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Marty’s Marketing Minutia

Survival, Schadenfreude and Sympathy for Chrysler.

by on May.08, 2009

Screen shots of television advertising campaign, "We're building a new car company."

Screen shots of the new television advertising campaign, "We're building a new car company."

Marketing Mavens Advice for Chrysler

The epicenter of the domestic automobile business these days resides in Courtroom 523 at the U.S. Bankruptcy Court, Southern District of New York at One Bowling Green, New York, where Judge Arthur J. Gonzales, a respected jurist, is ruling on the corporate future of Chrysler, LLC in bankruptcy case 09-500002.

Through the legal funnel, a maelstrom of claims, analysis, counter-claims, appeals and rulings, Chrysler will emerge in a new business model. But a significant, critical key issue will remain unresolved, unsettled and unknown: How to get customers into showrooms to even consider buying a new Jeep, Dodge or Chrysler.

The facts are well known. Chrysler’s corporate image and reputation and that of its three brand names is that of severely damaged goods — product quality has been poor, designs lackluster, there’s no financing available, factories have shut down, people laid off, dealers are being closed and there’s a host of other issues and problems that must be addressed and considered.

What to do?

This is the perfect storm, cliché aside. What can Chrysler do, what must it do to attract potential customers, prospective clients and prospective consumers into its showrooms?

That is exactly the question I presented to several of the best and brightest minds I know in marketing, advertising, promotion and public relations earlier this week.

Some of those queried are key creative, marketing and executives in major ad agencies with automotive and non-auto clients, others are CMO’s or ad directors of competitive companies, big time media mavens and even academic intellectuals were contacted. All were promised that they would remain anonymous, replies strictly confidential since enough auto-ad-types are on the beach already. So here are some of their thoughts:

Maven #1: Obama has given Chrysler the chance to re-invent itself. They should take advantage of it. A little confident truth couldn’t hurt. This is news that I would tell customers. Imagine these creative platforms:

  • Made in Detroit, backed by Washington
  • Obama is behind our company, so yon can get behind the wheel of our cars
  • We’re not going out of business, we’re re-inventing our business

On the big picture, Chrysler and Dodge should be retired. These are names associated with a loser third-string car company. Fiat and even Alfa Romeo are not much better. If I were running Chrysler, I would simply invent a new brand. A new car company for a new millennium. Call it Verde. (Italian for green). And not Verde Moors. Just Verde.    (more…)