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Northstar

Break through. Like a rock. Let's motor

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Northstar    11

Break through. Like a rock. Let's motor

Successful tag lines help define brand for consumers and company

By LILLIE GUYER | AUTOMOTIVE NEWS

AutoWeek: http://autoweek.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?...E/60306014/1041

Break through. Like a rock. Let's motor. Drivers wanted. The ultimate driving machine. Zoom-zoom.

Consumers know the vehicle brands these tag lines promote without being told. (For the record, they're Cadillac, Chevrolet trucks, Mini, Volkswagen, BMW and Mazda.)

By contrast, some tag lines do little to speak to consumers, advertising critics say: Dream up. Moving forward. Inspiration comes standard. Designed for action. (In this order, they are: Buick, Toyota, Chrysler division and Pontiac).

Effective, enduring tag lines capture the essence of a brand or vehicle in a handful of words, marketing experts agree.

"Ideally, they are short, pithy and memorable, and they have a sense of the customer," says Mike Bentley, executive vice president of brand strategy with JWT Detroit. The advertising agency handles the Ford division account.

Bentley helped develop Ford's current tag line, "Built for the road ahead." He worked with Cadillac's ad agency when it launched "Break through" in 2002.

A tag line "should telegraph to both the organization internally and consumers externally what the company's about," Bentley told Automotive News. "The best tend to have a world view, a philosophy, in them."

Start the revolution

Chevrolet adapted its current slogan, "An American Revolution," in late 2003. Since then, it has become the sixth-most-recognized brand of all time among U.S. consumers, according to Millward Brown, a market research firm in Chicago.

The visual depiction of the tag line includes a striking red "E" in the word "revolution." It's designed to resemble the stripes in the American flag.

"The visual image intends to represent America and Chevrolet, by association, as America's brand," says Andrea Wells, Chevrolet account director for the Campbell-Ewald advertising agency of Warren, Mich.

Kim Kosak, Chevrolet's general director of advertising, says the tag line is the first slogan that covers the brand's cars and trucks alike.

"Before 'Revolution,' we had two different tags: 'We'll be there' for cars and 'Like a rock' for trucks," Kosak says. "We needed one overarching tag to be more efficient in our use of resources. It's working very well. It's a unifying element."

Long-lived lines

The shelf life of tag lines varies. Some automakers replace them every five years or so. But JWT's Bentley says he has seen "unmitigated disasters" when a company drops a tag too soon. "You change a brand icon or brand symbol at your peril," he says.

The "Built Ford Tough" tag line has promoted Ford trucks for 27 years. The slogan seeks to position the brand as "tough, resolute, prepared and confident," Bentley says. Ford is not likely to drop it, he adds.

Tag lines that respond effectively to consumer aspirations work best, he says. Cadillac's current slogan "has a huge plate of cultural meaning."

"It suggests the user will break through into the world of luxury," he says. The tag line, like the Led Zeppelin song to which it is tied ("Rock and Roll"), is aimed at baby boomers.

Similarly, Bentley says, "every BMW owner thinks of himself as the ultimate driving machine."

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Flybrian    0

Buick needs to return to 'Premium American Motorcars.' It makes the most sense.

And I didn't think 'let's motor' was that popular.

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Newbiewar    1

out sales team saw a huge drop off in sales as soon as the "Like a Rock" advertising stopped... would be intresting to see if there was accually a national sales drop?

But JWT's Bentley says he has seen "unmitigated disasters" when a company drops a tag too soon. "You change a brand icon or brand symbol at your peril," he says.

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