With the fate of HUMMER currently up in the air, it’s only natural to look back at the brand’s relatively short history and analyze what could have been done differently to strengthen the brand. The way HUMMER markets themselves plays a huge role in their overall brand strategy, and to say the marketing message has been mixed over the last few years would be an extreme understatement.
HUMMERs are “Like Nothing Else” because each model has the best off-road capability in their class while maintaining luxury features that rival any premium SUV. Every one of HUMMER’s advertisements should reflect that, but that hasn’t always been the case.
Remember those bizarre commercials with the magician doing tricks with a HUMMER and revealing ‘Surprising Truths’ about gas mileage and pricing? Or maybe you remember the HUMMER ad where a man buying Tofu at the market feels inadequate and rushes out to by an H3 – with the original tag line, “Restore your manhood,” later changed to “Restore the balance,” after immediate criticism. These commercials infuriated owners and brand loyalists while doing little to attract new customers.
Just when we thought HUMMER had gotten back on message, they released a commercial earlier this year called Spring has Sprung. Below is the video, followed by some poignant commentary from the Neuroscience Marketing Blog.
“What’s the primary image one gets from that ad? I remember wildflowers. Do people really choose a Hummer because they can’t reach their favorite woodland flora in other vehicles? There’s an implied stream crossing, but the images seem to be deliberately vague; I suppose a Hummer charging through a creek with water flying in all directions would destroy the tranquil mood.
I’ve got news for Hummer advertising execs: enviro-weenies aren’t going to buy a Hummer, even one pictured in a sylvan utopia. Car buyers concerned about fuel economy aren’t going to buy a truck with the aerodynamics (and approximate size) of a condominium. Hummer needs to stop trying to satisfy every constituency in the market, and build on its strengths.”
Unfortunately for GM, a commercial showing HUMMER tearing through the woods and climbing over fallen trees isn’t conducive to the company’s overall green initiative. And unfortunately for the HUMMER brand, that’s exactly what they need to survive.