson for Mercedes-Benz told the London Independent that SUVs were ‘‘an expression of individuality, lifestyle, and an active enjoyment of life.’’ Both men and women enjoyed the sense of power and hearty individualism that Jeep seemed to convey.
Jeep’s advertising sought to reinforce that image. ‘‘Snow Covered,’’ which did not portray an actual Jeep model, was solely a brand-building campaign. ‘‘Quicksand’’ and ‘‘El Toro’’ specifically touted the Grand Cherokee, but Bozell’s Morden emphasized that ‘‘every ad we do is a deposit in that brand equity bank.’’ According to USA Today, the three spots used fantasy and humor ‘‘to appeal to the company’s yuppie target.’’ The commercials reached out to their target not only through humor but also through their narrative structure. Unlike the ‘‘standard’’ car commercial, the Jeep spots were not catalogs of features. Instead, they told a story that was intended to captivate the audience and communicate to them the values and nature of the brand. Each of the three spots played on key themes: Jeep’s ability to bring the driver into nature; to afford the driver the ‘‘reach’’ to go anywhere and do anything in a Jeep; and to give the driver the mastery and capability the brand promised. ‘‘Quicksand’’ and ‘‘El Toro’’ were specifically designed to remind the viewer that the Grand Cherokee was not just another luxury car. According to Morden, the commercials told their target audience that ‘‘underneath all the leather, it’s still a Jeep.’’

Jeep was not the only brand of sport utility vehicle trying to attract the wealthy yuppie with the soul of an adventurer. In fact, the SUV segment of the auto industry had become one of the most crowded. The number of SUV models surged from 21 in 1987 to nearly 50 ten years later. All told, by 1997 SUV sales accounted for 15 percent of total new car sales. ‘‘When we created ‘Snow Covered’ in 1994 we pretty much stood alone,’’ said Bill Morden. ‘‘But now there are 60 or 70 commercials a week trying to do the same thing as us.’’ Jeep’s competition encroached on both the high and low ends of the SUV sector. Toyota’s Land Cruiser and 4Runner, Chevrolet’s Suburban, Land Rover, Range Rover, Mercedes-Benz’s M-Class, Lexus’s RX300, and Lincoln-Mercury’s Mountaineer presented fierce competition for the more upscale new car buyer Jeep sought to attract to its Grand Cherokee. On the other end of the spectrum, Toyota’s RAV4, Geo’s Tracker, Suzuki’s Samurai, and Mitsubishi’s Montero threatened to encroach on the less affluent, younger crowd who had previously coveted the Jeep brand and purchased the more affordable Wrangler or Cherokee. By 1996 the Ford Explorer had risen to become the best-selling sport utility vehicle with an 18.8 percent market share. The Grand Cherokee was second, with 13 percent. Cherokee and Wrangler were fourth and ninth, respectively, with 6.9 percent and 3.8 percent.
Jeep’s competitors also initiated their own bigbudget campaigns. Lexus launched a campaign for its 1999 RX300 that used the tag line, ‘‘It’s not just another sport utility. It’s like no other vehicle on earth.’’ Lexus, like Jeep’s Grand Cherokee, targeted consumers in their early 40s. Both Ford and Mercury’s marketing efforts for the Explorer and the Mountaineer stressed the versatility and practicality of the vehicles. Ford spent an estimated $44.3 million advertising the Explorer and Expedition in 1996, while Toyota devoted $37.7 million to the 4Runner. In an effort to prevail in this fiercely competitive market, however, Jeep outspent its competitors by a substantial margin. In 1996 Chrysler spent $76.3 million marketing the Grand Cherokee, as well as an additional $42.5 million on the Cherokee and $21.6 million on the Wrangler.

As the self-proclaimed leader in the SUV sector, Jeep shied away from overtly acknowledging its numerous competitors in the ads. ‘‘We seldom, if ever, compare ourselves specifically to other brands,’’ Morden said. Instead, Bozell created commercials that attempted to connect consumers with the benefits of the brand on a more emotional level. ‘‘It’s all personality,’’ Gary Topolewski, executive creative director and managing partner at Bozell, told Adweek. ‘‘Cars are an emotional purchase. Bottom line, you want to feel good about the car you’re driving.’’ Few Jeep spots featured the aptly named ‘‘laundry list of features.’’ Instead, Jeep used the narrative style ads in order to distinguish itself from other SUV campaigns.
Jeep chose to bring its message to a more ‘‘upscale, forward-thinking audience,’’ said Morden. In order to do so, the company pinpointed select prime-time television shows to carry the ads. ‘‘Snow Covered’’ aired on such programs as the 1994 Winter Olympics and the 1997 Aloha Bowl. ‘‘Quicksand’’ was seen on shows such as ABC’s 20/20 and NBC’s National Geographic, as well as during Fox Network’s broadcasts of the National Hockey League’s conference semifinals and finals and NBC’s airings of the National Basketball Association’s play-off games. ‘‘El Toro’’ ran during popular shows like Mad About You, Murder One, and Star Trek Voyager, as well as on NBC’s broadcasts of National Football League games.

‘‘Snow Covered,’’ ‘‘Quicksand,’’ and ‘‘El Toro’’ won the admiration of the advertising industry. In 1994 ‘‘Snow Covered’’ won the coveted Grand Prix Award at the Cannes Festival. Analysts lauded both Jeep and Bozell for the witty and innovative ads. Certainly the polished ads helped to bolster Jeep’s image as the preeminent SUV on the market. As USA Today commented, ‘‘Innovative ads get noticed.’’
Although Bozell was quick to assert that drawing a direct correlation between sales figures and specific ads was difficult at best, Morden did assert that ‘‘these spots continued to fit Jeep products into the brand. People saw them as being very positive to the brand’s identity.’’ Jeep sales soared 13 percent the year Jeep took home the Grand Prix for the spot. In addition, USA Today ’s Ad Track consumers survey revealed that it ranked as one of the ten best-liked ads of 1997; thereby proving its popularity.


