Chrysler LLC's Dodge division, which recently launched a promotion for the guy film "Fast Five," is hoping to reach moms as well with product integration on "Jen and Barb. Mom life." The women's video-centered health and lifestyle Web site was started by -- and stars -- Los Angeles mommy bloggers Jen Pate and Barb Machen. The automaker has signed an exclusive auto sponsorship for the show's third season wherein Dodge gets advertising and vehicles infused into video story-lines following the moms' daily activities. As part of the program, both women will drive Dodge vehicles.
The show, a property of Web content and marketing firm Specific Media, has had some 40 consumer brands doing product placement in its two-season, 75-episode run of shows comprising four- to-seven-minute segments. The media company says the show has gotten 52 million unique views and 100 million Web streams, and is distributed on sites like Rachael Ray, People, and CBS Early Show, per Specific Media data.
"This is a great opportunity for us to talk about what's happening with our product lineup," says Fred DePerez, head of Dodge marketing. "We have launched all-new and redesigned vehicles this year, and when you think about Dodge vehicles, it's really about functionality, versatility and efficiency. We needed to get the word out about just how good these new vehicles look and how well they perform now." He says that while the company will promote the entire Dodge lineup through the alliance, the focus will be on family-friendly vehicles like the Durango, and of course the Caravan minivan.
To prep the show's hosts Dodge is bringing them to Chrysler's Auburn Hills, Mich. headquarters for an immersion, says DePerez. "We will walk them through features of our 2011 vehicles. Also, we have an evaluation track on site where they will drive the entire portfolio of vehicles, allowing them to experience our products firsthand." He says the vehicles will not be imposed on episodes in which vehicles are not required or have no relevance, but that episodes featuring Dodge products will have themes in which vehicles play an essential part, such as taking a family road trip -- where to go, what to pack, how to prepare, and of course, what to drive. "They might focus on hands-free features that let you communicate without having to take your hands off the wheel or eyes off the road. But I think it has to be organic; it's not going to be like an advertisement," he says.
The company is looking to do more branded content on the Web, versus solely digital advertising, according to DePerez. "We look at how branded content works versus regular online advertising, and purchase intent is higher, brand awareness is higher and so are effectiveness scores. It's an area that doesn't replace traditional TV or radio but it gives us a way to have a more organic integration into viewing."
DePerez says Dodge has also begun doing video ads via Specific Media's newly acquired BBE unit, featuring 15- and 30-second b-roll content. "Anything with video gets more click-throughs, so we have run video ads featuring Dodge Journey, and the numbers look very good. This is the next step toward more branded content and online advertising."
As for shifting budget to the Web, he says that's not likely. "I think we still have some awareness issues we have to deal with, especially with Journey, which gets good press but the buying public doesn't know about it, so we can't take the foot off the gas in terms of traditional forms of advertising."
The automaker is also in Universal Pictures "Fast Five," the next iteration of Universal's "Fast and Furious" franchise. Dodge will tout the Charger with the film through product placement and advertising for the film which premieres April 29. Chargers are the hero cars in chase scenes throughout the movie, and Dodge has begun touting the car and movie in a TV spot that broke during the Final Four. Universal says the partnership is the biggest to date in the film franchise.