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February 12, 2013

Dodge engages customers with a new approach to buying cars

by KalikaNowlakha

Recently, a TV commercial for a new Dodge sedan caught my eye. I normally don’t pay much attention to car commercials but this one was truly original. The 2013 Dodge Dart commercial suggests a totally new way of buying a car using aspects of a gift registry, called “crowdfunding”. At, anyone over 18 can customize a Dart and collect donations from family and friends to help fund the car. Here’s the commercial that explains the process:

Dodge is targeting a young, not wealthy, social media-savvy segment.  The commercial is fast-paced, uses humor and sarcasm, and encourages the use of social media to share one’s dream Dart and get more donations. This is a really interesting way of engaging potential customers that I’ve never heard of before, and works perfectly considering Dodge’s target market. Most Millenials don’t have a lot of money, but have lots of occasions to receive gifts (the commercial mentions graduations and birthdays) and this “registry” makes gift-giving easy for friends and family. So far, no other cars have taken this approach so this could even be a distinguishing factor that leads a young driver to choose a Dodge Dart as the car they want because of this creative way of funding and its affordability.

There are drawbacks, however. One’s registry can only last for 30, 60, or 90 days (although this might be good in creating a sense of urgency for donations?). Additionally, 9% of the donations are kept as fees. However, I think the idea of a gift registry for multiple people to help fund a car is a great idea and I would love to see these drawbacks improved and perhaps this idea expanded to additional models.

According to the Forbes article “Creative Dodge Dart Ads Tout Crowdfunding as the New Way to Buy a Car”, sales haven’t increased yet, but 998 people joined the registry in the first week. Dodge’s goal may be simply to increase awareness and create a buzz around the Dart, since it’s a new car in a very competitive space. I think this campaign will definitely be successful in increasing awareness – it already sparked my attention – but it will be interesting to see how many cars are eventually successfully funded.

– Kalika N.


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