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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.

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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.

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