In its quest to find an enduring phrase to define Chevrolet, the brand is betting that "Find New Roads" will help it find new customers.
In days of yore there was "See the U.S.A. in your Chevrolet." Then "Baseball, hot dogs, apple pie and Chevrolet" had a good run.
But as Chevrolet spreads around the world, it needed something stronger than "Chevy Runs Deep," the tagline it launched in 2010 with voiceovers from comedian Tim Allen.
GM confirmed Tuesday that it would wind down "Chevy Runs Deep" in early February and bring on "Find New Roads."
GM marketing executives had trouble translating "Chevy Runs Deep" in some foreign markets, where Chevrolet needs to grow.
In 2012, 63% of Chevy sales occurred outside the U.S., up from 27% in 2002.
"I didn't think it was the right platform from a global perspective," said Alan Batey, GM vice president of U.S. sales, service and global marketing. "We really needed something that was very simple, very flexible and very easy to translate."
"Find New Roads" will be featured in the brand's 13 product launches this year in the U.S. and 20 introductions throughout the world. The campaign is particularly critical for new vehicles like the Chevrolet Impala sedan, which is to hit showrooms this quarter.
Batey described the slogan as "something we really want to bake into the culture" of GM and "built around this spirit of ingenuity."
"Chevy Runs Deep" was meant to appeal to the historical sensibility of American consumers and their families. But it received mixed reviews. In 2012, Chevy sales rose 4.2% in the U.S., while overall industry sales increased 13.4%.
GM did not announce any personnel changes as part of the new campaign.
Chevy marketing agency Commonwealth, formed a year ago to handle the brand's global advertising strategy, helped design the new campaign. The new slogan will serve as a branding linchpin for its dealership personnel training program.
Edmunds.com analyst Michelle Krebs said the demise of "Chevy Runs Deep" was "long overdue."
"I guess I'm a little ambivalent about the new one," Krebs said. "It seems a bit generic, like it could be any car company. We'll see what they do with it and how it resonates."
GM is expected to stick with the new marketing slogan for years in a bid to establish a lasting identity comparable to Nike's "Just Do It" and Apple's "Think Different."
"I do believe it can stay alive for a long, long time," Batey said.
The new campaign marks one of the first big moves for the Australia-born Batey, who is GM's global marketing chief on an interim basis after predecessor Joel Ewanick was fired last July.
Despite the timing of Chevrolet's new tagline, Batey said GM will not advertise during the Feb. 3 Super Bowl. Last year, the company decided that joining the annual event was not worth the cost -- $4 million per 30-second spot.
Meanwhile, the automaker recently shifted advertising for the critical new 2014 Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra pickups from Commonwealth to Leo Burnett, citing Commonwealth's heavy workload as a driving factor in the decision. It's not clear whether "Find New Roads" will be used in Silverado ads.
"All the specifics of how we're integrating it into our different car lines -- all that work is (still) to be done," Batey said.
Distributed by MCT Information Services
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