Automobile advertising has historically constituted not only one of the most visible but also, in sheer dollar volume, one of the largest aspects of the marketing industry. Thus in the 1990s Chrysler, which in 1998 merged with German automaker Daimler-Benz to create DaimlerChrysler AG, had an advertising budget of $1 billion. This certainly dwarfed the budgets of most companies, but even the amount it dedicated to its Chrysler line in 1998—as opposed to other lines such as Plymouth or Jeep—was impressive at an estimated $200 million. Michigan agency Bozell, Southfield handled the entire account, which included television, radio, and print advertising, with an emphasis on television. The company’s overall theme was ‘‘Great cars. Great trucks.’’ As for the Chrysler brand itself, it replaced its 1997 campaign, ‘‘What’s in Your World?,’’ with the tag line ‘‘Engineered to be great cars.’’ Chrysler’s 1998 advertising promoted models such as the Concorde and the LHS, the latter introduced in 1994. But the biggest news was the 300M, a semiluxury model whose design suggested earlier styles. And well it might, for the M in its name signified a return to the popular 300 ‘‘letter series’’ of the 1950s and 1960s. During that time Chrysler had produced a new model each year, identified by successive letters of the alphabet. The launch of the 300M also marked the return of a distinctive winged logo that Chrysler had not used for more than 60 years.
Advertising for the 300M and other lines emphasized luxury in an attempt to overcome negative images associated with the company’s recent past. In the 1970s Chrysler had nearly gone bankrupt, and even under the leadership of the charismatic Lee Iacocca in the 1980s, it had been unable to shake the perception of its product as drab and utilitarian. Perhaps it was ironic then that Chrysler’s 1998 advertising also stressed the theme of heritage. But in this case ‘‘heritage’’ suggested something much larger than the company’s actual history; rather, the theme carried with it images of a luxurious past—and a prosperous future.

In 1920 the Maxwell Motor Car Company hired former General Motors (GM) vice president Walter Chrysler to turn around its failing enterprise. Chrysler became president of the revitalized company in 1923 and in the following year introduced the Chrysler model with a distinctive winged symbol as its trademark. A year later, in 1925, the company was renamed Chrysler, and in 1928 it purchased Dodge, a company that produced the Plymouth and DeSoto lines.
After a strong start, however, by mid century Chrysler began to slip. At a time when rivals GM and Ford, responding to postwar prosperity, regularly introduced new models, innovation at Chrysler came to a standstill. The company even dropped the winged symbol in the mid-1930s, adding to the impression of Chryslers as unexciting cars. Then, in the mid-1950s, the automaker showed that it still retained Walter Chrysler’s ability—Chrysler himself had retired in 1935—to revive his company’s fortunes. ‘‘In 1955,’’ wrote Jennifer Lach in American Demographics in 1998, ‘‘Chrysler needed a new icon. It had no [Chevrolet] Corvette, no [Ford] Thunderbird for young crew-cuts in blue jeans to drool over. That was the year the company found its muscle car: the C-300.’’ Promoted as ‘‘America’s most powerful car,’’ the C-300 proved enormously popular, and during the next decade Chrysler introduced a new model every year, each with a letter attached to the end of the name. With the 300Lin 1965, however, the so-called letter series ended. Chrysler itself fell on hard times in the 1960s and 1970s. First it introduced smaller models before the public was ready for them, and then it returned to larger vehicles just in time for the oil crisis of the 1970s. The company persisted in producing gas-guzzlers throughout the decade, and soon Chrysler was in so much trouble that it applied for and received $1.5 billion worth of loan guarantees from the federal government. Iacocca, former Ford president, became head of Chrysler in 1978, launching yet another turnaround. During the 1980s the company paid off its government loans, beat its competitors by introducing the first minivan, and introduced a series of sturdy if unexciting vehicles called ‘‘K cars.’’ Iacocca left the company in 1992, and in 1998 it was acquired by Daimler-Benz, a vast European auto manufacturer whose best-known product was the upscale Mercedes-Benz.

With the Chrysler 300M sedan, launched in 1998, the company made a push for mature, prosperous buyers with a penchant for luxury. The target for the 300M model, according to Jean Halliday in Advertising Age, was people 35 years of age and older, with buyers expected to be about 40 percent female. For its LHS sedan, another luxury model first introduced in 1994, the company expected buyers to be 45 years old and older, with about 30 percent female. Its appeal was to what Lach in American Demographics called the ‘‘near-luxury’’ segment. Hence the emphasis on heritage, certainly not a theme a company would apply in marketing to very young consumers, along with a program of marketing in a number of venues, many of them decidedly upscale. The first print ads for the 1998 line appeared in October 1997 in Coastal Living, Food and Wine, Vogue, GQ, Martha Stewart’s Living, and a number of other publications, including the more broadly based Business Week and Sports Illustrated.
Television advertising ran the gamut, though again the thrust was toward more seasoned viewers. Hence the company placed spots on ABC’s Nightline and NBC’s Tonight Show, as well as on ABC and CBS telecasts of college football. Other television advertising in the 1998 campaign also placed an emphasis on mature viewers. Thus in January the company ran its ‘‘Wings’’ spot on the telecast of the Bob Hope Chrysler Classic golf tournament, the Golden Globes film awards, and the popular show ER. Meanwhile, Chrysler eyed the demographics of the future. Chrysler executive Steven Bruyn told Lach that the company already had its eye on the 2003 market, when it predicted that what were called ‘‘personal luxury cars’’—that is, two-seater sports cars—would be all the rage. ‘‘Once the kids are gone’’ to college, an industry analyst suggested, ‘‘[baby] boomers are going to trade in their SUVs [sport utility vehicles] and indulge in a twoseater.’’

On the one hand, Chrysler faced its traditional foes in the U.S. auto industry: Ford, whose Lincoln Continental line competed with Chrysler’s luxury models, and GM, with its Buick Park Avenue and other models. On the other hand, there were the many upscale imports such as the Lexus and the BMW. But the theme that appeared again and again, as the advertising and automotive industries examined the ‘‘new’’ Chrysler—both the car and the company—was that of the company’s own conflicts over image.
Indeed, image problems perhaps posed the greatest competition to Chrysler. ‘‘To some,’’ wrote Robyn Meredith in the Houston Chronicle in January 1998, ‘‘the Chrysler name conjures the image not of a car but rather of a company that taxpayers bailed out of nearbankruptcy almost two decades ago.’’ Tanya Gazdik and Teresa Buyikian noted in Adweek at the same time that ‘‘Chrysler is hoping to change customers’ perception of its brand with a new spot breaking on Jan. 11.’’ Chrysler/ Plymouth/Jeep division general manager Marty Levine admitted that ‘‘consumers still see the ‘K cars’ of the 1980s when they think of the brand.’’
With its new campaign, David Kiley wrote in Brandweek, Chrysler hoped to ‘‘boost sales of Chrysler brand, which has underperformed expectations, and close the gap between what the company feels is the reality of Chrysler brand cars and the lingering perception of dullness left over from the brand’s dowdy days in the 1970s and ‘80s.’’ It faced what Meredith in the Houston Chronicle called ‘‘an identify crisis, the root of which is the name the brand shares with its corporate parent.’’

