A New Take on the ‘Registry’ – Crowdfunding Helps Millennials Buy a New Dodge Dart

Dodge Dart RegistryChrysler’s new campaign for the Dodge Dart is taking the ‘registry’ concept way beyond the wedding. Instead of the traditional engaged couple asking family and friends to purchase silverware and bedding, “The Dodge Dart Registry” is a new vehicle for millennials to raise funds to buy a new car.

Prospective Dodge Dart owners register on the site, customize the car, and set a goal for how much money they need to purchase it.  The site cleverly breaks the car up into individual parts, allowing donors to ‘sponsor’ the engine, steering wheel, etc. with their contribution.

The registry is tied into social media, with users having the option to connect their registry to Facebook or Twitter.  When users first enter the site, they have the option of either “creating” or “funding” a registry.  There’s also a ticker on the bottom of the site, which allows potential users to see who has recently started a registry or received funding.  Users can click on “Activity Feed” or “Browse Registries” to see how others are faring on the site.

Dodge Dart Registry - Parts FundedThe registry site is powered by crowd-funding platform RocketHub, which collects all the contributions.  Fundraising ends when each registrant has reached his/her funding goal, or the expiration date on their registry.  The registrant can then “opt out” with RocketHub and collect a check.  Whether the check is actually used to purchase the car, however, is up to each registrant.

The campaign is meant to help people find a way to purchase a car, said Jason Russ, head of Dodge brand advertising.  Comparing the campaign to more traditional new car ads, complete with red bow on top, he told AdAge that “What makes this different is that nobody has really taken a car and dissected it into different parts.”

So far, the registry only exists for the 2013 Dodge Dart.  The campaign, created by Wieden and Kennedy, also features a new commercial, “How to Change Buying Cars Forever.”  The spot explains the registry and suggests that with Dad, Grandma, and others funding specific parts of the car, it could soon be yours.

Will the concept work for the target audience of millennials?  And more importantly, will the cars actually get funded – even partially?  While there are currently over 400 registries created on the site, most have 0% funding.  Can the promotion become a “game-changer” for a car that has, according to brandchannel, underperformed in comparison to other recent Chrysler offerings?

  • I wonder how an older generation will feel about being asked to buy a car for a millennial in this manner? Won’t it just reinforce the feeling that this generation doesn’t want to work hard? It is a clever idea, but I wonder if it will only appeal to millennials and not the people who would have to actually “buy” the car for said millennial.

    • I have mixed feelings, too, @kamichat:disqus . A car seems to me the kind of thing people should have to save for, or go through the rite of passage of driving an old beat up used car before being able to afford a new one. Still – if it appeals to the millennials, and they can then convince (or ‘guilt’) their friends & family to go along with this, the campaign is successful.

      But if people are buying them a car instead of traditional wedding gifts, how is the young couple going to lay in the requisite supply of monogrammed linens and silverware???

      • If people want a car instead of the usual crap, who’s to say they shouldn’t ask for it? I wouldn’t mind giving money toward a car for a couple starting out. Though @dannybrown:disqus does raise a good point about the other costs that come.

        If this were for a wedding in lieu of stupid gifts that may or may not ever be used, then I wholeheartedly support this. If it’s really just for them to get a car w/o paying for it, then I wonder who’s gonna give them money for it.

        Though, in this case, registering would, to me, seem to mean wanting it.

        • And that’s exactly why people register – to get the things they need (and, yes, want). It’s not some stupid list – it’s a collection of things you’d otherwise never have but really need.

    • I was wondering the same thing myself – and perhaps that’s the reason why most of the registries so far have only 0-3% funding!

  • Building on @kamichat:disqus’s point, this seems kind of a misplaced campaign.

    1. Do the millennials want a car in the first place? Yes – but will they be happy with a Dodge Dart specifically? Even registering doesn’t mean wanting.

    2. Can they afford the insurance, gas and all the usual fun stuff afterward that having a newer car brings? Oh, maybe they can register for that too..!

    3. Wouldn’t money be better raised for a college degree, or new home, or equipment for a job, etc?

    And yes, it would encourage the opinion of this generation being entitled. And that’s an unfair charge for the whole generation.

    • you sound like you might be a parent, @dannybrown:disqus !! :-)
      1. if they don’t want the car, they’ll register for what they do want
      2. I wish I could register for my friends to pay my heating bill! and cable bill!! — hey, maybe you’re on to something…
      3. ummm … we are talking about people who are getting marrried — hopefully most of them have already graduated from college?

      Look – I’m gonna take you and @kamichat:disqus on here: setting aside our own judgmental “when we were young, we saved for our own cars! — kids, today!” feelings about this: isn’t this a cool way for Dodge to get young adults who are at the cusp of a life event that might put them in the car market to start talking about their product?

      • Apologies, I misread the piece. If this is for folks getting married, then this approach seems dumber – give them money to start a new life as opposed to buying a car that they may or may not be able to afford when it comes to the financial upkeep.

        By all means, it’s great to talk about the product – but what happens if it negatively swings back because now there are family arguments about putting a car above a roof over your head or savings into the bank for a rainy day, etc?

        I’m old, so I’m not the audience – this just seems to be a buzz push overstepping financial reality.

