It’s just another trip to the supermarket. You’re buying all the groceries that you need for the coming week, same as last week. Bread aisle, drink aisle, toiletries aisle, and then, the magazine aisle. You look around at the magazine stand, tons of colors, tons of subjects, a quarter of the magazines about cars. You pick one of the car magazines up, the cover is pretty bland, just a honda civic on the front. But you weren’t prepared for the demon that resides under that cover. Turn the page, darkness, smoke, a formal letter, three words, four halos,two levitating wheels, and one devil. The Dodge Challenger Demon. Through this clever advertisement, Dodge Motor Co. is able to successfully capture the reader’s imagination, make them crave more information on the car, and makes all other following car advertisements seem bland in comparison.
The Dodge Challenger Demon is 840 horsepower monster that was introduced to the world on April 11th 2017 (Sorokanich). The automotive world was teased for nearly half a year before its grand unveiling in new york. Before the car was even being produced, its ad campaign was clear and menacing. Dodge took an approach not commonly used by automotive manufacturers. Instead of showing the car’s features, telling us about it’s mpg or crash safety rating, normal stuff, Dodge chose to be the antithesis to the mundane. Dodge instead decided to let people hear the demon roar, pounce and fly during its unveiling. To the people watching its unveiling, they already knew it was something special. But Dodge still wanted to also get the attention of everyone else, so they continued on their campaign to make everyone know about their monster, while keeping the same mysterious and rebellious
theme from its unveiling.
When it comes to automotive manufacturers, they are always doing whatever need to be done to get you to buy their cars, one of these tactics is by actually doing what they do best, making a car. The car in question is called a halo car ( ahh the irony), which means it is created for the purpose of not making money on the vehicle itself, but by getting the attention of the average consumer with a vehicle that is impossible to ignore. These cars make their brand more enriching, it gives tem heritage, and makes the cars underneath the halo car seem get some of that carisma from it trickled down. So the Demon in itself is an attempt to make the consumer more interested in the brand, the car is essentially a 840 horsepower billboard for dodge. But pathologically, the consumer doesn’t see it that way, they see it as a new car that gives the brand a story and charisma.
And this all comes back to the magazine ad that you saw in the store. The lone demon launching into darkness. From first glance alone, the pure black of the ad gives the reader a rush of fear and curiosity,”Why is this ad pure black? Whats up with the smoke coming from the other page?”. Aside from that, the black background is also fitting for the vehicle named after a monster of pure evil. Darkness creates fear, as a demon should. The darkness not only captures the reader’s attention and curiosity, but it also allows the demon to shine. The black is broken by the hellish red that resides on the demons muscular body, forcing it to stick out like a sore thumb, racing off of the page. The other color that breaks the black is white, popping out to the reader, begging to be read. The white on black is very stimulating and fun, just like the ad as a whole, the white on black lettering is different from what one is used to seeing when reading.
The second biggest aspect of Dodge Demon advertisement is the accompanied letter from the National Hot Rod Association, which leaves the reader wanting more. This letter essentially tells the reader that the Dodge Demon is so fast, that it has been banned from every single drag strip in america (If that isn’t badass, I don’t know what is). And the letter is genuine too, it has been signed by the actual Vice President of Technical Operations of the NHRA, proving to the reader that this isn’t some pure advertising scheme, building the credibility of the car’s power. Not only is the letter genuine, which gives the Demon a form of mythos or story, but it’s also vague. Since the letter wasn’t created to sell the car, but instead inform Dodge of the banning of its vehicle, it leaves out information on the Demon’s true abilities. The letter doesn’t outline the car’s power figures or top speed, it doesn’t talk about the car’s technologically advanced transmission or lack of passenger seats. Instead the letter only talks about what the car did on a quarter mile, that’s it. This lack of information makes the reader incredibly curious. After viewing the ad and seeing that only its quarter mile time is given, it leads the reader to seek out more information, something they now have to do on their own time. By being vague and by having a credible background in drag racing, this letter is the perfect advertising tool.
Now compare this ad to another automotive advertisement that is easily found on any car related magazine sold in the US. This advertisement is for the 2017 toyota corolla, one of the most common cars that you will ever see on the roads. This ad is essentially, the exact opposite of the demons advert. The car is blue, the background is clear, there’s mountains, clouds, and blue skies all around. The words that pop out to the viewer are “Helping you feel safe in your lane.” Underneath that happy and spineless sentence is the Corolla logo, with the words “Toyota Safety Sense Standard”, furthering the complete lack of fun within the ad. This is what you would normally see and expect from an automotive manufacturer. A bland car with a bland background with bland phrasing. So when you see the Dodge Demons advertisement first, it causes every other following ad in the magazine to appear even more dull and mundane.
While toyota’s logo is followed by the optimistic, adventurous, and excited about the future, the dodge logo is accompanied by “Domestic. Not Domesticated”. Making dodges products seem fearless and proud of its heritage, demanding respect from the reader.The car in question proving this by being laser focused on one of america’s oldest and intense motorsports, drag racing. By making their ad campaign for their halo car the antithesis of normal car advertisements, dodge has once again succeeded in grabbing the reader’s attention.
Through its tone and mystery, this dodge demon advert captures the imagination and interest of the reader. It makes the viewer want to know more about the car, but most importantly, it stands out. An ad that is ignored is a failure. The Dodge Demon ad is not a failure. It instantly grabs the reader and makes them stay, but it also makes them beg for more, crating not just a fan of the Demon but of the Dodge family of vehicles. And that is what a car like the demon is intended to do, make the reader want more of its brand.
Toyota Motor Sales, USA INC.“Corolla: Toyota Safety Sense Standard” Car and Driver Hearst Communications. September 2017.
FCA US LLC. “Demon: Officially Banned by the NHRA” Car and Driver Hearst Communications” July 2017.
Sorokanich, Bob. “2018 Dodge Challenger SRT Demon: This Is It.” Road & Track, Road & Track, 15 July 2017, http://www.roadandtrack.com/car-shows/new-york-auto-show/news/a33201/2018-dodge-challenger-srt-demon-specs-info-photos-performance/.