Have you seen the new Annie Leibovitz ad campaign for the 2017 Lincoln Continental yet? The photography is stunning. The imagery conveys a sense of authenticity, a true-to-life scenario that infuses the idea that I could see myself driving that beautiful luxury car.
Hiring renowned portrait photographer Annie Leibovitz was a brilliant move on Ford’s part, as they undergo a multi-year brand reinvention. The approach is specific but looks effortless – which is the true success of Leibovitz’s body of work. Her art is best conveyed when the subjects forget that the camera is on and she is present. Thus, you have a great visual story of four friends who are out and about for a country drive enjoying the scenery and each other’s company – but most importantly – the car.
I bring this up because Ford is trying something new for this brand. They are thinking outside the creative box to sell a vehicle, which is widely associated with an older consumer who has expendable resources, and they are branding it to the next generation of car buyers, individuals who are curious about the world around them. There is real purpose to this campaign – selling the concept that young twenty or thirtysomething year olds could see themselves enjoying the comforts and style of the Lincoln Continental. Thinking to themselves, “I want to drive and enjoy this car!”
The same can be said for the Subaru current Safety ads or their highly successful Love campaign.
Creating a marketing promotion that resonates with the audience is important, including your approach. You don’t have to be an OEM Manufacturer to convey new and artistic communications. Utilize resources within your capacity to identify who your customers are – specifically within your dealership radius – and what motivates their buying interest. Once you have identified your audience, you can tailor your messages to meet their lifestyle trends or desire for their next car purchase. For example, perhaps your dealership is within ten miles of a university – there is a constant output of new college graduates who are about to embark on the world – create messaging that resonates with their current needs.
Also, don’t limit yourself to just the traditional advertising. Studies show most millennials don’t’ watch TV or subscribe to newspapers – thus newspaper subscriptions are down across the country, making their advertising less effective. As you know digital marketing is the true means to reach this audience. Have you considered creating short video ads that could be played on mobile devices and are tailored to tell a story about which vehicles are trending or are fulfilling a need that might be important to them? These short video displays could really make in impact with your next sale.
Just as Ford is doing with their current marketing efforts, don’t be shy to position your dealership in a manner that might be going against your traditional approach. Make yourself available and create a customer dialogue that invites them to your dealership and creates a visual that they see themselves driving around in one of your new cars.
Author: Susan Lovett
As Senior Manager of Marketing for National Credit Center (NCC), Susan Lovett is responsible for NCC’s brand development, marketing and communications. As a seasoned automotive marketing veteran, Susan has extensive background in developing brand awareness and specializing in start-up, entrepreneurial enterprise marketing efforts.