Chrysler takes patriotic road with popular Super Bowl ads
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The company said in its 2011 annual report that the improved brand equity generated by such campaigns as the Eminem commercial, which touted the comeback of Detroit while showing its American-made Chrysler 200 sedan, have helped boost demand for higher-profit vehicles.
While Chrysler may be controlled by an Italian company, Marchionne assured Detroit radio station WJR in a Monday interview that the automaker "is as American as it was when it was founded and it will stay that way forever.
"Those commercials, by the way, as much as I think they're important for the brands and for the positioning of the group are equally important for the re-grounding of our own people," added Marchionne, who was heavily involved in the development of the Eminem ad two years ago.
Chrysler did not immediately answer questions about how the ads were created.
TOUGH ACT TO FOLLOW
Super Bowl advertisers paid CBS Corp, which broadcast the Baltimore Ravens victory over the San Francisco 49ers, an average of $4 million for a 30-second spot.
Even with discounts, Chrysler spent more than $20 million for its two ads, Horizon Media analyst Brad Adgate estimated. That would be up from the $14.6 million and $12.4 million Kantar Media estimated the No. 3 U.S. automaker spent on Super Bowl ads in 2012 and 2011.
The focus on Jeep and Ram trucks during the NFL game was natural given that Chrysler's launch of its Dodge Dart small car has underperformed expectations, said IHS Automotive analyst Mike Wall. "You really want to push your strengths right now."
Last year, Eastwood intoned that Chrysler's turnaround could be used as an example for the United States as it struggled with high unemployment and slow economic growth.
"They had a very tough act to follow with Clint Eastwood," Horizon Media's Adgate said. "It puts in the minds of viewers that Chrysler's back ... that through all the financial difficulties that company has had, they're still here and making cars."