Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Chrysler Group – The Magical Turnaround

Chrysler's our industry's witness to the power of great branding. Or in this case, re-branding. 

Recently, Ad Age named Chrysler Group “Marketer of the Year.” Olivier Francois re-branded the bankrupt Chrysler with two major advertising campaigns that have helped to turn around American opinion and increase sales by a whopping 37%. I'm sure you'll agree - that result is almost unbelievable. 

According to Automotive News figures, Chrysler’s market share went up from 8.9% to 11.5%; unit-sales growth jumped to 37% from -4% in 2009. Additionally, the brand loyalty rate doubled (which measures the second purchase of a Chrysler) moving from 15% in Q3 2009 to 30% in Q2 2012 (as reported by automotive researcher Polk).    

The incredible success began with Super Bowl commercials in 2011 (“Born on Fire” featuring Eminem) and 2012 (“Halftime in America”). Both ads conveyed a powerful theme of American pride and the rebirth of a new Chrysler. They were built on stories, rather than the product itself. “Born on Fire” uses a tough male narrator to tell the story of the Metro City where Chrysler is born and made. Copy like “it’s the hottest fire that makes the hardest steel” really resonates. While many of the images in the commercial are almost cold and heavy, later we see flashes of Detroit’s fields of excellence. It's a condensed history of Detroit showing undeniable strength rising through the pain. 

The story clearly spoke to American audiences and as a result, the dealership’s situation dramatically changed from struggling to “keep their head above water” to tripling sales of several models. According to Mr. Francois, Chrysler already “started a conversation. And conversation is paramount”. 

This is one Super Bowl spot I'm looking forward to seeing.