Not in the clamor of the crowded street, not in the shouts and plaudits of the throng, but in ourselves, are triumph and defeat.--Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
REDIRECT ALERT!(Scroll down past this mess if you're trying to read an archived post. Thanks. No, really, thanks.)
Due to my inability to control my temper and complacently accept continued silliness with not-quite-as-reliable-as-it-ought-to-be Blogger/Blogspot, your beloved Possumblog will now waddle across the Information Dirt Road and park its prehensile tail at http://possumblog.mu.nu.
This site will remain in place as a backup in case Munuvia gets hit by a bus or something, but I don't think they have as much trouble with this as some places do. ::cough::blogspot::cough::
So click here and adjust your links. I apologize for the inconvenience, but it's one of those things.
For the Pacifica launch, Mr. Eberhardt's [Joe Eberhardt, executive vice president for Chrysler global sales and marketing] predecessor, Jim Schroer, hired Arnell Group, New York, which created a launch campaign starring Celine Dion. Arnell and BBDO are both part of Omnicom Group.
But Mr. Eberhardt said the ads didn't stress product attributes. "People weren't clear what this was," he said, referring to the sedan/minivan/sport utility hybrid. "You have to let the market know."
BBDO created new ads that took the focus off Ms. Dion while continuing to use some of her music. Those ads play up features and position Pacifica as a family vehicle. Mr. Eberhardt would not comment on whether Chrysler will renew its contract with Arnell, which expires at yearend. [...]
Hey, I'm as big a rube as anybody, but I could have told those ritsy guys in Bloomfield Hills and Grosse Pointe that despite what they may think by her wondrous headline act in Vegas, Celine Dion is NOT the person you need to sell your vehicles.
[...] This month, Chrysler marketing boss Tom Marinelli said Chrysler will not use Dion's image and is re-evaluating the use of her music in future campaigns.
"Manufacturers try to aim at a particular audience, and you miss it sometimes," said John Hiebert, general manger at Jack Wolf Chrysler-Jeep in Belvidere, Ill., who also attended the Chicago dealer event.
"They were trying to class up the image of Chrysler, and it didn't have enough excitement," he said. "Dodge has performance. Jeep has a rugged personality. And maybe Chrysler had its nose a little too far up in the air." [...]
::sigh:: GUYS!! LISTEN CLOSELY--if you think you went too far UPMARKET, you're INSANE! The only thing that smacks of snobbery is your insistence on using someone you were WARNED BY YOUR CONSULTANT not to use!
Ms. Dion was supposed to give Chrysler a more upscale brand image. Chrysler saw it as a pitch-perfect partnership: Ms. Dion was coming off a two-year retirement with a new album, and Chrysler needed a big name for its "path to premium" positioning. The Pacifica crossover was to spearhead that drive.
Toast of Chrysler
Ms. Dion had been the toast of Chrysler. The 35-year-old singer of such ballads as "The Power of Love" performed at the Charity Preview black-tie gala at the Detroit auto show Jan. 10.
The songstress also starred in a series of lavish, expensive TV commercials. Chrysler's "Drive & Love" ad campaign debuted in January with huge fanfare. Dion appeared in ads for the 2004 Chrysler Pacifica sport wagon, the Crossfire coupe and the Town & Country minivan.
Chrysler also sponsored her Las Vegas show, "A New Day," which debuted March 25. And while Pacifica sales were sagging, Ms. Dion's new album, One Heart, was soaring. More than 2 million copies sold by the end of April.
What went wrong?
"Celine Dion personifies the Chrysler brand slogan," said Jim Schroer, Chrysler's former global sales and marketing chief, when the marketing agreement was announced in November 2002. "This is the kind of branded harmony you dream about."
I would suggest laying of the mescaline for awhile, then, Jim.
But sources say Mr. Schroer pushed the deal through --against the advice of his ad agency. BBDO's Detroit office, which handles Chrysler's national advertising, wanted no part of Dion, sources say. Chrysler's strategy was to move the brand upscale by attracting younger, more affluent consumers. But during testing, BBDO's focus groups told Chrysler that Ms. Dion appealed to consumers with an average age of 52.
Mr. Schroer asked for additional BBDO research to justify the ad campaign, a source says.
'Make it work'
"Schroer told [BBDO] to go out and test again," a source says. "He said, 'Make it work.' "
Chrysler now says the average age of a Pacifica buyer is 53.
Publicly, Bill Morden, BBDO Detroit's vice chairman and chief creative officer, warned that it would take at least a year to improve Chrysler's image in consumers' minds. [...]
Hey, you want to improve your image? Make good product.
Dealers sold only 4,828 Pacificas in the first three months on the market after projecting 60,000 sales in the first year. Mr. Schroer resigned May 30 and was replaced by Joe Eberhardt, a German native from DaimlerChrysler's U.K. operations.
The Pacifica's high price has taken most of the blame for the slow start, but the fuzzy advertising didn't help. The campaign received a torrent of criticism from dealers.
Still, Chrysler didn't back off.
Obviously, clue bats aren't an available option.
"We have big launches in the first quarter of , the new Chrysler 300, we have the new PT Convertible," said Mr. Marinelli in July. "So the opportunity is there in the fourth quarter to get back to brand building for a six- or eight-week period. And rest assured, Celine will play a key role in that."
But at a Nov. 7 press introduction for the 2005 Dodge Magnum and Chrysler 300 C, Mr. Marinelli had done a turnabout.
'Cars are the stars'
"We don't anticipate [using her]," he said. "Her image was appropriate to the launch of the direction of the brand. And we believe the cars are the stars. If anything, it will be mostly about her music. Where there are opportunities, we will use music that works." [...]
Hey, forget about getting Celine Dion to sing, get this Marinelli guy to do his tap-dance act!
[...] "It can be trouble when you link with such a big celebrity, you run the danger of the celebrity persona competing with and overshadowing your brand," says Melissa St. James, a professor of advertising and marketing at California State University. St. James has spent seven years studying celebrity endorsement decisions in marketing. Last year, she co-authored a study at George Washington University on the subject.
"Sometimes you can focus on the expertise of a celebrity with a product, but [Ms. Dion] doesn't have a connection in that sense," Ms. St. James said. "There is nothing to lead you to believe she knows anything about cars." [...]
Give that lady a cigar!
Ms. St. James questions whether Chrysler did any firsthand research on her popularity. "Did they look at her image?" she asks.
Chrysler maintains that Dion's appeal with the public tested positive. Mr. Marinelli said Nov. 7 that Dion "always tested well."
But Steven Levitt, president of Marketing Evaluations, a New York company with 40 years of experience rating celebrity endorsers for clients, says that among men and women ages 25 to 54, Ms. Dion's negative ratio has grown in the last five years.
Marketing Evaluations surveys the likability and familiarity of celebrity endorsers. In 2003, Ms. Dion's overall likability was nearly identical among men and women. Nearly the same number of people liked her as said they didn't like her.
"Our rule of thumb," Levitt said, "is that the positive-to-negative ratio be at least 2-to-1, hopefully more. Her numbers are not terrific." [...]
So, if you want to use a person's popularity to help make your product more popular, that person should start out being kinda popular to begin with?! Go figure!
"The perception of a product is in the launch phase," said Mr. Eberhardt in July. "I am not sure whether we did the best shot in that respect, whether we did go out there and say: 'This is what the product is, this is how much it costs, and this is the price it starts at.' We have to change to show-me mode, and we will."
Said John Hiebert, general manager at Jack Wolf Chrysler-Jeep: "They are going to talk about what you are getting in the vehicle that's new -- not just some lady singing."