With its 1998 campaign, which first appeared in September 1997, Chrysler and Bozell sought to firmly imprint the company’s brand image in consumers’ minds with an emphasis on heritage and luxury. Its overall corporate theme remained the same: ‘‘Great cars. Great trucks.’’ But in place of Bozell’s earlier tag line, ‘‘What’s in your world?,’’ the new campaign was built around the phrase ‘‘Engineered to be great cars.’’ Advertising included television, radio, and print, but as was often the case with automobile advertising, TV led the way. Television advertising prominently featured the ‘‘new’’ Chrysler winged logo—actually the old one, resurrected after a hiatus of more than 60 years. Jay Kuhnie, Chrysler-Plymouth communications manager, announced in a press release to accompany the launch that ‘‘Chrysler’s winged badge symbolizes the [company’s] proud heritage of design and engineering while serving as a hallmark for the brand.’’ Three of the four TV spots were entitled ‘‘Badge,’’ ‘‘Decisions,’’ and ‘‘Sunbeam,’’ and the initial launch also included six print ads. Both print and TV showed champagne-colored vehicles, which the company had selected because of their elegant appearance, and a print ad for Chrysler Town & Country announced that the car was ‘‘what a penthouse looks like on the ground floor.’’ In total Chrysler ran 17 electronic spots and 23 print ads for all lines, including Plymouth, Jeep, and Eagle. The second salvo of advertising appeared on network television in January, during the National Football League play-offs leading up to the Super Bowl. According to Gazdik and Buyikian in Adweek, ‘‘The spot, set to ethereal music, features a montage of winged objects, such as butterflies and airplanes, intertwined with champagne-colored Chryslers.’’ This was the ‘‘Wings’’ spot, in which a voice-over announced, ‘‘For ideas to take flight they must have wings.’’ Soon afterward the company ran a number of TV spots and print ads for the Chrysler Concorde, advertising that a January 15 press release stated would ‘‘develop the concept of ‘ideas in flight.’ ’’ To promote the 300M in May, the company brought out perhaps the most distinctive of its television ads, one it had actually begun creating more than four decades before. ‘‘Chrysler uncovered an old industrial film,’’ wrote Halliday in Advertising Age, ‘‘with Bob Roger, chief engineer on those cars [the letter series], and many of his comments from snippets of the film appear in three new 30-second spots for the entry-luxury 300M.’’ The new spots added a tag line to go with ‘‘Engineered to be great cars,’’ announcing, ‘‘The technology has changed. But the soul lives on.’’

‘‘Bringing a car to market is a $1 billion to $4 billion investment,’’ Bruyn told Lach in American Demographics. ‘‘As a result, you like to be right.’’ By the end of the year it appeared that Chrysler had been. According to information compiled by the Automotive News Data Center, in one month—August 1998—Chrysler sold nearly 4,500 of the new 300Ms. This was more than one-third of the car’s total sales since it had appeared earlier in the year. Within the so-called near-luxury market, the 300M already had a 10.8 percent share, a figure exceeded only by the Volvo 70 series and the Lexus ES 300. Chrysler appeared to be on the upswing, and increased sales spread to other models. Meanwhile, it prepared to launch its PT Cruiser, an unusual-looking entrant in the sport utility category that Jeffrey Ball of the Wall Street Journal described as ‘‘part 1920s gangster car, part 1950s hot rod, and part London taxicab.’’ The vehicle was the product of an innovative strategy in marketing research pioneered by French medical anthropologist G. Clotaire Rapaille. Rapaille’s studies with language and his attempts to teach autistic children in Switzerland during the 1960s led him to the ideas that he believed would help researchers discover consumers’ hidden and most instinctive desires. Whatever the results of the PT Cruiser, it was sure to live up to the promise of a Chrysler engineer, who told Ball, ‘‘We didn’t make a generic vehicle.’’
The PT Cruiser’s unusual design was a hallmark of Chrysler’s strategy: melding the best of the past with the most prominent elements of the future. Wrote Lach, ‘‘The egg-crate grille [of the 300M] harks back to earlier styles in the letter series, and simple analog dials dot the dashboard.’’ Inside, however, the car suggested quite a different era, with plush leather seats, a climate-control system, and a nine-speaker stereo system. Given the company’s interest in marketing to the future—which included changing demographics, with more and more baby boomers becoming empty nesters—Lach asked, ‘‘Is a 300 convertible on Chrysler’s drawing board? Only time will tell


The Chrysler Group, based in Auburn Hills, Michigan, was the American subsidiary of DaimlerChrysler, responsible for the sales, marketing, and manufacturing of vehicles from the Dodge, Chrysler, and Jeep brands. In 2005 one of Chrysler’s key competitors, the General Motors Corporation (GM), had planned a major sales initiative that combined price reductions with rebates and promised to make the price of GM vehicles extremely competitive. In an attempt to head off this move the Chrysler Group developed its own program, Employee Pricing Plan Plus, slated for June 2005. The initiative combined regular rebates (cash-back programs for consumers purchasing vehicles) with 4 to 5 percent discounts on the factory price. This led to price reductions of thousands of dollars for certain vehicles. To spread the word about this new program the Chrysler Group asked its primary advertising agency, BBDO Detroit, to develop a campaign that would alert a wide audience to the steep discounts on Chrysler vehicles. BBDO decided to reach into the automaker’s past and bring back Lee Iacocca to serve as the company’s spokesperson. Iacocca, who from 1978 to 1992 served as president and then as chairman of Chrysler Group’s predecessor, the Chrysler Corporation, had starred in a number of successful television spots on behalf of the automaker during the 1980s. The new spots, however, featured Iacocca in situations unfamiliar to those who remembered him from earlier campaigns. Instead of seriously addressing the camera, Iacocca informed consumers about the Employee Pricing Plan Plus through onscreen discussions with entertainers, his granddaughter (played by an actress), and a television set. One particularly memorable spot featured Iacocca playing golf with gangster-rap pioneer Snoop Dogg. The campaign also used print ads, which did not feature Iacocca. The campaign was a success. July 2005 sales increased 32 percent over the same month in 2004, convincing Chrysler to extend the Employee Pricing Plan Plus until the end of the model year. Sales for the entire year were up about 5 percent.

