How Mitsubishi dumped stereotypes for ‘localism’ in its regional advertising

Mariam Cheik-Hussein
By Mariam Cheik-Hussein | 25 March 2021

Mitsubishi has been reworking how it advertises to regional markets, adopting more localised content, after noticing unexpected trends outside of the major cities.

The car manufacturer’s footprint has been growing in regional Australia over the last seven years, with just over 10 locations added, while its metro footprint has been in decline.

The brand has also found surprising sales results across regional and rural markets, with its two smallest vehicles, including the Mirage, making up its key sales in the areas and outselling in regional markets compared to metro areas.

Noticing the growth opportunity, Mitsubishi senior marketing communications manager Karen Bradley says the company has adopted more tailored advertising outside of major cities, rather than continuing with a one-size-fits-all approach.

“Yes, Mitsubishi still does TV advertising on more of a national platform from a sponsorship perspective, but what we’ve had to do is turn the dial and look at opportunities using our own influencers and partnerships for what are our two buzzwords; ‘community’ and ‘localism’,” Bradley says.

“We made sure that the content and the media we're using is relevant in a more lifestyle, adventure-type positioning, rather than just true advertising.”

Bradley says Mitsubishi has devoted 20% of its advertising budget to regional areas, predominantly retail focusing on product and price.

However, over the last 18 months, Bradley says Mitsubishi has done more top and bottom of the funnel advertising with more localised content.

“Something that we've been working very closely with Wavemaker on is addressable content,” she says.

“We have the martech, we have the data available to us so it's just a matter of addressing that and putting it into the environment and localising the content for the audience wherever they are.

“So not showing beaches but showing inland if they're in Ballarat, or if they’re in upper northern NSW, be more beach-focused.

“We do a tiered approach for our comms, but that's only new and it's working from the top of the funnel down to the bottom.”

Mitsubishi paused its retail advertising last April, as did most advertisers during hard lockdowns, and began producing "brand tales" which Bradely says is “not a Mitsubishi thing”.

“Our campaign was all around looking at when we get outside and get to the other side of COVID-19, where does everyone want to be? And it was showing audiences inspirational imagery and locations of where they want it to be,” she says.

“We started changing that in May and June and haven’t really gone back to retail."

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