Dodge’s late-2013 spokesman was all bluster: It was Ron Burgundy, Will Ferrell’s prancing idiot from Anchorman 2, whose TV ads lifted Durango sales 59% last October. But when Ferrell (in character as Burgundy) went on Conan and heard that number, he threw a curveball: “What’s so amazing about it is, it’s a terrible car. Just horrible craftsmanship,” he said. And Dodge . . . loved it.
“Our marketing recipe focuses on this brand attitude and swagger,” says Olivier François, CMO of Chrysler Group–which means as long as people are taking notice, Dodge is winning. Which it is: Across the brand, Dodge sales were up 14% last year and kept alive a 14-month streak of rising sales.
In 2013, Dodge’s product placements reached nearly every type of driver: the speed demon (Fast & Furious 6), the geek (Syfy channel’s Defiance), the tough guy (ads with the rapper Pitbull). It even coordinated product lines with its placements–making sure, say, the futuristic Dodge in Defiance still shows off the modern version’s characteristics. When the eponymous character in FX’s Archer received a Dodge for his birthday, it was proof of cultural saturation: That wasn’t a paid spot. Dodge was just on the writers’ minds.