Mitsubishi Built Better. Backed Better.

Automotive (BRONZE)

Client Credits: Mitsubishi Motors Canada
Kenichiro Yamamoto - President
Shauna Barker - Manager, Advertising
Ryan Geary - Manager, Marketing
Naoko Saito - Marketing Specialist
Peter Renz - Director - National Marketing
Angus Tucker, Stephen Jurisic - Executive Creative Directors
Niall Kelly - Creative Director
Emma Whathan - Art Director
Jenny Luong - Art Director
Kohl Forsberg - Copywriter
Mavis Huntley - Head of Integrated Production
Dale Giffen - Broadcast Producer
Cas Binnington - Digital Producer
Jen Shapiro - Print Producer
Ian Brooks - Account Lead
Leah Lanza - Account Director
Joan MacAlpine - Digital Director
Stuart Milligan - Account Supervisor
Megan Towers - Strategic Planning Lead
Matt Michaels - Strategic Planner
Adam Ferraro - Digital Planner

Agency Credits: john st.
Mitsubishi Motors Canada
Mitsubishi Motors Canada
Mitsubishi Motors Canada
Mitsubishi Motors Canada
Mitsubishi Motors Canada
john st.
john st.
john st.
john st.
john st.
john st.
john st.
john st.
john st.
john st.
john st.
john st.
john st.
john st.
john st.
john st.


Business Results Period (Consecutive Months):June 2014 - June 2015
Start of Advertising/Communication Effort: April 2014
Base Period as a Benchmark: April 2013 - March 2014

a) Overall Assessment

12 years ago Mitsubishi Motors arrived in Canada as a big global brand that no one north of the border knew about and given the noisy automotive sector in North America, their work was cut out for them when it came to being a breakthrough.

Since 2008 Mitsubishi has enjoyed modest gains, but remained a smaller player with a 1.2% market share1 and when pit against its foreign & domestic competitors, these numbers are not sustainable. Gross media spend is measured in billions and the messaging is loud and ubiquitous, so newer entrants to this category, need to do many things right and do many things disruptively, in order to gain the attention of consumers to grow net profits.

Aside from the market trials, recent brand tracking has shown that consumers were “aware” of Mitsubishi as a brand but almost none were “familiar” with the company for being a global automotive competitor. The typical consumer response was “I guess its a small Japanese car company?” Making the growth efforts even more challenging were changes in the model lineup that resulted in replacing some of their most popular and sporty models (like the world rally darling Evo) with less exciting and more mainstream offerings.

With these insights in mind, we saw an opportunity to present a personality for this relatively unknown “challenger” brand. We would introduce consumers to Mitsubishi in an unforgettable fashion to strengthen familiarity, consideration and most importantly sales and staying power for in Canada.

b) Resulting Business Objectives

Primary Objective:

-  Increased sales – forecast of 7%* (Mass only, Fleet vehicles not included) 2

Secondary Objectives:

- Generate greater brand familiarity & consideration

- Increase web traffic & e-leads by 50%

- Drive to retail & dealer engagement 

c) Annual Media Budget
$1 - $2 million

d) Geographic Area
Canada - National

Footnote 1: DesRosiers Monthly Sales Reports, April 2008 – March 2009.

Footnote 2: Mitsubishi Motor Sales of Canada Inc., “20 Day Sales Results” 2015, July 2015. *Forecast based on Mitsubishi Motor Sales of Canada Inc., Monthly sales results.

a) Analysis and Insight

After connecting with the Mitsubishi executive team on their sales challenges, it was obvious that the primary hurdle they needed to overcome was brand familiarity amongst Canadian Consumers.

In order for Mitsubishi to gain momentum, increase relevancy & drive traffic to retail, we needed to re-introduce the brand in a way that helped Canadians understand exactly what Mitsubishi stands for as a challenger automotive brand (first and foremost).

With Mitsubishi’s legacy, rich in interesting history, the inspiration became about highlighting over 100 years of superior automotive engineering, hard work and industry wins. To name just a few, Mitsubishi is known for its era of dominating the Paris Dakar in rally racing, dedicating rigorous attention and detail to the torture testing of their vehicles and of course for being first to market with the innovation of the All-Wheel Drive car in 1934.   

With all of these industry leading bragging rights in mind, we needed to develop an “introductory” campaign that allowed consumers to really “Get to Know Mitsubishi”, in a fun and informative way, as opposed to just pushing the same old model centric campaigns (to an unfamiliar audience).

The messaging was deigned to set Mitsubishi a part from its competition by showcasing their philosophy of hard work, continuous innovation and improvement – all for the betterment of their vehicles and for their consumers driving experience.

The campaign work extended across all communication channels, including TV, radio, monthly print, dealer communications, digital, social & OOH, encouraging consumers to “Get to know Mitsubishi” at every touch-point. 

b) Communication Strategy

As mentioned, we knew that we needed to more clearly identify the personality behind the Mitsubishi brand if we were going to expect the Canadian consumer to learn more about us. But we also knew that we needed to ground it in an idea that Mitsubishi could own (and that applied to all of their models.)

And the only thing that Mitsubishi owned was their industry leading 10-year powertrain warranty. 

Typically, warranties are offered to reassure people that their car won't fall apart (and if it does, they can get their money back.) But as one Mitsubishi executive put it: "We don't offer a 10 year warranty because we have to. We do it because we can."

