The fighting family

Car companies were making news today, but not for their products – for their advertising. First it was DaimlerChrysler Canada and its announcement of its “You can be a millionaire” promotion. It works like this: Buy or lease a Chrysler, Dodge or Jeep until Jan. 3 and you can win $1 million. Unlike Wendy’s similar promo, if you win you get the whole amount in one shot, not in installments. To advertise the promo, DC hired William Shatner to appear in ads as an ironic rich guy extolling the virtues of the simple life. The ads I’ve seen are pretty funny, but I can’t help thinking it wasn’t that long ago when Shatner was seen as a slightly unhinged version of Capt. Kirk (captured perfectly in The Fight Club, when Ed Norton told Brad Pitt if he could fight anyone, it’d be William Shatner.) Mercedes-Benz knows how to fight, but for market share. In Canada, it just doesn’t have the profile of its closest rival, BMW. Which would explain it’s hiring of a new ad agency, ACLC, which last held the Honda Canada account (until it lost that to Grip Ltd.) While MB has intriguing products, like the new B-Class and R-Class, both of which should appeal to Canadian drivers, and its brand is a household name, its Canadian marketing has been relatively staid. DC, on the other hand, spent years shaking off a boring image and now it’s showing its aggressive side with the million dollar promo. I don’t think that’s what the Daimler-Benz folks had in mind it merged with Chrysler.

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