DETROIT – Chevrolet is breaking ranks with the stale tradition of local advertising and opting for some entertainment via a TV show built around likeable but quirky characters who work in a Chevy dealership. The story, however, is told in a series of 30-second commercials.
The new local dealer advertising campaign, which begins airing Thursday (March 1), is titled “Under the Blue Arch.” It’s directed by Randall Einhorn, whose credits include directing “The Office,” “Modern Family,” “Parks and Recreation,” “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia” and “Wilfred.”
The show is a 30-second retail format featuring a consistent cast of characters – from the former radio host turned salesman to the top-selling single mom – set in a new Chevy dealership. The “made for TV” dealership family will be featured in local dealership group advertising and portray the brand’s new look and feel.
“The automotive retail advertising landscape is very crowded, so you have to find a way to break through,” said Joel Ewanick, GM vice president and Global Chief Marketing Officer. “Humor is a great educator and this campaign is designed to grab people’s attention, tweak their funny bone and get them to consider Chevrolet.”
Filming for the ad campaign took place in a Chevrolet dealership in Southern California in early January, but is designed to be location neutral with a fictional town and dealership name to be discovered by those interested in the show. During 10 days of filming, Einhorn and Goodby Silverstein & Partners, Chevrolet’s advertising agency in the United States, created numerous video vignettes which form the basis for the ad series.
“The dealership and each of its characters represents the Chevrolet brand, which are friendly people in a comfortable and inviting surrounding,” said Ralph Watson of Goodby, Silverstein & Partners. “Randall and the cast brought the store to life in a way only they can – by thorough preparation and thoughtful choices for improvisation. Over the course of rehearsing, they became their characters.”
The filming produced extra material that will be used to seed the “back story” of the new guy, Kyle, “from down in Ft. Wayne,” and reveal some of the relationships of the people working there while hinting at future plot lines.
Tim: From Flint, Mich., and known as “The boss.” Tim’s dad was a car man. He came in to work with his Dad after college and has been there ever since. He’s been married for 30 years, with two grown children. Son is in the military. Daughter is married with two kids.
Kyle: Hails from Fort Wayne, Ind., and is “The new guy.” Kyle has always been a Chevy guy. Still has the first Chevy truck, which he inherited from his uncle Jim. It is immaculate other than the “Got Ultimate?” Frisbee bumper sticker. Kyle used to have a radio show back in Ft Wayne. Was kind of a big deal at his former dealership, where he was one of the top salesmen, but his heart was not really in it. Now he is where he wants to be and he is determined to fit in, make sales and make this home.
Rich: Of Detroit is the store’s “Top Gun.” He is self-proclaimed “top salesman” and best friend to Gerry, who also claims to be “top salesman.” He and Gerry think they are Navy pilots “Maverick” and “Iceman” from the 1986 movie “Top Gun,” but they are actually more like sidekicks “Goose” and “Cougar.” Rich is divorced and lives close to his son Trevor, whose little league team he coaches. His Chevrolet dealership is sponsor to the team who is almost undefeated. Tim thinks that they can spin this into something.
Gerry: From Cincinnati, Gerry loves his family, his job and his buddy Rich. He is absolutely stoked with his life. He has everything he has ever wanted and wakes each and every day looking forward to it. He has four kids and a wife that loves him. This is his dream job and one day he, like his buddy Rich, knows he will become manager one day. He loves to B-B-Q and considers himself a grill master. He is also excited to be testing for his orange belt in karate soon. Eye of the Tiger!
Robyn: A Chicago native, Robyn is actually top gun, the top sales person in the dealership. She has nothing to prove as her numbers speak for themselves. She is a single mother of Michael, who she adores and does her best to raise. She is strong and confident. She lights up the room and loves to laugh. That said, she is busy and needs to focus on the task at hand and keep the guys focused.
Kelly: From Orlando, she is single and happy to have her first job with this Chevrolet store.
Brian: Brother, of Tim and head of the service department. Like a zoo keeper who is great with animals, Brian is great with machines. He has an innate technical understanding of the mechanics of the cars and trucks, but he’s just not a real people person. He chose early on to work with machines over people.
Porter: He’s actually a porter. Porter is a local college grad, essentially Tim 30 years ago but he identifies more with Brian.