Put another way, Mitsubishi's are backed better because they're built better. The warranty wouldn't be the thing that we talked about solely, but it would allow us to talk about all the other things they didn't know about the brand, such as their culture for rigorous factory testing. This is where Mitsu engineers test each and every part of a vehicle before it’s even considered to be approved for final production. This harsh, yet thorough examination is best in class in its category, a claim that only further solidifies that Mitu’s are arguably built better.

Our job then became about telling people exactly how well Mitsubishi's are built, where they're built and in some cases, even who designed them.

All grounded by the simple, yet bold idea: Built better. Backed better. (BBBB)

a) Media Used

Video: TV & Pre-Roll

- 6 x brand TV spots EN & FR (From, Grill, Outlander, Mirage, AWC - History & Never Good Enough)
- 3 x retail spots EN & FR (Seat Sale, Holiday & Get to Know Mitsubishi)
- Paid media pre-roll to support

Radio, Print, Digital, Social OOH & Dealer Communication:

- Monthly brand &/or retail radio spots
- Monthly retail print for newspaper & trade-magazine publications
- Retail focused standard & high impact rich banner units
- Mitsubishi Motors Corporate website reskin
- Unpaid promotion through social channels (Facebook & Twitter)
- OOH campaign
- Dealer ad mats, sales tools & radio scripts

* See links to creative 

b) Creative Discussion

The BBBB creative, was educational and entertaining at the same time - echoing Mitsubishi's aspiration to be dynamic, fun and energetic. The campaign was flexible enough to speak to specific models & incentives, while at the same time speaking to the overall brand and its heritage, dating back to 1914.

It also covered everything from fuel efficiency to design specs to features like Super All Wheel Control and Lane Departure Warning. Yet it presented an aggressive, confident tone that the once-murkily defined brand has sorely lacked. 

And the more people got to know Mitsubishi, the more they started buying.

c) Media Discussion

The BBBB campaign was about a re-introduction for the brand, designed to be the first ever fully integrated campaign for Mitsubishi Motors Canada.

With zero increase to the overall media spend from 2013 to 2014, but a 50% increase in creative deliverables3, we had to be strategic about media placement and ensure that our message was seen first and foremost in mass media. Broadcast is where the competition spends the majority of its budget and is still the traditional forum for advertising in automotive.

We launched with two :30 masterbrand TV spots to kick off telling Canadians Mitsubishi’s story.

All consecutive media that followed (in broadcast, digital, social, print, retail & OOH spaces), had the Built Better.Backed Better. positioning rooted within the core message, ensuring that the new platform was being seen and heard across all mediums.

We also developed easily adaptable ad materials and video assets for pick up by dealers. This too, extended the campaign beyond traditional media outlets and into the dealerships.

The new positioning allowed Mitsubishi the opportunity to create unique content, tailored specifically to the needs of Canadians, while simultaneously educating them on their brand heritage (as opposed to picking up inapt global work for the Canadian market). 

Footnote 3: OMD, “Mitsubishi Motors Sales of Canada Inc. FY’2014 Media Activity,” 2013/2014, April 17, 2015.

a) Sales/Share Results

Since the campaign launched in June 2014, Mitsubishi recorded 5 consecutive record sales months - selling the most cars they have ever sold in the months of July, August, September, October and November.

This translated into a +40% sales gain over the previous time period in 2013 and outpaced the industry, which grew at only 9%.4 This was the highest increase of any car manufacturer in the country (foreign or domestic).

Foot traffic increased in every region according to regional dealers. And while this measure is anecdotal, as Peter Renz, Mitsubishi's director of national marketing says: "For the first time, our dealers are overtly rallying behind the work and we are attributing their increase in traffic to the campaign.”

Traffic to increased 91% and qualified e-leads climbed up over 100%.5

The campaign has led to a 4% increase in brand consideration in 2015 (versus YAGO) and a 3% increase in purchase intention (also versus YAGO).6 The campaign has also led to month over month sales gains in 2015. 

b) Consumption/ Usage Results

See above.

c) Other Pertinent Results

See above.

d) Return on Investment

See above.

Footnote 4: DesRosiers Monthly Sales Reports, “Sales By Manufacturer,” July – November 2013 & July – November 2014.

Footnote 5: DMT Development Systems Group Inc., “Mitsubishi Campaign Activity FY15,” 2015, July 2015.

Footnote 6: Northstar Advancing Understanding. “Mitsubishi Canada; Brand Health Tracking,” 2015, June 5, 2015.

a) General Discussion

Over the past year, Mitsubishi Canada’s work has been recognized as best in class and showcased at global dealer forums by Mitsubishi Japan. And as a result, other markets have now been exposed to the creative and are submitting requests to pick up the assets.

This level of global accolade & applause from within their network is a first for Mitsubishi Canada and only further solidifies the effectiveness of the work and the new brand positioning. 

Finally, the greatest proof point is that the timing of this campaign launch lines up with the accelerated growth in sales, which the Mitsubishi client also attributes to the driving force of the work. 

b) Excluding Other Factors
Spending Levels:

Overall production investment levels for the campaign were inline with 2013 budgets.


Model vehicles & incentives, outside of the 10 year warranty were on par with the competition.

Distribution Changes:


Unusual Promotional Activity:

Rates remain consistent with the category.

Other Potential Causes:

E-Leads Up over 100% from 2013.7 

Footnote 7: DMT Development Systems Group Inc., “Mitsubishi Campaign Activity FY15,” 2015, July 2015.