Chrysler’s four new “we’re coming back” ads, which premiered just a few weeks ago, have pushed the Detroit auto maker to its best potential car buyer perception since at least early 2009 in the US.
Chrysler rode a powerful wave of positive coverage in January, with brand sales rising 44% and unveiling its new Dodge Dart, based on Fiat platform created in Italy, only to hit a wall once its much-debated Super Bowl “Halftime in America” spot aired. The ad seemed to cool Chrysler’s auto buyer perception – at least temporarily.
However, the new first-person narrated, motivational TV spots seem to have struck a strong chord with adults planning to purchase a car in the next 12 months. Reflecting the ads “comeback” tone, Chrysler not only achieved its best scores with that demo, but actually cracked the average for the domestic auto sector in more than three years.
Chrysler and the domestic auto sector average were measured with YouGov BrandIndex’s Buzz score, which asks respondents: “If you've heard anything about the brand in the last two weeks, through advertising, news or word of mouth, was it positive or negative?” Results were filtered for adults 18+ planning on purchasing a car in the next year. The domestic auto sector average includes Ford, Cadillac, Chevrolet, Lincoln, Buick, Dodge, and GM.
YouGov BrandIndex measurement scores range from 100 to -100 and are compiled by subtracting negative feedback from positive. A zero score means equal positive and negative feedback.
After starting 2012 with a 6 buzz score, Chrysler hit a 16 score at the end of January riding on Detroit car show and sales news, bringing it a few points shy of the domestic auto sector average. Chrysler had only come this close to the sector average once before in the last three years, in mid-March 2011.
Right after the “Halftime” ad aired, the buzz score drifted back down to 6 by the middle of March. Two weeks later, Chrysler unveiled a set of four first-person narrated ads focusing on the Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep and Ram truck brands. Chrysler CMO Olivier Francois blogged that “each spot was inspired by stories we’ve heard from people across the country, showing the things they are doing every day to move forward and win their own second half.”
The Wieden + Kennedy campaign appeared to power Chrysler’s buzz score back up to 17 this past Monday, making it the first time it broke past the domestic auto sector average (which was 16) and the highest buzz Chrysler has received since at least March 2009.
To put Chrysler’s achievement in further long-term perspective, the carmaker’s buzz score with consumers in the market to purchase an auto had been in modest positive numbers since mid-February 2011. Before that, Chrysler’s buzz score had been almost entirely in negative sentiment, reaching a bottom of -41 in June 2009.