Maserati’s SuperBowl “Strike” Was Public Relations NOT Advertising

Did you see Maserati’s first TV advert?  What did you think?  I’ve watched it… I don’t know how many times and every time I watch it I’m impressed.  Very impressed.  Many people didn’t understand it when it ran.  Most hadn’t heard of the Marque, let alone the Ghibli brand. Questions and analysis about the advert quickly spread on Twitter.  What was the 90 second spot all about?

Most Super Bowl adverts use humour or celebrity. Most are showy.  This one was like watching a trailer for a movie – I keep thinking the Will Smith movie ‘After Earth’ should have done something similar.  But the Maserati advert wasn’t really an advert, it was a public relations tactic.  A masterpiece.  It was the start of rebuilding relationships with customers that had purchased the ill-fated Ghibli of the 1980s; customers of other four-door sedans who secretly wanted an Italian sports sedan, but couldn’t afford the $140,000 for a Quattreporte.  Strike was about saying we’ve watched and learned; we’ve listened; and now we’re back.

Having rebuilt trust and strengthened relationships with high net worth individuals wanting an alternative to the standard luxury vehicle products offered by German and American makers, Maserati’s ask was to give the Ghibli another look. The spot was designed to get potential customers to contact dealers and book a test drive. We’ll see whether it works.

UPDATE: The company reported that it closed 2014 with its best year ever in North America, with sales growth of 169%.  It sold 13,411 vehicles in the year; 12,844 of them after the Super Bowl spot ran.  Assuming an average of 100,000 per vehicle [the Ghibli starts at $67,000 with the Quattroporte costing between $108 and $140,000] that’s revenues somewhere in the region of a $1.2bn on an estimated $20m [space plus spot production] investment in public relations.

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