People Who Move California"
California Lincoln Mercury Dealers Association
of 1999 was the first time that CLMDA had developed any type of Spanish-language
marketing campaign targeting Hispanics. Overall car sales to Hispanics
in California had increased by 9.2% from 1997 to 1998 (Mercury segments
only, CYTD July), while Mercury had seen a decrease in Hispanic sales
of -13.8%. Our challenge was to develop a campaign that provided
the "hard sell" necessary to drive traffic into dealer showrooms
during key sales periods, but also to promote the image and help generate
awareness of Mercury vehicles. Dealer association advertising normally
does not have this dual role but, because of the national Hispanic campaigns
ineffectiveness and irrelevance and the lack of Mercury awareness among
the target consumer, it became very evident that fulfilling this dual
role would be necessary. Further, we were challenged by the following
Dealerships are not staffed to service
Hispanic consumers; almost no bilingual sales people and no written
materials in Spanish.
Many dealerships are dual dealerships
(i.e. Ford/Lincoln Mercury, Volvo/Lincoln Mercury. etc.). This left
the decision of which make to push in the hands of a salesperson.
In many cases, especially with Ford,
Hispanics are persuaded away from Mercury vehicles and towards the comparable
and less expensive Ford
to close a sale.
Among those who are familiar with Mercury,
it was seen as being a slightly "better" brand than Ford,
but consumers did not know why. They also felt that the Ford was the
same as the Mercury, but that it offered more value for the price.
budget parameters did not allow for primary research, the agency conducted
an extensive analysis of all existing qualitative and quantitative research
and utilized account planning disciplines such as one-on-one interviews
with consumers and dealer personnel. The research indicated that Hispanics
awareness of the Mercury brand and its vehicles was nonexistent. Further,
the "Imagine yourself in a Mercury" campaign currently in place
for National General and Hispanic markets was not being understood by
and was irrelevant among Hispanics at this stage in the brands life
cycle. More importantly, it did not deliver on the core values the target
considered important and on which, we knew, Mercury models could deliver.
Our conclusion was that the advertisings original, client-intended
direction of adapting to and adopting elements of the National image campaign
would have to
change if this campaign
was to be successful, so we presented our case to the client which ultimately
approved the recommended direction to move away from the national umbrella
target was California affluent Hispanic adults with household incomes
of $50K+, who are most likely to purchase Mercury vehicles today.
The Secondary target was upwardly mobile Hispanic households for future
brand and model consideration. This target was the focus because Lincoln
Mercury is a luxury brand that appeals to an upscale consumer. The idea
was to align the brand with the inspirational in order to target the affluent
consumer, yet appeal to the growing population of middle class Hispanics
through their aspirational tendencies.
the original charge was "dealer advertising," it was decided
that the advertising had to be just as effective at creating a positioning
for each of the models, as it would be at increasing brand and model consideration,
in order to achieve an increase in qualified dealer traffic. The campaigns
effectiveness was measured by R.L. Polk Hispanic Registrations. We believed
that sales were the only true measure of a successful dealer campaign.
and Communication Strategies
strategy was driven through a focus on the Cougar, Mountaineer and Villager;
the three most likely models to appeal to Hispanics and which are the
Mercury flagship models. The idea was to derive inspiration from and aspiration
to, Mercury vehicles. Further, at a grass roots level, the brand and the
models were aligned with Hispanic targeted events and activities which
were upscale and trendy, and where the vehicles could be displayed. Entertainment
was a focus for these activities (i.e. comedy shows, concerts) to align
the Mercury brand with a lifestyle that is fun and upscale. The communication
strategy centered on conveying the brand essence for each model and for
the Mercury brand as a whole. These essences were created to be in parallel
to the targets core values as they relate to each of the featured
car segment. The following essences were developed for the Mercury brand
and for each of the target vehicles:
Mercury embodies and
delivers what Californias diverse consumers want from a car
because only Mercury captures and understands their human essence and
Cougar is uncompromising, it exudes power and it is decisive. When I drive
the Cougar, I can push life to the edge and cut through any obstacles
because I can feel its guts, its soul and its passion for control.
Mountaineer is bold, adventurous and fearless. When I drive the Mountaineer,
I can conquer the world, wild or tame, because it gives me the freedom
and confidence to go anywhere, anytime.
Villager is real, its honest and unpretentious. When I drive the
Mercury Villager, I can handle lifes realities because I feel protected
by its soothing and safe embrace. With it, I can overcome the everyday
challenges, big and small, directly and with confidence.
strategically planned and bought to place the campaign during prime viewing
hours, targeting programs that skewed to and which would generate the
greatest awareness among the affluent Hispanic target. Television and
radio drove campaign delivery in Northern and Southern California. Spots
were placed in news and entertainment programming on television. International,
romantic and ballad music formats were chosen on radio. Merchandising
was negotiated in the form of bonus spots, sponsorship billboards, remotes.
All added value aired in and around the same type of programming. Media
flights were concentrated during promotional and key holiday periods throughout
the year. This allowed Mercury to promote specific sales incentives and
generate the greatest amount of awareness during time periods when Hispanic
consumers would be most likely to purchase.
executions were developed using "running footage" due to budget
constraints. The notion was to take the footage and, through editing,
graphics, supers, sound effects and music, impart a specific personality
to each model. Original music was developed to obtain an emotional response
to the personality of each of the focus vehicles as well as impart an
upbeat Latino feel. Overall, the approach was to create an image that
Mercury cars were alive and ready to take the target wherever they wanted
to go, physically and emotionally.
during the six-month period in which the campaign aired and from which
results from R.L. Polk are available, California Hispanic sales for the
Mercury brand increased by 31.9% versus -1% for same period YAG. Comparatively,
Non-Hispanic sales increased by only +10.8% during the same period. Cougar,
Mercurys new model, drove the sales increase. Mountaineer also saw
a +12% increase in Hispanic sales versus a 10% decrease in Non-Hispanic
sales. The Villager saw a slight decrease of -3% in Hispanic sales while
Non-Hispanic sales suffered more dramatically with a -13% decline. These
three models were the core vehicles featured in the advertising during
the first half of 1999. During this same time period in 1998, Hispanic
sales made up 8.6% of total California Lincoln Mercury sales. In 1999,
Hispanic sales grew to represent 11% of total California Lincoln Mercury
In measuring the success
of this campaign, it is also important to note the performance of the
Lincoln vehicles during this same time period. While sales of Mercury
vehicles were clearly the ultimate goal of this campaign, the initial
objective was to drive qualified traffic into dealer showroom. Because
all Mercury dealerships in California are also Lincoln dealerships, driving
traffic into the dealership through Mercury advertising also generated
sales of the Lincoln vehicles. Sales of Lincoln vehicles during this time
frame increased by 17.9% compared to a decrease of 21.2% among non-Hispanics.
This success among Hispanics in the Sports Specialty and SUV segments
have led Lincoln Mercury to include the new LS and the Navigator in the
core vehicle set for model year 2000. This will be Lincolns first
ever effort to target Hispanic consumers.