Chevy's New Tagline: A Shift to WIIFM?

"Your market message should always be highlighting how your product will help your customer," says Nate Hirshberg, Marketing Manager for Harbortouch in this post from his blog {three60}Marketing.  "Although it should be obvious, this marketing fundamental often gets forgotten." Enter Chevrolet.

The iconic auto maker announced this month that it is changing its tagline from "Chevy Runs Deep" to "Find New Roads." As explained in this Wall Street Journal article, the General Motors division is tying the change to a massive rollout of 13 revamped Chevrolet models this year. One of the reasons CEO Dan Akerson gives for the shift is that "Chevy Runs Deep"  just "didn't translate well in some languages hindering the ability to build a global campaign."

More likely is that the tagline didn't translate into sales.

"Chevy Runs Deep" debuted in late 2010. In 2011, Chevrolet owned 13.9% of US auto sales market. In 2012, that fell to 12.8%. In 2000, Chevrolet had a 15% share.

How much of that was due to a tagline is debatable. You could, however, make a decent argument that the change to "Find New Roads" is a shift back to the basic question that customers ask: What's in it for me?

So how do the two slogans relate to WIIFM?

When "Chevy Runs Deep" was introduced, the ads featured nostalgic shots of assembly line workers in the 1940's, houses being built in the 1950's and a young couple in the 1960's. GM's Chief Marketing Officer Joel Ewanick said at the time that "we are out to make people feel the depth of the Chevy brand in cars, especially cars, and trucks and its role in America." He also said they would be focusing on the Chevrolet "bow tie" logo as much as on the tagline.

Cut to audience waving widely and scratching their collective heads. Yes, Chevy has a long history and yes, Chevy is part of Americana and yes, Chevy has a great logo but....what's in it for me?

How about "Find New Roads?"

Instead of pontificating on the importance of Chevrolet, the new tagline focuses on what a Chevy might do for for the customer.

"It offers a challenge to people," Akerson explains in the WSJ article.

Interim marketing chief Alan Batey says the new slogan is meant to "inspire consumers to explore new destinations in life and to reach beyond the normal, whether it is taking a different route to work, trying something new or visiting a new destination."

Whether it sparks increased sales remains to be seen, but at least GM has turned the focus back on what its product can do for the customer. For Chevrolet, that looks like a turn back onto the right messaging road.

What do you think? Has Chevy inspired you?