The Hispanic market for autos is growing, and most automakers' sector marketing spend against that population is tracking its growth. Hispanic consumers are now over 18% of the U.S. population.
FCA (Fiat Chrysler Automobile) U.S.'s Dodge brand is hoping to lift its potential in that market with a new campaign, via Lopez Negrete Communications. It's not exactly the Dodge Brothers. Called “Te Pondrá A Prueba” (“It’ll Test You”), it features actor Danny Trejo, the heavy dudein films like “Machete,” “From Dusk Till Dawn,” and “Once Upon a Time in Mexico.” He appears in three Spanish-language commercials for the Dodge Challenger, Dodge Charger and Dodge Dart, playing a Dodge salesman with a twist.
This is not entirely a new for Trejo. He drove a Saleen Dodge SMS 570 Challenger in the action film “Bullet,” in which he was a rogue L.A. detective looking for answers.
The automaker says the new effort extends to digital, including digital video assets, as well as social media. A central theme in the campaign is Trejo turning test drives into under-worldly adventures, with the humorous ads playing on Trejo's intimidation factor as a dangerous, leather-clad killer. The 60-second anthem ad has Trejo in his element — at a negotiating table in the dark, save for the red, blinking lights from a nearby police cruiser, siren going.
It could be a drug deal as Trejo argues terms with another guy. But it’s not. A repair guy on a ladder was just fixing the dealership lights, which come on to reveal the setting, and Dodge vehicles. The guy — a potential customer — mulls the features of the 2015 Dodge Dart, and signs the contract. Probably a good idea, since Trejo, reaching for a pen, opens the wrong side of his jacket, revealing an assortment of knives.
The next ad, slated for later this month, has Trejo letting someone test drive the 2015 Dodge Charger. Trejo wants to tout the sunroof; the customer ignores him. He finally tells the customer to stop the car in front of a warehouse. Trejo goes in, then exits, maybe by defenestration, through a second floor window, shattering the glass. He re-enters the car by falling through the sunroof.
The third spot touts the trunk space in the Dodge Challenger, and also the BeatsAudio system. The thing being put in the trunk shouldn't be hard to imagine, given that Trejo is the guy doing the loading. The test-drive customer wonders what the thumping noise is and Trejo covers it by raising the volume of the BeatsAudio sound system. The customer loves the package, says “yes” to the deal, and we ultimately learn that, no, Trejo wasn't trying to whack someone. He just likes golfing and bowling.
Dodge says it is taking the theme online to YouTube, social channels and other host sites with a Spanish-language video series showing customers (actors) taking test drives with, to their surprise, Trejo.
According to a study Univision did last year with GfK, Toyota, Ford, Nissan Chevrolet and Honda enjoy the highest sales and awareness levels among Hispanics — above 60% up to 71%. The study said Dodge, Hyundai, Kia and VW, meanwhile are at about 32% awareness.
FCA cites Hispanic Millennial Project data to demonstrate where the Millennial market is going: 21% of Millennials in the U.S. are Hispanic, and that percentage is expected to grow to 23% by 2020. Said Juan Torres, FCA's head of multicultural advertising, “To develop a unique campaign that would resonate with such an influential buyer, we sought both humor and a spokesperson that embodies the best-in-class features and performance of the brand.”