Pioneer Makes a ‘Drive’ for Happiness

SAN FRANCISCO Pioneer Electronics wants people to rediscover the joy of driving in a new campaign from independent Grant, Scott & Hurley here.

The “Drive happier” effort for Long Beach, Calif.-based Pioneer’s navigation systems breaks May 1 and comprises television, print, online and a new Web site, an agency representative said.

One of the 30-second TV spots shows an average commuter channeling his youth by cranking his stereo and stopping for junk food as if he were 16. He morphs back into a teen as he’s enjoying himself, but the end shot shows him as an adult, head banging to music and amusing other drivers.

“Every driver over the age of 25 remembers what it was like to drive when they first started driving,” said Grant Richards, co-creative director at GSH. “Most of them would like to recapture some of that joy but, instead, spend their time sitting in traffic. The message that you might actually enjoy even your daily commute was motivating, almost inspirational, to most drivers.”

This campaign focuses specifically on the in-dash navigation products, which have multimedia capabilities and cost about $2,000. The systems have iPod, Bluetooth and satellite radio compatibility.

The Web site allows prospective customers to examine the features of the navigation systems, and even see how they would look installed in their cars.

“We needed an ad campaign that would bring the driving experience to life,” said Karen Rubin, director of marketing and product planning for navigation products at Pioneer Electronics, in a statement. “‘Drive happier’ does exactly that, inviting the consumer to share this experience with Pioneer.”

Campaign spending was undisclosed. Pioneer Electronics spent slightly more than $10 million on advertising in 2005, according to Nielsen Monitor-Plus.

Pioneer Electronics has a leading share of the $85 million aftermarket fixed-automotive navigation market in the U.S. Competitors include Philips, Sony and Matsushita.