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Holden 'Let's go there' campaign tugs at heartstrings


Can Holden still play the patriotism card? That's the question being asked by some marketers in the lead up to the closure of the company's local factory in 2017.

Holden believes it can, and chose the Australia Day weekend to launch a new ad campaign that tugs at the heartstrings of Middle Australia.

It's a brave move, considering a similar campaign last year was panned on social media. And considering that just last week punters took the company to task on Facebook after it posted four videos explaining its decision not to retire the Commodore name when the car becomes an import. Interestingly, the new ads weren't posted on Facebook when the campaign launched.

Holden marketing boss Bill Mott is confident the campaign will "strike the right chord with Australia".

The days of the Southern Cross-tattooed bogan always buying local are gone

Patriotism has served the brand well in the past, but senior car industry marketers are divided about whether it still sells cars in 2015.

One market research expert, who declined to be named, says Holden's pool of "dyed in the wool" customers is drying up and at the same time it is finding it difficult to make conquest sales from other brands.

He says that while some buyers will pay lip service to buying Australian brands, it rarely translates into a purchase.

"The days of the Southern Cross-tattooed bogan always buying local are gone, I'm afraid," he says.

He says Holden and Ford have also been hurt by the traditional Bathurst-bred tribal rivalry.

I sense there is still a sentimental attachment to Holden

He calls it disadvocacy. While each brand has its passionate fans, it has an equally passionate army of detractors. Other brands simply don't have to deal with this type of negativity.

But another senior industry figure believes the Holden brand's unique Australianness is still a valid marketing message.

"I sense there is still a sentimental attachment to Holden and it still brings people in to the brand," he says.