        • Look – the people marketers like to call millennials are starting to hit their 30’s. They can’t afford gas? And what if they’ve been living on their own for a while, and don’t really need all the pots, pans and wine glasses you traditionally get at a wedding?

          Then again, you may have a point: what happens when it creates negative buzz against the brand because people start arguing in blog comments????? :-)

          • Student debt carries way into the thirties. If you want to be a doctor, think longer (or similar careers with long education slants). I’m not hitting on the buzz effect, great idea – I just wonder on the reality.

        • But why is this any worse than registering for silverware or linens or anything else? If they want to get a car instead of other stuff for their wedding, who are we to say they should save their money or buy a house instead?

          • The world is in a financial crapper because of irresponsible budgeting. Who are we to promote fiscal responsibility indeed. ;-)

          • Come on, this is for their wedding. This is NO different than a traditional wedding registry, except far more useful than most of that stuff.

          • One car versus money and essentials. If people want to blow that on a car, cool, that’s their decision. Knowing the help my wife and I got at our wedding because of what we really needed versus what would be a want item, that’s more useful to us than a car.

          • I am pro fiscal responsibility. For some people, though, a car is an essential, not a nice-to-have. You keep your blender — if I ever get married again, I might take the new car. Now if I could only convince Mercedes to run a scheme like this on their latest sports car … :-)

          • In most parts of the United States, a car is not simply something nice to have, but is utterly essential in order to be able to get to work and do basically anything. When I lived outside of Phoenix, I would not have been able to get to my job nor do my job if I hadn’t had a car. And if it was in the shop? Screwed.

          • You’ll find that in many countries – however, the level of essential dictates where it fits in the grand scheme of things. A cheaper, old banger and other essentials versus a brand new car with higher costs and no other essentials would be an easy choice for this curmudgeon to make.

          • Christopher Carson

            @dannybrown:disqus You are apparently making moral and economic decisions for people whose experience you assume to be your own but about whom you know nothing.

          • no, Chris Carson, he’s just being a curmudgeon and a grumpy old man. You wouldn’t understand. ;-)

            Danny Brown – I completely agree with your points about fiscal responsibility, and I personally prefer a car that has dings and dents built in, vs. being responsible for the first dent it receives under my watch. That said, everyone’s got to make their own choices about what’s essential or easy for them. Thanks for stirring the pot & getting people thinking about those choices!

          • No, I’m sharing an opinion based on a reported article. The assumption here is from you.

          • Christopher Carson

            Right on.

  • The grumpiness of the commenters here may betray their ages a bit, lol (though, ironically, I may be the oldest person here). I found this marketing scheme rather refreshing.

    • Shut up, you young troublemaker!!! ;-)

      Completely agree, the idea is cool – the reality may be less so. But, like you (rightly) say, I’m old and grumpy. :)

      • @marissamcnaughton:disqus I think we need to find some more younger readers! :-)

        • Ha! Here’s my take (am I still considered young-ish?) – as a true registry for a couple actually getting married, I think it’s a pretty brilliant concept. Cars are essential for many, and might serve them better than placemats, serving trays, and fine silver. However, the actual commercial is more geared towards millennials (regardless of potential marital status), and claims that “Dad” will sponsor the steering wheel, “Grandma” will sponsor the wheels, and so on. Again, the idea is innovative and cool, but the reality (hey, someone else buy me a car!) isn’t exactly inspiring. Here’s my question: in the end, is it the willingness (or lack thereof) of potential sponsors that will determine the effectiveness of the campaign…or will Dodge see the campaign as working based on how many potential car owners fill out a registry (and desire to own it.)

          • Great question, Marissa – what’s the success metric, the uptake of registrants and sponsors; the buzz about Dodge; or actual sales from fulfilled registries? I guess we’ll soon see. :)

  • Christopher Carson

    This campaign rocks. Many of the commenters here seem to be saying that it presages the Decline and Fall of Civilization and the Final Yanking Off of Our Already Shriveled & Vestigial Work Ethic. To those people I’d like to make five points.

    First, what’s wrong with getting a new car with other people’s money? Is there some unwritten sumptuary law that says only young people from sufficient wealth and privilege can have cars that they did not themselves pay for?

    Second, I’d rather help crowdfund a car than, say, a film. Crowdfunding a film means that you’re pretty much obligated to go to the premiere and sit through it and say something about it at the party afterwards. Crowdfunding a car entails no such extra responsibility. It’s a car. It’s useful. You gave your nephew $500 to buy it. He drives it around. You’re done.

    Third, the campaign speaks to a generation that is less romantic, more practical, and that (I’m pretty sure) will be more successful than mine. You can get your friends to buy you a car? Good for you.

    Fourth, anyone who thinks cars are an extravagance rather than a necessity, I’d prescribe two hours penance hanging out at a bus stop in Las Vegas. Or Houston. Or East Hampton. Or anywhere else where people exist that are not like you.

    Fifth, even though it’s a “social” campaign presumably conceived by social media gurus, it actually rocks. The inherent content (the car) and inherent virulence (buy me the car) works naturally. Don’t attack it because it shows you up.

  • that’s good one