What do marketers sometimes do when they feel like they have run out of ideas? The same thing that all practitioners of the arts tend to do--musicians, comedians, movie people, writers--they dredge up old material. Bring back the classic hits. Re-tell some long-forgotten-but-still-funny jokes. Re-boot a movie franchise. Resurrect a long-dead character. And while the promise of vehicles that will essentially drive themselves is seemingly just around the corner, it is interesting but nevertheless not surprising to see marketers looking to find gold in previously mined claims.
But as any miner knows, previously mined claims often contain veins of valuable minerals that have not yet been found. So perhaps the return of Ford's Bronco and Ranger, Chevy's Blazer, Mitsubishi's Eclipse, and Jeep's Wrangler and Wagoneer, among a host of other "throwback" brands set to enter the slowing market for automobiles, shouldn't be too shocking. Why is the industry slowing? Changing consumer preferences led by usual suspects, the massive Millennial cohort, are creating some challenging conditions for all autos, and for truck marketers in particular.
But an "off-road, rugged, tougher-than-nails" brand image still has wide appeal among SUV buyers, even so-called "soccer moms", but Millennials have proven to be a harder to please bunch than previous generations when it comes to accepting both new product introductions as well as firmly-established brands. And so, marketers have decided that the brand equity they have built over decades of marketing still exists in many brands, many of which were abandoned between 20 and 30 years ago. These marketers are hoping that Millennials in particular respond to the more vintage, nostalgic brand appeal inherent in these products rather than to more contemporary efforts. It has certainly worked well in the "craft cocktail" market as long-dead concoctions have enjoyed a resurgence. But will it work for trucks?
Dsicussion: Do vintage brands appeal to you? What would your motivations be for purchasing a vintage brand? Do you think that this strategy will work for truck marketers? Why or why not?
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