The Chrysler Group was a subsidiary of the Germanybased automaker DaimlerChrysler. Headquartered in Auburn Hills, Michigan, the Chrysler Group was responsible for selling vehicles in the Dodge, Chrysler, and Jeep brands. It was created following the 1998 merger between the Chrysler Corporation and Daimler-Benz. Daimler-Benz itself was formed in 1926 through the merger of two German automakers. While Chrysler had been struggling when it joined forces with Daimler-Benz, by 2004 the company was reporting solid sales growth. That year the Chrysler Group sold more than 2.2 million increase from the previous year. The best-selling Chrysler Group vehicle in 2004 was the Dodge Ram pickup, 426,000 of which were moved that year. The Chrysler Corporation was founded in 1925 by Walter P. Chrysler. Along with the Ford Motor Company and the General Motors Corporation, Chrysler was known as one of the ‘‘Big Three’’ U.S. automobile manufacturers that dominated the international automotive industry through much of the twentieth century. By the 1970s, however, Chrysler was in serious trouble, and it reached near bankruptcy in 1980. The company was saved from bankruptcy in part by a 1980 bailout from the federal government that was engineered by Chrysler’s new top executive, Lee Iacocca.
Iacocca became president of Chrysler in 1978 and chairman of the company one year later. In addition to securing federal support, he made substantial changes to how the company operated. He streamlined its management structure by removing many of the company’s executives, and he cut costs by negotiating with the powerful United Auto Workers union to institute a reduction in wages and benefits.
By 1983 the company was making enough of a profit to repay all of the money the U.S. government had loaned it in 1980. The company introduced the first minivan in 1984, creating a new market that Chrysler continued to dominate through the beginning of the twenty-first century. Iacocca also became Chrysler’s most visible spokesperson, appearing in a long string of television commercials in the 1980s. Most of those spots ended with the executive’s famous catchphrase: ‘‘If you can find a better car, buy it.’’ He retired from the company in 1992.
In 1995, however, the former savior of the company alienated many at Chrysler when he joined investor Kirk Kerkorian’s unsuccessful attempt to take over the company. As a result, relations between Iacocca and the Chrysler Corporation, which later became part of DaimlerChrysler, were strained for much of the next 10 years. The market pressures that Kerkorian’s takeover bid exposed later helped push Chrysler to merge with Daimler-Benz.

On July 9, 2005, Chrysler introduced its Employee Pricing Plan Plus program. It was a very competitive mix of reduced prices and consumer rebates (through which customers could earn cash back from vehicles purchased) meant to compete with parallel sales that rival automakers—particularly General Motors—were offering that summer. The program was aimed at all consumers who were often more price-conscious than other buyers and especially at those younger than 49 years of age.

In 2005 the General Motors Corporation (GM) was offering a major price-incentive plan through its dealers, reducing the prices of most GM vehicles. At the time GM was the world’s largest automaker as well as the topselling automobile manufacturer in the United States. Using the tagline ‘‘You pay what we pay,’’ GM cut prices aggressively in an attempt to convince consumers that they would get a good deal on a GM car purchased in July 2005. This put the pressure on GM’s rivals to match these low prices or get left behind.
To counter GM, the Chrysler Group developed an offer that it dubbed the Employee Pricing Plan Plus. The program covered most Chrysler Group vehicles, including the Chrysler PT Cruiser and the Dodge Ram pickup. Planned for July 2005, the program featured discounts of 4 to 5 percent off the dealer invoice. Any existing rebates would also continue to be honored. The effect was steep reductions in sales prices. For example, the price of the Dodge Durango SUV was cut by up to $9,000 with a rebate.

The Chrysler Group decided to tout its Employee Pricing Plan Plus with a $75 million television campaign to run in July and August 2005. It enlisted advertising agency BBDO Detroit to develop the campaign. BBDO determined that the best way to introduce Chrysler’s new pricing program was to turn to someone from the company’s past. After a 20-year hiatus from television commercials, Lee Iacocca returned as the pitchman for Chrysler Group vehicles. Although he retired from the company in 1992, Iacocca was still closely identified with the automotive giant. He also maintained a high profile in his own right through his work with the Iacocca Foundation, a charitable organization that raised money for diabetes research. Iacocca had created the foundation in 1984, after the death of his wife. In 2005 he donated his entire paycheck from making the commercials to the foundation. In addition, the Chrysler Group agreed to become a partner of the Iacocca Foundation, pledging to help raise more than $6 million.
The campaign began with three 30-second television spots: ‘‘Desk,’’ ‘‘Channel Surfing,’’ and ‘‘Granddaughter.’’ The first spot, ‘‘Desk,’’ featured Iacocca discussing the new pricing plan with Jason Alexander, an actor widely known for his role as George on the hit sitcom Seinfeld. It aired beginning July 9. In the spot ‘‘Channel Surfing,’’ Iacocca was shown watching a commercial for Chrysler’s 2005 vehicle line. After the commercial for the vehicles ended, Iacocca pointed out that it had failed to mention the company’s new Employee Pricing Plan Plus, which he than explained. The spot used Iacocca’s outgoing, irreverent personality to connect with audiences.
The third spot, ‘‘Granddaughter,’’ used a setup similar to that of ‘‘Desk,’’ in which Iacocca was engaged in a conversation with someone about the new ‘‘Employee Pricing Plan Plus.’’ This time it was a young girl, said to be his granddaughter (the girl was actually played by an actress). In August the final commercial, ‘‘Golfing Buddies,’’ premiered. It depicted Iacocca golfing with famed rapper Snoop Dogg, who was one of the major innovators of the rough-edged ‘‘gangster rap’’ of the early 1990s. The spot’s entertainment value came from the incongruousness of the sight of the hip-hop star golfing at a country club with the aging business icon. Adding to the humor was Iacocca’s use of hip-hop slang during the spot. All of the commercials featured Iacocca’s 1980s tagline, ‘‘If you can find a better car, buy it.’’ Even 13 years after his retirement, Lee Iacocca was a well-known figure who carried high name recognition with consumers. He also had the advantage of being known for his work in the automotive industry; indeed he was arguably the most acclaimed auto executive of his generation. This gave him an ability to connect with car buyers that few could match. Also, he was a proven success as a pitchman, having starred in a number of successful campaigns in the 1980s. The pairings with entertainers Snoop Dogg and Jason Alexander especially caught TV viewers’ attention. Even those unswayed by Iacocca’s reputation could still find humor in the scenario of the aging executive hanging out with irreverent pop-culture figures.
The Employee Pricing Plan Plus campaign also included a major three-page print spread in USA Today. Referring to the company’s competitors, it featured the tagline ‘‘First, we beat them at the show. Now, we’re taking it to the showroom.’’ Similar print advertisements later ran in local publications throughout the United States. Iacocca was not depicted in the print ads.

