Dodge continues to work hard to refine its brand as the most extreme mainstream of all automakers, dedicated to American consumers who love good, old-fashioned power under the hood and dirt corner performance. This is the determined way forward for a muscle-car franchise owned by Stellantis that continues to find its way in a world swinging away from combustion engines faster than anyone could have imagined a few years ago.
Led by the introduction of a small plug-in hybrid SUV that will revive the Hornet’s nameplate this year, and followed by models that will replace the current gas-powered Challenger and Charger by 2024, Dodge is finally falling in line with the rest of the industry and bow to the electric vehicle mandate that is inexorably taking over the planet.
But Dodge, its gas-crazed fans and its awesomely powered internal combustion engine vehicles are going out screaming. This is underlined by a brand new marketing campaign just launched with video footage of real Dodge owners and enthusiasts doing what they do best: putting rubber in their Challengers and Chargers, including Challenger Hellcats that deliver more than 800 horsepower.
“These people have a love for the brand, and we have a love for the brotherhood of muscle that runs deep,” John Millar, head of Dodge Advertising, told me. “They are incredibly loyal – not just fans, not just customers, but a part of this brotherhood. They live and breathe Dodge and embody what Dodge stands for and what it stands for.”
Indeed, the owners depicted in the campaign are clearly willing to go to great lengths to capture themselves and their friends doing their thing in all sorts of Dodges, some of which have been tricked. “All these shots are real [owners] from their phones or other things they’ve set up, like GoPros,” Millar said. “We didn’t go out to shoot any of it. They use suction cups and long arms, stick them on windows or attach them to the outside of the vehicle.”
The national multimedia campaign launched this week on Dodge branded TV, digital and social media channels. Dodge is trying to increase the impact of the campaign by allowing people to post videos of their vehicles and share them on the social media channels. The campaign is called ‘The Real Brotherhood of Muscle’.
It culminates in a summer where Dodge encouraged “the brotherhood” to repost and share their favorite content across their social media channels using the hashtag #ThatsMyDodge and #ad, with Dodge pulling the punch. The selection filters only include content “that demonstrates legal, safe driving practices and discourages owners from filming or posting anything dangerous, dangerous, illegal or harmful to the Dodge brand,” the company said in a press release.
“Dodge set out to create content that showcases the unique culture of American muscle enthusiasts,” the company said, including “where owners not only show off their vehicles and customizations, but also how they use their Hemi motorcycles, Hellcats and [other accessories]how they use them and even where they park their ride.”
The new ad campaign follows on from a series of recent Dodge marketing efforts, including the creation of a curated list and interactive map of events, roadside restaurants, restaurants, rest areas, races, drag strips, iconic and scenic drives, lodging, sporting events and others that can appeal to members of the Brotherhood of Muscle, who are clearly more clinging to each other than owners of most car brands.
Dodge also hosted a racing competition, and based on those results and other criteria, early this year selected a “head donut maker” for the brand, an owner named Preston Patterson, who acts on behalf of Dodge and its vehicles across the country.
“If another brand considers something, we don’t do it right away,” Miller says. “We really are forging our own path.”