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Chrysler Takes Alternative Approach to Build Sales

Partnership with Carhartt behind new 200 S Special Edition.

by on Mar.22, 2013

The new Chrysler 200 S Special Edition was developed in cooperation with Carhartt.

It may be the smallest of the big three automakers but Chrysler has some big ideas to extend its reach – and its borrowed some of its ideas from marketing powerhouses as diverse as Nike and Starbucks.  Credit limited production runs, coupled with targeted partnerships and clever ads with helping Chrysler deliver 34 consecutive months of sales gains on a relatively small budget.

Speaking at a meeting of the Automotive Press Association, Chrysler brand President Saad Chehab outlined Chrysler’s maverick approach to automotive marketing. He also confirmed the next generation Chrysler 200, which is based on technology from Chrysler’s Italian partner Fiat, will debut at next year’s North American International Auto Show.

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The automaker could use some new product because it has been struggling to build sales without the support from new models. However, Chrysler has succeeded in offering unique versions of the 300, 200 and Town and Country. For example, a version of the Chrysler 200 designed specifically for the California market helped the brand boost its sales in the normal domestic-averse market by 200%.


Chrysler Hopes to 3-Peat With New Super Bowl Ad

Downplaying expectations after two touchdown passes.

by on Jan.17, 2013

Eminem rapped poetic during Chrysler's first Super Bowl breakthrough.

When it comes to the Super Bowl, it sometimes seems like the battle between advertisers can be as fierce as the fight on the field. But Chrysler has been a real standout the last two years, first with an unconventional, two-minute spot featuring rapper Eminem, then last year returning with Clint Eastwood.

With the game a matter of weeks away, Chrysler is hoping to three-peat with a commercial still being pulled together. But one thing is certain, with Super Bowl airtime more expensive than ever, the automaker will look to find ways to leverage its message by making use of social media opportunities.

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Olivier Francois, Chrysler’s chief marketing officer and the man behind the company’s stand at the last two Super Bowls, said thenext Super Bowl ad is still in the works. It’s been shot but it hasn’t taken final form yet, he noted during an interview this week at the North American International Auto Show.


“Heaven and Earth” Move in New Ram 1500 Campaign

Truck maker putting increased emphasis on Latino buyers with new Ram 1500.

by on Oct.08, 2012

A scene from the new Ram 1500 ad campaign.

Chrysler’s Ram truck brand hopes to pry free normally loyal Ford and Chevrolet pickup buyers with a cinematic new ad campaign marking the launch of the newly updated Ram 1500 truck. Perhaps appropriately, the spots have been dubbed “Heaven and Earth,” suggesting the lengths Ram will go to in a bid to win over new buyers.

The campaign, which features the gravelly voice of Western actor Sam Elliott, will make its debut this coming weekend and marks the continuing ramp-up in spending by Chrysler’s truck brand – which was spun off from Dodge three years ago.

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The multimedia campaign will also spotlight the rapidly expanding Hispanic community which accounts for a disproportionate share of pickup purchases in the U.S. market, officials noted. The campaign will feature singer Juanes, a 17-time Latin Grammy winner.

“With this truck launch we literally swing for the fences,” said Fred Diaz, the head of the Ram division as well as president of Chrysler’s Mexican operations.


Marty’s Marketing Minutia Special: Chrysler Sends in the Second Team

They make you feel good, but do Chrysler's Second Half commercials get you to buy a car?

by on Apr.02, 2012

A scene from the new Chrysler "Second Half" ad "Tommy and the Ram.".

Way back then, when Don Draper and his pals (and a few of us who were there in those halcyon days) were pitching a piece of new business from a major corporate client the conundrum was, “Should we pitch with product or institutional creative?”  More times than not, institutional – the warm and fuzzy, feel good, selling the big picture, aren’t we magnificent, munificent and magnanimous outlook — won hands down.

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It made the prospective client nod their heads in approbation because the company looked terrific which reflected positively on our not-so-noble, okay crass, intentions no matter how insincere our sincere ads were.  And, yes, it won some business too.

And that is what advertising is supposed to do – sell things!


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 and Eminem Score Big in Cannes

Super Bowl commercial nabs five major awards at international ad fest.

by on Jun.27, 2011

Chrysler's Eminem ad takes five awards at Cannes.

Chrysler’s widely watched “Born of Fire” Super Bowl commercial was one of the big winners at the Cannes Lions 58th International Festival of Creativity held in Cannes, France, nabbing five separate awards over the weekend.

The unusual two-minute spot, which featured Detroit-based rapper Eminem, took Four Gold Lions awarded to the brand for Best Direction, Best Script, Best Use of Music, Best Automotive Commercial and Best Editing.  The spot also took a Bronze Lion for Best Editing.

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The spot was something of a coming-out for the long-troubled automaker, which had largely reined in its marketing efforts in the wake of its 2009 bankruptcy.  While most advertisers chose to go for 30 second spots on the Super Bowl, arguably the year’s most-watched television event, Chrysler spent an estimated $9 million to $10 million to produce and air a 2-minute commercial that market the debut of its new 200 sedan.

The ad, which featured Eminem’s “Lose Yourself,” presented a visual image of a gritty Detroit struggling to re-emerge from years of decline – a metaphor for the Chrysler brand itself.  The tagline, “Imported from Detroit,” has now been adopted for the broader Chrysler line, and the maker has even introduced a line-up of T-shirts and other goods bearing the slogan.