The television spots for Chrysler’s Employee Pricing Plan Plus were immediately successful. Although only 15 percent of respondents to USA Today’s Ad Track survey rated the spots favorably, the commercials produced strong bottom-line results. Sales in July 2005 improved 32 percent over July 2004: the Chrysler Group sold more than 240,000 units that month, a company record for monthly sales. Competitor GM’s pricing program, however, generated even bigger sales gains; it moved 41 percent more units in July 2005 than in the previous year. Although the Employee Pricing Plan Plus program was originally slated for July 2005, because of its effectiveness it was extended through the rest of the summer. For the year Chrysler Group saw U.S. sales jump 5 percent, with more than 2.3 million units sold.
The spots worked best with the young driver they were meant to target. In the Ad Track survey 18 percent of consumers aged 25 to 49 stated that they liked the spots a lot, the best of any age group. Between 66 and 74 percent of these respondents recognized Iacocca (it varied depending on the particular commercial). Older viewers, however, were more aware of who Iacocca was. Between 82 percent and 91 percent of respondents aged 50 and over recognized the famed businessman when they saw the commercials.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008


The Riven product was acquired by Cyan Worlds Inc. The essay continues to refer to The Learning Company, as they owned Riven when the campaign was launched. An advertising campaign that used spectacular screen shots from Riven: The Sequel to Myst helped make the product the leading computer game in the United States within two months of its release. Riven and its phenomenally successful predecessor, Myst, were the two most popular PC games in 1997, and they remained among the highest-ranked computer games throughout 1998. Like Myst, Riven was a nonviolent adventure game that involved the exploration of fabulous islands and the solving of puzzles to the accompaniment of an eerily beautiful sound track. Advertisements for Riven emphasized that it was a continuation of the mysterious story introduced in the first game. One television commercial began with a close-up of a book embellished with curious symbols that swept the audience into a world full of abandoned structures, towering cliffs, meandering pathways, and intriguing machines, all new but similar to the sights gamers had found on the islands of Myst. The campaign also included radio commercials, print ads, and a network of hyperlinks on the Internet. In addition, promotions for Riven had begun building anticipation a year before the game was released in October 1997. The campaign for Riven, which ran during 1997 and 1998, was developed by Saatchi & Saatchi Advertising. The game was designed by Cyan, Inc., was published by Brøderbund Software, Inc., and was marketed by Brøderbund’s Red Orb Entertainment division.

Cyan was a software development company founded in 1988 in Spokane, Washington, by brothers Rand and Robyn Miller and a friend, Chris Brandkamp. Richard Vander Wendelater joined Cyan to help develop Riven.
The firm’s early successes included three games for children:
Spelunx and the Caves of Mr. Seudo, Manhole, and Cosmic Osmo. The publisher of Myst and Riven, Brøderbund, was founded in 1980 by brothers Doug and Gary Carlston to market their computer games Galactic Empire and Galactic Trader. The firm soon became widely known for its imaginative games and for its interactive software for homes, schools, and small businesses. The company’s most successful products included Family Tree Maker, Print Shop, Living Books, 3D Home Series, and an educational game named Carmen Sandiego. Brøderbund’s Red Orb Entertainment division, formed in 1997, developed high-quality computer games, and it published and marketed entertainment software made by Cyan and other companies. Red Orb’s most successful games included Warlords, The Journeyman Project, and Prince of Persia.
When Myst was launched in October 1993, it was among the first CD-ROM games with three-dimensional graphics. This technological breakthrough allowed consumers to enjoy realistic adventures on their personal computers. In addition to its groundbreaking animation, Myst featured a hauntingly beautiful sound track and an intriguing concept. The player was transported to five mystical islands complete with deserted buildings, a spaceship, a sailing ship, a lighthouse, and a tree with an elevator in it. By piecing together clues and using logic to operate generators and other equipment, the player solved a mystery involving the family that had built the structures. Although players felt a sense of suspense while exploring the islands, the game involved no violence. Myst was regarded as one of the most ‘‘immersive’’ games of its day, making players feel as if they had actually entered an alternate reality. At the time a computer game was considered successful if it sold a total of 100,000 copies, but Myst sold half a million copies in its first year. Also impressive was its continued success over time. It was the third most popular software of any kind in 1995, its sales surpassed only by Quicken and the program to upgrade Microsoft Windows. By the spring of 1998 consumers had purchased more than 4 million copies of Myst, making it the best selling CD-ROM entertainment title to date. By the fifth anniversary of its release approximately two copies of Myst had been sold for every minute the game was on the market. People who had enjoyed Myst waited with great excitement for the release of Riven: The Sequel to Myst in the fall of 1997.

Traditionally marketed toward young males, many computer games were promoted with advertisements that emphasized violence, but the campaign for Riven emphasized the mystery and beauty of a surreal world. Although male consumers 18 to 45 years old were a primary market for Riven, Myst had also been unusually successful with a mainstream audience of women (who accounted for about a third of its sales), children, and older people. The campaign for Riven targeted the millions of people who had already purchased the first game, and it was designed to entice consumers who had heard about Myst but never played it. In fact, Riven was expected to attract a large number of people who seldom played computer games. It was designed for consumers with various skill levels and various reasons for playing. Some enjoyed exploring a realistic fantasy world as if they were experiencing an adventure vacation. Others were more interested in solving logical problems. Riven required little manual dexterity, only the ability to point and click with a computer mouse, and its lack of violence made it an appealing choice for families. Because of its complex puzzles, however, it was intended primarily for adults who liked to think.

