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Where’s Charlie? Has Fiat Cut Sheen?

Project for Fiat 124 Spider with controversial actor put in the “drawer.”

by on Nov.20, 2015

Charlie Sheen with actress/model Catrinel Menghia in the Fiat Abarth commercial.

Despite generating plenty of buzz with an earlier commercial for the Italian brand, Fiat has decided to put in the “drawer” a commercial it was putting together for the new Fiat 124 Spider that featured legendary Hollywood “bad boy” Charlie Sheen.

The move comes at a time when the controversial actor is back in the news, revealing he is HIV positive. That, in turn, has prompted some former partners to threaten to bring lawsuits against Sheen for allegedly failing to advise them of his health problems.

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A still-incomplete video featuring Sheen driving wildly in the new roadster was played for several dozen reporters during a sneak preview of the new Fiat 124 Spider at parent Fiat Chrysler’s headquarters in Auburn Hills, Michigan on November 3rd. But it was notably absent from the public unveiling of the 2-seater at the Los Angeles Auto Show this week, prompting speculation there may be a connection to Sheen’s latest troubles.


Anchorman Ron Burgundy Ads Drive 61% Surge in Dodge Durango Sales

Inept anchorman packs them into showrooms.

by on Nov.22, 2013

The latest in a series of ads for the Dodge Durango featuring Will Ferrell's "Ron Burgundy" anchorman.

There are plenty of folks who climb the wall when they watch Ron Burgundy, the character played by comic Will Ferrell.  But for the folks at Chrysler, the inept anchorman has become something of a hero – a big hero.

Originally brought to life in the 2004 film, “Anchorman,” Ferrell’s Burgundy is back, not only in the sequel, “Anchorman 2,” but in a series of ads for Chrysler’s Dodge brand. And while Burgundy may not be the best TV newsman, he’s wildly successful at packing customers into showrooms, it seems.

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Since the new round of Burgundy commercials began appearing several months ago, sales of the Durango have soared up 61 percent, said Olivier Francois, Chrysler’s chief marketing officer, during an interview at the Los Angeles Auto Show.


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.


Chrysler Going Hip-Hop with 8-Mile Edition Sedan

Second special edition to honor Motown.

by on Oct.15, 2012

Eminem's iconic movie 8 Mile will be honored with a special edition of the Chrysler 200 sedan.

Chrysler is taking its “Imported from Detroit” campaign a step further with two special edition sedans planned to celebrate the Motor City’s musical heritage.

The maker will release a special version of the 200 sedan – which received its big send-off during a 2011 Super Bowl commercial starring rapper Eminem – designed to honor the 10th anniversary of the release of the iconic hip-hop movie, “8 Mile.”

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A second special edition, this one based on the bigger Chrysler 300, will be tied to the release of the new Broadway show, “Motown: The Musical,” the maker’s global marketing chief Olivier Francois revealed during an interview with the Detroit News.

“We needed to give Detroit credit for what it really does stand for,” said the 51-year-old French-born executive who took over marketing operations for Chrysler as the U.S. maker became part of a Euro-American alliance with Fiat SpA.


“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.

Watching Out for You!

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.


Chrysler Working Up Another Super Bowl Blockbuster Ad

But this time, the cars may be the stars.

by on Oct.08, 2012

Chrysler's global marketing chief went out on a limb - or more accurately, out in a blizzard - to get rapper Eminem for a much-watched Super Bowl ad.

Few advertisers have created such a stir during the Super Bowl as Chrysler, which knocked it out of the park in 2011 with an unusual, 2-minute commercial featuring rapper Eminem, then came back with the controversial Clint Eastwood commercial during the 2012 Super Bowl.

Might the maker try to score again with a spot during next year’s big game, typically one of the most widely viewed TV events in the world?

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“Yes, we are leaning towards being there,” said Chrysler’s global marketing czar Olivier Francois. In a conversation with, he admitted that the challenge is coming up with another breakout idea. “Clearly, topping what we have done so far – no mystery – is not going to be easy.”


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!


Chrysler Back – Minus Dirty Harry – With New “Halftime in America Ads”

Despite GOP criticism, theme resonates with American consumers.

by on Mar.30, 2012

A shot from Chrysler's new "Second Half" ad campaign.

Perhaps the biggest touchdown during this year’s Super Bowl was scored by Chrysler, which topped the charts with the response to its 2-minute “Halftime in America” ad featuring Clint Eastwood.

The unusually long spot, which reportedly cost the maker more than $10 million generated tremendous interest among American consumers – though it also triggered some wild criticism from the GOP.   Now, minus “Dirty Harry,” the Halftime campaign is coming back.

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Chrysler is turning the original spot into a series of commercials for each of its four individual brands: Chrysler, Dodge, Ram and Jeep.  Only the Fiat brand will be left on the sidelines.  The move is similar to what the smallest of the Detroit makers did in 2011 when it followed up another 2-minute Super Bowl spot, dubbed “Made in Detroit” with a series of shorter ads minus rapper Eminem.


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.


Fiat 500 America: Not for America

Red, white and European.

by on Mar.08, 2012

America, America...? Fiat's starts-and-stripes edition will be limited to the European market.

Want to show your colors?  Fiat is waving the flag, but there’s just one catch: the red, white and blue Fiat 500 America edition won’t be sold in the U.S.

The Italian maker apparently wants to make the rest of the world, especially buyers in its home base of Europe, well aware that it’s returned to the States for the first time in two decades with the popular model folks on the Continent know as the Cinquecento.

News from Geneva!

To introduce the 500 America, the maker opened its Geneva Motor Show news conference with the widely watched, albeit controversial, Clint Eastwood ad that first aired during this year’s Super Bowl. Considering Europe’s worsening financial situation, the message of the 2-minute spot, dubbed “Halftime in America,” was clearly not lost on the crowd.