The commercial generated tremendous debate in the days and weeks after the Super Bowl and has since been watched on media websites like YouTube by tens of millions more viewers.

“The Chrysler Brand is humbled to be awarded with such a prestigious honor at the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity,” said Olivier Francois, President and CEO of Chrysler Brand and Lead Executive for Marketing, Chrysler Group LLC.

As reported, earlier this year, Chrysler officials met with Eminem – real name Marshall Mathers – to discuss a possible reprise to his role in the 2-minute ad.  But Francois cautioned that the maker would not run a second spot simply for celebrity value, preferring to focus on brand attributes and products.  So far, no match for Chrysler and Eminem has been found.

But various elements of the long commercial – along with video not used in the original – have been edited together into additional spots and promotional material for the Chrysler brand.

Chrysler 200 Name Will Have a Short Shelf-Life

Replacement model likely to get all-new nameplate.

by on Jun.24, 2011

The Chrysler 200 nameplate may not be around long.

The Chrysler 200 may have gotten an inspired start with an advertising campaign featuring rapper Eminem, but apparently the new nameplate is going to have a very short shelf life, has learned.

Chrysler executives recently picked some new names for the next-generation models that will roll out of the company’s assembly plant in Sterling Heights, Michigan, where the 200 sedan and convertible are currently assembled.

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The designs for the new C/D-sized cars, (compact in lay terms), which will be based on architecture from Fiat, have been frozen for some time and the names were finalized within the past week, suggesting Chrysler is completing plans for launching the new vehicles in roughly the next nine months or so.


Marty’s Marketing Minutia – Imported from Detroit

Chrysler’s Clothing, Consumer Advertising and Celebrity Endorsements

by on Mar.18, 2011

Chrysler's revised logo - the merchandise program helps fund a variety of charities.

Sartorial Salute from IFD

Don’t recognize the IFD brand name? It’s the new Chrysler label, Imported from Detroit, a line of inexpensive sportswear that is based on the now-famous Chrysler Super Bowl commercial’s tag line.

There are eight different items listed at the special web site for men, women and kids, primarily t-shirts, hoodies and caps ranging in price from $29 for the T’s to $55 for the ubiquitous hoodies in three colors – white, gray and black – but available in sizes from S to 2XXL.  Click here for the video.

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To order Click Here and follow the links. The garments look good, as does the new logo and please consider the following constructive comments from an ex-fashion marketer.  I must assume the fabric – 50% polyester, 25% rayon and 25% cotton — is of good quality, nice and soft, can be machine washed and is color fast but this was not detailed. And I was very surprised not to find a large ‘Made in USA’ on the landing page and commented on it to a Chrysler public relations exec when we chatted on the phone. It’s “Made in USA” spec is detailed on the style pages, but just part of the description. Given the “Imported from Detroit” tagline, this is important, very important!


Will Eminem Make Return Appearance for Chrysler?

Chrysler brand boss scheduled to meet with rapper.

by on Feb.10, 2011

Will Eminem return as Chrysler spokesman?

It was one of the highest-rated – and talked-about – commercials on the Super Bowl.  But will there be a reprise of the cinematic Chrysler spot, dubbed “Born of Fire,” that featured rapper Eminem?

That’s been a frequent topic of conversation almost from the moment the unusual 2:00 minute commercial aired during the second half of last Sunday’s game.  The emotion-tinged effort featured the rapper, born Marshall Mathers, driving through a city that has, as the narration explains, “been to hell and back,” before he joins a gospel choir to deliver an 11-word message that essential says Chrysler is back.

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Chrysler brand boss Olivier Francois is meeting with Eminem today as a follow-up to the spot, the executive revealed to, during an exclusive discussion at the 2011 Chicago Auto Show.  While he didn’t deny that the idea of a follow-up might be raised, he cautioned, “It has to be relevant.”

“I will never engage with a celebrity just to have him a commercial,” that doesn’t have the significance, relevance and impact of the “Born of Fire” spot, which ended with a stern Eminem facing the camera and declaring, “This is the Motor City. And this is what we do.”


Marty’s Marketing Minutia – Super Bowl Redux

Super Bowl auto ads not super with panels.

by on Feb.08, 2011

VW's Darth Vader spot - one of the few automotive ads to resonate with viewers during the Super Bowl.

It doesn’t matter which reviewer, panel or research group has measured, evaluated or analyzed the 60 commercials in Super Bowl XLV, with rare exception, the game’s automotive ads did not resonate with consumers.

(Or did they? Click Here to check this take on Chrysler’s spot with rapper Eminem that has everyone talking – and linking to YouTube.)

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In the USA Today ranking, the go-to-list for many, the only auto ad in the Top 10 was the Volkswagen’s “The Force” (Darth Vader) ad at #3 was the most effective automotive ad (10% more effective than the average Super Bowl ad) in a Super Bowl dominated by auto manufacturers based on data supplied to me by Ace Metrix.

“The Super Bowl became the Auto Bowl this year with 19 automotive ads versus 8 a year ago,” said Peter Daboll, CEO of Ace Metrix and author of “How to Make a Winning Super Bowl Ad.” “VW’s ‘The Force’ was a hit across all demographic groups, harnessing the right mix of likeability, watchability and cute.”