Suzuki Samurai

Role: You are a new hire. You report directly to Mazza. Suzuki is launching a new vehicle in the US.


Question: Suzuki has hired Pearlstein’s company to do the ad campaign. Recommend an advertising campaign to Pearlstein.


Answer: Launch an ad campaign that does not push a specific vehicle type while emphasizing how fun the Suzuki Samurai is.


Supporting Case Observations:

  1. Do not push the Samurai as a specific vehicle type.
    1. Sport Utility Vehicle
      1. The market for sport utility vehicles was small, only accounting for 3% of all automotive sales. (p. 4, ¶ 6)
      2. This means that Suzuki will not be able to sell as many vehicles as they want to get a solid footing in the US market (p. 4, ¶ 6)
        1. Jeep currently has the distinguishable, sustainable, competitive edge in the off-road sector:
          1. In 1984, Jeep released the automotive industry’s first integrated 4×4 drivetrain, meaning that their vertical wheel movement is higher than those of their competitors and therefore they have an engineering edge against their competitors.[1][2]
          2. When asked what vehicle they would buy if they didn’t buy the Suzuki Samurai, focus groups answered that they would buy a Jeep. (p. 6, ¶ 1)
      3.  Truck
        1. Size would be a problem for some consumers. (p. 7, ¶ 5)
        2. Price is not competitive; many trucks are priced around the same point. (p. 4, ¶ 8)[3]
        3. Samurai would have to be advertised as tough rather than fun. (p. 4, ¶ 8)
      4. Subcompact Car
        1. Might not meet customer expectations (p. 5, ¶ 1)
        2. Built on a truck platform (p. 5, ¶ 1)
        3. Not as comfortable as any subcompact car (p. 5. ¶ 1)
  1. Advertisement Dissemination
    1. Release a television ad
      1. The average American household watches a bit 7 hours of television[4]
      2. The current trend is to release a 15 second or 30 second ad.[5]
    2. Release print ads
      1. Publish ads in newspapers, put posters by public transportation
      2. Send print ads to specialized motor magazines, such as Car and Driver
    3. Design Ideas
      1. Target audience is young (18-30) men (p. 5, ¶ 5)
      2. Suzuki calls itself “the always something different car company” (p. 2, ¶ 2), so the ad campaign should use the slogan “Always something different.”
      3. Because Suzuki will be selling in California, Georgia, and Florida (p. 3, ¶ 5), do not use snow.
      4. Each of these states is warm, so the ad campaign should feature sunny, outdoorsy, and fun locations. See List 1 for a list of possible locations.
      5. Print Ads: Show an image, in dull colors, of a boring suburban neighborhood. A wall separates this side of the image from the other side, which is a vibrant and colorful picture of one of the selected locations. The wall is busted open, with the Samurai driving towards the vibrant side. The words “Bust through boredom” (Exhibit 20) are above the Samurai, and the slogan from 3b is on the bottom.

        The camera pans over a dull, grayscale landscape. The Suzuki Samurai busts through the image, revealing a vibrant landscape of one of the locations listed. The narrator says “Bust through boredom with the Suzuki Samurai.” The ad cuts to a black screen that shows the logo of the company and the slogan from 3b.



Weakness of Position


  • Specific vehicle types
    • The Suzuki Samurai has good 4×4 capabilities and is priced well below the average price point for sport utility vehicles. (p. 4, ¶ 4)
    • The Suzuki Samurai could be sold as a truck because the US is already receptive to Japanese-made trucks. (p. 4, ¶ 7)
    • The American market for subcompact cars is huge, meaning that the Suzuki Samurai could easily edge its way into the market. (p. 4, ¶ 9)
  • The design ideas may lead audiences to think that the Suzuki Samurai is meant only for off-roading, which may alienate certain customer bases.



List 1 – Locations for Ad Campaign

  1. Corn Maze[6] in Georgia
  2. Daytona Beach[7]
  3. Redwood Forest[8]
  4. Los Angeles
  5. Alligator-infested waters


[1] Jeep History, Allpar,

[2] Jeep Cherokee History, Allpar,

[3] Dodge Ram Advertisement,

[4] TV Statistics,

[5] Same source as above

[6] Corn Maze, Exploring Georgia,

[7] Daytona beach is flat and the sand is firm enough that cars can drive on the beach. It is often used for beach driving.

[8] The car should be shown under the roots of a Redwood tree, showing that the Samurai can fit in the space. Perhaps have a Jeep stuck in the roots behind it.