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Brands, Not Cars, Key Contends Fiat/Chrysler Exec

Have we heard this song before?

by on Mar.15, 2012

Fiat global brand chief Olivier Francois during the launch of the new 500L.

The idea that a car sells the brand doesn’t apply in the expansive world of Olivier Francois, Chrysler/Fiat’s chief marketing officer.

It’s the brand and its message that ultimately sells the car, Francois told the Automotive Press Association in Detroit. A lot of companies use cars to sell the brand but Francois has deliberately reversed the equation.

“The brand had better stand for something,” explained the French-born executive, noting he uses the exact same formula in Europe where he is in charge of the Fiat and Lancia marques.

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Francois also stressed that timing is critical. Chrysler’s celebrated Eminem ad, which was shown during the Super Bowl in February,2011, would not have worked a year earlier because there wasn’t any solid evidence yet of a Chrysler comeback. A year later it would have been considered “old news,” he added.


Chrysler Scores Big With Social Media

“Halftime in America” has a second life online - and Jeep sets a Facebook record.

by on Mar.08, 2012

Clint Eastwood and the "Halftime in America" ad have proven a "viral" hit as part of Chrysler's social media strategy.

Whether it was the subject or the star, things fell unusually silent on the floor of the Geneva Motor Show, this week when Fiat presented the much-discussed “Halftime in America” commercial, featuring Hollywood legend Clint Eastwood.

The spot, produced by Fiat’s U.S. partner, Chrysler, helped open the Italian maker’s news conference – spotlighting not only the role of good advertising and the power of television – but also the way marketing has gone viral. Though it may match the audience of the Super Bowl, where the Halftime spot first aired, the commercial has now been see by over 20 million people online, noted Olivier Francois, who serves as both CEO of Fiat and Chrysler’s marketing chief.

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In its bid to rebuild after a 2009 bankruptcy, the Fiat/Chrysler partners are putting a heavy emphasis on social media, chalking up some big scores as more and more potential buyers “friend” their various brands and check out ads, like Halftime, online that they might otherwise miss.


Chrysler’s Clint Eastwood Commercial Caught Up in Political Storm

Made in Detroit? Er, Louisiana?

by on Feb.08, 2012

Eastwood may be a Republican strongly opposed to the auto bailout but that hasn't stopped critics from insisting the Chrysler ad was a paid commercial for the Obama Administration.

What would Dirty Harry do?  It might take a no-nonsense cop to sort through the political firestorm that has been generated by the much-watched and widely discussed 2-minute Chrysler commercial – starring actor Clint Eastwood — that aired during this past weekend’s Super Bowl.

Was it “not political” as Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne insists?  Or was it a less-than-subtle “thank you” to the Obama Administration for the maker’s 2009 bailout?  Meanwhile, the controversy was only escalated as it turns out much of the video used in the “Halftime in America” spot was filmed near New Orleans, despite the Chrysler tagline, “Made in Detroit.”

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The “Halftime” commercial was, on the whole, one of the most popular of the many ads to run during Super Bowl XLVI according to a variety of tracking sources, including Ace Metrix and the consumer panel put together by newspaper USA Today.  The unusually long spot – which followed the format of a commercial featuring rapper Eminem during the 2011 bowl game – took aim at the malaise and fears that seem to be overwhelming America today.  One might argue that the message could have come from either political party and almost hinted at the legendary “Morning in America” campaign used three decades ago by then presidential candidate Ronald Reagan.


Did Chrysler Pull Clint Eastwood Ad Over NFL Copyright Dispute?

Maker denying news reports – but blocks YouTube access to “Halftime in America.”

by on Feb.06, 2012

Is there a copyright problem with the Chrysler/Clint Eastwood ad?

(Editor’s Note: Check back for more as we update this breaking news story.)

An apparent copyright dispute with the NFL has forced Chrysler to block access to the Youtube version of its much-discussed “Halftime in America” commercial, starring Clint Eastwood.  The unusual 2-minute spot, which originally aired at the end of halftime during Super Bowl XLVI, focused on solving the nation’s current problems rather than offering the traditional automotive hard-sell.

Following a year after an earlier 2-minute spot that featured rapper Eminem and focused on Detroit’s comeback, the Eastwood commercial triggered massive discussions on social media and a flood of viewers who raced to replay the spot on sites such as YouTube.

But what caused Chrysler to pull the ad and state that, “This video is no longer available due to a copyright claim by NFL Properties LLC” is unclear.  Just before 10 AM Eastern Time, Chrysler issued a media alert advising that it had received reports the link to the commercial “did not work.  Our apologies!”  The media advisory included an updated link that allows a journalist to view or download the spot without trouble.  (Click Here.)

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A call to the maker’s press office in Auburn Hills, Michigan left the answer unresolved, with an administrative assistant claiming there was no problem with the ad but officials so far unable to explain why the ad was pulled from Chrysler’s own Youtube page.  Adding to the confusion, the cinematic commercial was uploaded by a number of individuals and so far, at least, Youtube, Chrysler and the NFL have made no effort to pull any of them down.