. The Transom .

Monday, July 31, 2006

Something is wrong when $225,000,000 can't convince me to buy a car

Advertising Age released a story about Chrysler and the complete failure of its new commercials with "Dr. Z," Chrysler's chairman, Dieter Zetsche. You would have to be hiding under a rock to miss these spots.

A lot of people will tell you that putting the head of a company in ads will bring some shred of credibility to the message. And in large part, that can be true. The only problem with Dr. Z was that 80% of people believed he was a fictional character and not the head of Chrysler. The response from consumer studies also showed that the message of employee pricing was lost because people were trying to understand his thick German accent and listen to the specifics behind the "German engineering."

And what was the price tag for these ads? $225,000,000

What did Chrysler get for this little chunk of change? How about a 17% drop in sales and 90% decline in profits. To be fair, auto industry sales are off 11% as a group, but that still puts Chrysler 6% behind the industry.

Here's a tip to auto makers and any other company with recurring needs to spend massive amounts of money on advertising: find another way because advertising alone isn't doing it for you.

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