In 1997 North American retail sales of computer games reached $5.1 billion. During the first half of 1998 the computer gaming industry grew by about 30 percent. Sony Corporation’s PlayStation and other console video games designed to be played on television sets had dominated the emerging industry for years, but as more consumers purchased personal computers with CD-ROM drives and other technological innovations, computer games became increasingly popular. By the late 1990s thousands of titles were available, including chess, flight simulators, games that mimicked football and other sports, adventures that used characters and settings from motion pictures, and games designed for small children. Some of the most popular titles involved graphic violence, while others revolved around such intellectual challenges as the building of cities and the solving of puzzles. In 1998 Scrabble, Monopoly Game, and Frogger—all marketed by Hasbro Interactive—were among the top 20 computer games. The leading title in 1998 was StarCraft, marketed by Havas Interactive, Inc., which also marketed the popular Diablo and Titanic:
Adventure out of Time.
Riven and Myst were generally considered to be part of the strategy, action, and adventure segments of the industry, which included games that simulated wars and big-game hunting. Two of the most widely known titles in the segment were Doom and Quake (both made by id Software, Inc.), which required players to navigate mazes while gunning down enemies. Quake II ranked 16th out of the top 20 PC games in 1998. Another long-running favorite, Tomb Raider, was in 12th place in 1997 but dropped out of the top 20 in 1998. The game, marketed by Eidos Interactive, starred a scantily clad heroine with a flair for gunfights and gymnastics. Some action games featured battling knights, dragons, and other fantasy characters who fought with primitive weapons. ‘‘Heft your broadsword and mete out punishment in a purely medieval manner!’’ proclaimed the text in an advertisement for King’s Quest, marketed by Sierra On-Line, Inc. In science fiction games the player was often pitted against futuristic weapons and gigantic robots in a fight to dominate entire worlds. ‘‘The wreckage just doesn’t stop!’’ read the headline in a magazine advertisement for Total Annihilation, marketed by Cavedog Entertainment, a division of Humongous Entertainment, Inc. Two products related to the Star Wars series of motion pictures—
Jedi Knight: Dark Forces II and X-Wing vs. TIE Fighter—were among the top 20 PC games of 1997. Both were marketed by LucasArts Entertainment Company, which also made the popular adventure game Grim Fandango.
Other adventure games more closely resembled Myst and Riven. Timelapse, marketed by Hammerhead Entertainment, a division of Barracuda, Inc., involved a search for a missing archaeologist and the discovery that ancient civilizations in Egypt and the Americas had been in contact with beings from another planet. An advertisement in Family PC magazine showed beautiful, colorful scenes from the game, including an artist’s rendition of a technologically advanced Atlantis, a Mayan pyramid, and a boat docked beside an Egyptian temple. A game named Temujin, developed by SouthPeak Interactive, was launched in mid-October 1997, allowing its promoters to take advantage of the publicity surrounding the release of Riven two weeks later. Like Riven, Temujin was a nonviolent adventure with high-quality graphic art, a series of puzzles to solve, and no action figures. SouthPeak’s $650,000 advertising campaign in print media and on the Internet, launched in March 1997, called attention to the similarities and differences between Temujin and Riven.

Other promotions ran in conjunction with the advertising campaign for Riven. Sound tracks to computer games were sometimes sold to generate publicity and additional revenues from consumers who did not own computers but who wanted to experience part of what the games had to offer. By February 1998, when Virgin Records and Cyan, Inc., released the sound track to Riven: The Sequel to Myst, consumers had already purchased 70,000 copies of the Myst sound track by mail order. The music of Myst was released for sale through retail outlets in April 1998. Only 300 units of the Riven sound track sold during the first week, but Cyan expected sales to increase over time, since games tended to remain popular for years. To commemorate the fifth anniversary of the release of Myst in October 1998, Red Orb Entertainment began marketing Ages of Myst, a software package that included Myst, Riven, a video that discussed the making of Riven, a dedication from the brothers who had created the titles, and a journal in which players could take notes to help them solve puzzles in the games. Ages of Myst was promoted with its own seven-figure advertising campaign.

After four years of product development and one year of publicity to build anticipation, the advertising campaign for Riven broke late in the summer of 1997. The game itself was released on Halloween amid great excitement from consumers, who looked forward to purchasing the sequel to Myst. Although extensive advertising for a CD-ROM game was unusual, the promotional campaign from Saatchi & Saatchi included public relations support, network and cable television commercials, radio spots, and ads in Rolling Stone and other magazines for young adults. Brøderbund budgeted $10 million for the marketing effort, half for traditional advertising media and half for Internet promotions. On the World Wide Web a network of hyperlinks led consumers to numerous so-called immersive sites, where they could sample demonstration versions of the game. To generate suspense, these sites were launched in succession over a period of time. Other sites provided fans with background information about the worlds and characters in Riven, and they listed related merchandise such as daggers and costumes that consumers could purchase. The marketing plan included agreements with on-line gaming sites and search engines, including Excite, Webcrawler, and Yahoo!, to lead consumers to Riven promotions. In addition, Red Orb Entertainment formed a retail marketing partnership with Toshiba Corporation to make shoppers aware of Riven and to provide opportunities for the public to try a demonstration of the game. Early in 1998 consumers who purchased Riven also received a demonstration version of a new Brøderbund game named Journeyman Project 3: Legacy of Time. The retail promotions helped Riven compete for valuable display space in the 19,000 stores in which it was sold. Television commercials used scenes from Riven to give consumers a quick, intriguing tour of an alternative reality full of water, cliffs, peculiar buildings, and sophisticated machinery. In one spot a narrator said, ‘‘The grounds have been prepared, the paths raked. Everyone and everything is in place. All is in its final state of readiness. You may enter whenever you choose. Leaving, however, is another matter.’’ The commercial opened by showing a book on a golden circle. To the sound of eerie music, the turning of pages, and water dripping in a vast cavern, the book opened to show a black rectangle in which a watery world suddenly materialized. The audience was swept inside, flying past the rocky shore of an island and along a walkway to a strange round structure. The scene shifted to a view from inside a dark cave, looking through a rickety gate. The camera moved outside and climbed a pathway meandering up a hill. A new scene showed a whalelike animal waving its fins in the air and then shifted to a narrow opening in another dark cave, looking out on sunbeams illuminating a ship’s wooden deck and rigging. The camera seemed to drop as an elevator descended quickly, revealing glimpses of towering rock formations, blue sky, and mysterious shadows. The elevator stopped at a pathway leading to another curious structure. The scene switched back to the book, which slammed shut with a loud bang while mysterious music played. Fire and darkness gave way to a picture of the game’s box and the words ‘‘Riven. The Sequel to Myst’’ on a black background with mist drifting across it.

