By Pia Beukes (215355582)(pbeukdeak)
Integrated marketing communications (IMC) are intended to build and sustain brands through a well-coordinated use of advertising, public relations, sales promotions and publicity using both traditional and non-traditional platforms (Iacobucci 2014, Naeem et al 2013). This communication is a strategic and ongoing business process which should lead to long-term relationships and positively influence brand value (Schultz 2004, Duncan and Moriarty 1990). The brand promotion of Jeep is an example.
Even surgeons now buy Jeeps.
Since 2000, the Sport Utility Vehicle (SUV) market segment has grown at an average of more than 9% in Australia. However, Jeep was not profiting from this growth. Jeeps, seen as 4WD United States army vehicles, were not at all appealing to Australian mothers, executives, and the young and trendy. Between 1999 and 2009, Jeep sales were flat at an average of 4600 vehicles per year.
The ‘Don’t Hold Back’ brand platform commenced in January 2011. However, it only had a moderate effect on the number of Jeeps sold (8648 in 2011). A more integrated, strong and memorable brand-developing campaign was required.
Qualitative research was conducted with current Jeep owners. Many of the people they associated with were incredulous that they could consider buying a Jeep. “You bought a what?” many were asked.
Through many humorous television advertisements, shown regularly in a continuous scheduling regime, Jeep was shown to be the first choice of soccer mums, the young and trendy, surgeons, executives, golfers, wives, and even Santa Claus himself. The new owners were shown to be proud and excited, thus appealing to consumer emotions, and developing the brand image that a Jeep is the dream SUV to many. Further, the advertisements enforced the idea that a Jeep can take you anywhere and you will never be home with all the exciting, new places you can explore. This heightened sense of adventure added to the ‘Don’t Hold Back’ concept. The television advertisements, changed regularly with new ones to add interest and improve retention in consumers’ minds (Keller 1994), were backed up with large newspaper, magazine and web advertisements, all appealing to the emotions and growing aspirations. Thus the superior reach of television was reinforced with the targeting of print and online media (Ephron 2004). In this way, brand consumer awareness was developed and progressed further into consumer-based brand equity – strong, favourable and unique associations in consumers’ memories (Keller 1994).
Magazine advertisements used to enforce the message of the television advertisements
It did not take long before people were discussing the advertisements with their friends and colleagues at parties, work and on social media. Consumers were thus participating in communities, both online and off, vastly extending the brand image and campaign (Jenkins 2006).
The US army workhorse image had been transformed into an aspirational and desired choice for many ordinary and not-so-ordinary Australians.
So did it work?
Reporter, Ian Strachan, writes that arriving at his son’s U13 cricket match in the new press car brought a chorus of: “You bought a Jeep”; ”Hey, look who’s bought a Jeep”. Most Australians now recognise this phrase, demonstrating excellent day-after recall (DAR) and exposure.
The numbers back this up: 18,014 Jeeps were sold in 2012, 22,170 in 2013 and over 30,000 in 2014. The auto market in general was only growing at 12.7%.
Further, website traffic to http://www.jeep.com.au increased by 400% between January 2011 and November 2013, including through search engines looking for ‘Jeep’, and incredibly ‘I bought a Jeep’, indicating a connection to both brand and campaign.
And it’s not over yet…
The campaign is ongoing. Jeep has now launched a ‘Grand Land’ campaign in which people who test drive a Grand Cherokee could win a block of land in a rugged area in Australia, showcasing the all-terrain capabilities of Grand Cherokees. This continuity and consistency in communication is crucial for a brand to continue to stand out (Knox and Bickerton 2003) and be recognised as a legitimate player (Balmer 2001).
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Ephron, E (2004), The Great Integration Mystery, Media Week 1 December 2004, Vol 14 Issue 12.
Iacobucci, D. (2014), Marketing Management (MM), 4th Edition, South-Western, Cenage Learning, Mason.
Jenkins, H (2006), Convergence Culture: Where Old and New Media Collide. New York: NYU Press.
Keller, KL (1994), Integrating Marketing Communications to Build Brand Equity in: Thorson, E and Moore, J (eds) Integrated Communications, Synergy of Persuasive Voices, Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum.
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