Chrysler’s New Car Launch Spells Doom For Newspapers

Much has been written and said about how much Craigslist is contributing to the demise of the newspaper business. While Craigslist is single-handedly killing the print classifieds business, there are other storm clouds brewing that are just as worrisome for newspapers.

Car makers launching new models are increasingly putting more and more of their spend into digital platforms and newspapers are getting less and less. So it’s not just the auto classifieds that are disappearing, but the big newspaper display ads to introduce new models are becoming endangered species…

Chrysler is about to embark on a major launch campaign for a car called the Dodge Journey, but for the newspaper business they might as well nickname the car Dodge Doom. The upcoming advertising campaign serves as a microcosm on several fronts. It illustrates both why newspapers are seeing a drastic cut in revenues, and also why internet advertising revenues will continue to grow despite a weak economy.Chrysler is spending $35 million to launch the Dodge Journey which is the same amount they spent last year when they launched the Dodge Nitro. The big difference is not in the total ad spend, it’s where the money is going or not going. Two years ago, Chrysler allocated 5% of their launch budget to online/interactive media. This year, that number is 29% which marks the single largest online ad spend for Chrysler to date.

The reason the company likes online is that it gets so much direct feedback from web consumers — it says it has already made 400 changes to 2008 and 2009 models based on customer web feedback.

Television is still getting the most allocation at 54%, followed by 29% for online, 9% for print and 4% for radio. Of the 9% for print, the majority of it is going to magazines, not newspapers. Now you can begin to understand the gravity of the situation for the newspaper business. For a major automaker to spend $35 million to bring mass awareness to a new product and then subsequently choose (for the most part) to do it without targeting newspaper readers, is a major shift.

And let’s not forget Porsche is promoting its Boxster and Cayman sports cars this month. The campaign is using magazine ads, online banners, and micro sites. The company says that going into 2009 interactive and magazines will continue to be its focus. “Online is a big part of Porsche going forward,” said Marshall Ross, the chief creative officer of the Cramer-Krasselt agency developing the campaign. “If we can bring that personality online in a compelling way, you will see a lot more of it.”

Full article: Chrysler Is Spending Some $35 Million To Launch Its 2009 Dodge Journey Crossover Auto, But If Newspapers Are Lucky They May See Around $1 million Of That Spend