In 1997 Riven was the most popular game for both PC and Macintosh users, and Myst was the second most popular PC game. PC Data reported that, in the seven years the company had tracked software sales, Riven was the first entertainment title to reach number one in the category in just over two months. Consumers purchased more than 95,000 copies of Riven on its first day in stores, generating $4.4 million in sales. More than 474,000 copies of Riven were sold within the first month after its release in October 1997. By March 1998 sales of Riven had skyrocketed to approximately 1.5 million copies. By the end of 1998 Riven had dropped to 11th place on the computer game charts, and Myst had slipped to 3rd. At that time the average retail price for Myst had been discounted to $18 (down from $47 in 1996), while Riven’s average price was $39. Riven was widely acclaimed and won a 1998 craft award for outstanding achievement in art and graphics from the Academy of Interactive Arts and Sciences. Cyan planned to recap the story line of the two games in novels and was considering a feature film.
Robyn Miller retained his position as co-owner of Cyan but also in 1998 founded Land of Point, a firm that developed computer-animated feature films with the same type of geographic and cultural detail as those found in Myst and Riven. In 1997 Cyan had an estimated $20 million in sales, up 33.3 percent over 1996. In 1998 Brøderbund’s Red Orb Entertainment division introduced a new action game, Warbreeds, a combination of fantasy and science fiction that used real-time strategy and characters with complex backgrounds. Aimed primarily at adults, Warbreeds involved the building of structures and the harnessing of power, but unlike Riven, it included violent battles and interaction with alien creatures.
The success of Riven, supported by the continued demand for Myst, was the primary reason Brøderbund had revenues of $81.3 million during the first eight months the game was on the market, compared to $21.8 million for the same period in the previous year. Nevertheless, the company reported a net loss of $2.7 million for the financial quarter that ended on May 31, 1998. The cost of royalties for Riven and Myst contributed to the loss. In addition, the company had increased its sales and marketing budget by about 38 percent, including a 77 percent increase in its advertising budget. In September another software firm, the Learning Company, acquired Brøderbund with a stock swap valued at $420 million. The Learning Company moved Riven to its Mindscape Entertainment division, which marketed an assortment of action games. By the end of the year the Learning Company had become a division of Mattel, Inc., one of the largest firms in the toy industry.


In 2002 CVS Corporation’s drugstore chain, CVS/pharmacy, was approaching its 40th anniversary, and as a result of steady growth it was nipping at the heels of the nation’s number one drugstore chain, Walgreens. Although much of CVS’s growth had been the result of acquisitions and was limited to specific regions of the United States, including New England and the Northeast, the drugstore chain was planning a push for national expansion. To reach consumers in markets where CVS was a new face as well as to enhance its brand image in areas where consumers were familiar with the chain, CVS turned to its advertising agency, Boston-based Hill, Holliday, Connors, Cosmopulos (often called Hill Holliday). The campaign Hill Holliday created, ‘‘Life to the Fullest,’’ was CVS’s first national campaign. It was designed to enhance the company’s brand image as well as shift its marketing focus from products to consumer lifestyles. A budget was unavailable, but CVS typically spent about $35 million a year on advertising. Included in the campaign were television spots that aired on cable and network channels that had a large female audience. Print ads also appeared in People magazine, which had a high female readership. Both print ads and TV spots featured people in environments such as a living room, a restaurant, and a public restroom, but with store-aisle markers hanging over their heads that listed each person’s recent purchases and the benefits of buying the items at a CVS store.
While the campaign failed to garner any industry awards, it did capture the attention of consumers. Following its launch CVS reported an 8.7 percent increase in sales over the previous year and a 73 percent jump in net income for the same time period. Hill Holliday’s efforts on behalf of the drugstore chain were recognized by the magazine Advertising Age, which named the company one of its Advertising Agencies of the Year for 2002. Praise for the campaign also came from Adweek. The magazine described one television spot as a refreshing change from the routine ‘‘ho-hum’’ advertising in the retail-beauty-products segment.

When Ralph Hoagland and brothers Stanley and Sidney Goldstein opened the first CVS store in 1963 in Lowell, Massachusetts, the business offered busy consumers a one-stop shop for a variety of over-the-counter healthcare products and beauty aids. Four years later the company added prescription drugs to its product mix when it opened pharmacies in its stores. By 1970 the chain had 100 stores serving customers throughout the northeastern United States. Without abandoning the vision of its founders, which was focused on meeting the needs of customers, the company began expanding. At the end of 1989 the chain reported 789 stores and sales of $1.95 billion. In the 1990s acquisitions and consolidations of small regional chains—including in 1990 the Peoples Drug Stores with 500 stores, in 1997 the Revco chain with 2,552 stores, and in 1998 Arbor Drugs with 207 stores—boosted CVS to the United States’ number two drugstore chain in outlets and sales, behind Walgreens. In 1996 the chain changed its name to CVS Corporation. CVS was originally the acronym of the stores’ name, Consumer Value Stores, but as the business evolved, company executives said that the CVS stood for Customer, Value, and Service.
As CVS grew, it used a variety of marketing strategies to reach consumers in the markets where the chain was expanding. In 2000, working with the tagline ‘‘Care that touches everyone, one at a time,’’ CVS promoted the idea that its business was based on customer service. A CVS in-house team created print advertising, from sales signs displayed in stores to newspaper ads and weekly circulars. Television and radio spots were created by the chain’s advertising agency, New York–based Bates USA, which had signed on with CVS in 1997. CVS initiated its ExtraCare customer-loyalty-card program in 2001, supporting its introduction with a marketing campaign created by Boston-based agency Hill, Holliday, Connors, Cosmopulos. The ExtraCare launch was successful, and as CVS planned a national expansion into new markets, it dropped Bates USA and shifted its advertising work to Hill Holliday. The chain’s first national brand-image campaign, themed ‘‘Life to the Fullest,’’ was released in 2002.

CVS conducted market research to help identify the target market for the chain’s new advertising campaign. The research included reviewing data from 45 million members of the chain’s ExtraCare loyalty-card program, for which advertising and marketing had been created by Boston advertising agency Hill Holliday in 2001. The ExtraCare program offered customers rebates on purchases while enabling CVS to track buying trends. The data identified three customer profiles: young moms in their 30s, working mothers in their 40s with older children living at home, and retired women in their 60s and older. Data also revealed income levels of the average shopper, how much they typically spent each time they visited a CVS store, and what nonprescription products they usually purchased. Based on the information, the ‘‘Life to the Fullest’’ campaign was designed to appeal to women in a variety of age groups and incomes, but it specifically targeted the chain’s core customer, working mothers of all ages. The campaign was also intended to create an emotional link to the women it targeted and sought to reinforce the idea that CVS understood women and their shopping needs. Reporting for Drug Store News, Rob Eder noted that, although the ads emphasized the quickness and efficiency of shopping at CVS, they also strove to avoid making the shopping experience seem dull.

