The Chrysler PT Cruiser

Being asked to launch a brand new product, let alone a disruptive product like what the PT Cruiser was in 1999, was the opportunity of my career. The overall Creative we developed earned us the prestigious Best in Canada Award by the Canadian Marketing Association.

The PT Cruiser

Without a doubt, being asked to launch a brand new product, let alone a disruptive product like what the PT Cruiser was in 1999, was the opportunity of my career. The overall campaign, which featured iconic symbols, billboards, brochures and tailgate parties featuring PT Cruiser Root Beer coupled with an award winning direct mail campaign earned us the prestigious Best in Canada Award by the Canadian Marketing Association.


The Initial Direct Mail

I chose the Exclamation Icon as the pivotal theme to announce the coming of the PT Cruiser.

This square envelope held the poster featured below, which highlighted the features of the PT Cruiser.


The Poster

A nice collectibles poster.


Mailing Two

The second mailing another personalized message and a 12 page brochure which offered close up glimpses of the styling on the PT and a further invitation to stay tuned for the next mailing, which would announce the launch date.


The Billboards

In the early days of internet marketing (1999), our wild-postings (dedicated ‘funky url’s) and on-street vehicle displays, drove more that 650,000 online requests for information prior to product launch… a resounding success, even in today’s terms….


Mailing Three

The third mailing featured photgraphs if the PT Cruiser in all nine colours that would be available and a small envelope affixed to the mailing which held a PT Cruiser keychain, designed to attract recipients to actually come in, dangle a set of keys on it and take a test drive on the launch date.


The Launch Brochure

Certainly the most beautiful catalogue I have ever created, and that’s not being vain. It was printed four color process with bumps of red, spot and gloss varnishes and a cover consisting of three different metallic and flat greys. Simply a beautiful piece of design and production. It is a collectors item.


The Proving Grounds

We began offering test drives at shopping malls across Canada and posted signs in the mall windows weeks beofre the test drives to increase awareness of the upcoming events.


PT Root Beer

In June of 2000, we organized a series of tailgate parties on the same day across Canada. We opened up the tailgates and served PT Cruiser Way Too Cool Root Beer and gave test drives to the direct mail respondents who came to dealearships with their key they had received from the third mailing.

The fun thing about this is these classic cans are widely available as collector items on eBay now :-)


All of these things...

To illustrate just how much space was in the PT Cruiser, we tested how much we could actually get in there and then photographed all of the items we got in to showcase the point we were trying to make and affixed these window stickers onto each car in the showrooms.


The Toronto Auto Show

The unveiling of the PT Cruiser at the Toronto Auto Show featured a ten foot tall iconic exclamation mark above a suspended PT Cruiser above the escalator entrance to the show... a spectacular accomplishment !


The Solution & Result

Amid the bland midsize sedan segments, Chrysler instantly became a trendsetter with the launch of the PT Cruiser. The Cruiser’s flared fenders, sloping hood, and five-door body style mimicked the old sedans and panel trucks of the 1930s and 1940s. Its distinctive look inspired a slew of other "retro" styled creations and spawned an entire movement of retro. The launch was arguably the most successful in Canadian Automotive History and attracted the right target - young, urban and hip - as conceived by Steve Roper and Matt Daley, giving the brand a certain cachet with a traditionally atypical Chrysler audience.

Client Review

Few brands push the envelope of conventional design quite like Chrysler. When the company launched the daring and innovative PT Cruiser, it was immediately apparent that the proverbial envelope hadn’t just been pushed - it had been torn to pieces. In the nine months leading up to the May launch, Steve Roper and Matt Daley, created a campaign to attract prospects. Using simple and cool images, the company promoted the PT Cruiser on billboard and transit ads, in magazines and on Web banners, gradually building excitement. All the advertising included a call-to-action, either a 1-877 number or Web addresses - www.waycoolcar.com - that cemented the brand’s identity. These efforts built a strong database of “handraisers”, who were then targeted with a three-phase direct mail effort. The first mailing, using a large exclamation mark, emphasized the fun aspect of the car. The second included exclusive information to keep prospects interested, and the third - which included a PT Cruiser key ring - invited customers to take a test drive. The key was to make recipients feel as if they were part of something exclusive and special. The program attracted the right target - young, urban and hip - as conceived by Steve Roper and Matt Daley, giving the brand a certain cachet with a traditionally atypical Chrysler audience'. -The Canadian Marketing Association

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