Walgreens, founded in 1901, was the United States’ number one drugstore chain based on sales. Although CVS, with $24.2 billion in annual sales in 2003, was closing in on Walgreens, the older chain clung to its top spot. At the end of 2003 Walgreens operated 4,291 drugstores and reported annual sales of $32.5 billion. To encourage customers to shop the stores’ front end (an industry term for the part of the store that was not the pharmacy) for a wide variety of nonprescription items and to send the message that the chain was more than a place to pick up prescription medications, in 2002 Walgreens released a marketing campaign themed ‘‘Perfect.’’ Created by Omnicom Group’s Chicago-based division, Downtown Partners, the television spots sent the message that Walgreens offered shoppers convenience, good service, and large product selection. The spots were set in the mythical village of Perfect and showed a dreamy image of everyone doing things they were supposed to do and everything working out right. At the end of the spots a voice-over noted, ‘‘Of course, we don’t live in Perfect, so we have Walgreens, where we can get what’s needed for the real world.’’ Not wanting to abandon its pharmacies, which accounted for about 64 percent of the chain’s annual sales, Walgreens in 2002 introduced a second campaign that focused on the pharmacy aspect. The campaign was referred to as ‘‘Rx Safety Net’’ and was designed to differentiate Walgreens pharmacies from the competition and show the benefits of choosing Walgreens for prescription-drug services. The number three drugstore chain, Rite Aid Corporation, owned 3,400 stores in 2003 and had annual sales of $16 billion. Despite falling in behind CVS and Walgreens, Rite Aid reported that its front-end business was one of the strongest in the chain-drugstore industry. One of Rite Aid’s goals was to further build its pharmacy business by encouraging front-end shoppers to become pharmacy customers. John Learish, the chain’s senior vice president of marketing, told Chain Drug Review, ‘‘The brand starts with the pharmacy. It’s the heart and soul of what we do.’’ With that in mind, rather than devising marketing campaigns to drive pharmacy customers to shop the front ends of their stores, as CVS and Walgreens did, in 2003 Rite Aid took a different approach. The chain released a campaign themed ‘‘With Us It’s Personal,’’ which focused on its pharmacy services and the relationship customers had with in-store pharmacists and sales associates. In addition, the campaign intentionally lacked a catchy tagline because, Learish noted, ‘‘The customer is pretty savvy. A slogan alone won’t do it.’’ He added that the effort was more than an advertising campaign: ‘‘It’s a new approach to the way we do business.’’

Hoping to appeal to women, its core audience, CVS Corporation began a makeover of its drugstore chain in 2004. Among the planned changes were cheerful turquoise and magenta walls and short shelves that enabled a woman of average height (five feet four) to see all over the store in a quick glance. An open path at the entrance of each store was designed to allow busy moms to avoid having to traverse a cluttered maze of aisles. To further pamper busy women, remodeled stores would have a beauty counter staffed by trained cosmetics and skin-care consultants. The chain’s newest marketing strategy was expected to help add to the more than three million customers who shopped at CVS stores each day.

Before planning its new marketing campaign, CVS and its ad agency, Hill Holliday, invested time in market and consumer research to determine everything from who they should target to what products the consumer was shopping for during stops in CVS stores. Working with the data gathered, Hill Holliday created the ‘‘Life to the Fullest’’ campaign. It began in October 2002 with a series of six television spots and a dozen print ads. No budget was available, but a report in Adweek noted that the drugstore chain spent approximately $35 million annually on advertising.
Television spots aired in the morning during network news programs, including Good Morning America and Today. During prime time the spots were shown on cable networks with a large female audience, such as Lifetime, the Food Network, and Home and Garden Television, as well as during programs that attracted a younger female audience, including Survivor, The West Wing, and Gilmore Girls. Spots relied on visual techniques to show viewers how products available in CVS stores could enhance their lives and how shopping at the chain could save them time. Each spot placed a typical shopper in her normal environment, but with a CVS store-aisle marker over her head. On the aisle marker’s left side was a list of the shopper’s CVS purchases, and on its right side was a list of the benefits the person derived from shopping at the chain. In one spot a woman flirted with a handsome 20-something guy at a nightclub. The left side of the aisle marker above her head read, ‘‘Calcium, Iron Supply, Haircolor,’’ while the right side stated, with each phrase on a separate line, ‘‘Still / Grooving / At 50.’’ When the woman turned away from the man and toward the camera, it was evident she was no longer a 20-something. Another spot showed a woman ready to relax in a peaceful swimming pool. The left side of the aisle marker over her head stated, ‘‘SunBlock, Lip Balm, and Skin Care,’’ while the right side read, ‘‘And Hubby / Has the / Kids.’’ A spot targeting older women had a couple of senior ladies showing off a confident and playful attitude while primping in a public restroom with cosmetics purchased at a CVS store.
Print ads, which ran in People magazine, followed a format similar to the television spots. One ad featured a woman sitting on her living-room sofa while she gave herself a manicure and pedicure. The aisle marker over her head read, ‘‘Cotton balls, nail polish, chocolate, extra bucks can be extra indulgent.’’ Another print ad showed a couple sitting in the candlelit booth of a romantic restaurant. The woman was holding a present, and the aisle marker above her head stated, ‘‘Greeting cards. Gift wrap. Chocolate. He’s finally getting it.’’

Following the 2002 launch of the ‘‘Life to the Fullest’’ campaign, CVS reported a chainwide upswing in sales. According to a report in Chain Drug Review, in 2001 CVS had failed to meet its business goals, reaching just $413.2 million in net income. But in 2002 the company’s net income increased 73.4 percent to $716.6 million. Further indication that the campaign was helping drive consumers into CVS/pharmacy stores was a jump in 2002 sales to $22.2 billion, an 8.7 percent increase over 2001 sales. In 2003 Advertising Age magazine named Hill Holliday one its Agencies of the Year, in part for its creative efforts on CVS’s ‘‘Life to the Fullest’’ campaign. A report in Adweek praised the television spot that showed elderly women primping together in a public restroom with cosmetics purchased at a CVS drugstore for injecting life into what was typically a ‘‘ho-hum retail segment.’’