LAS VEGAS – CEO Sergio Marchionne is playing it close to the vest here when it comes to Chrysler’s advertising for Sunday’s Super Bowl broadcast.
Although other auto makers have been leaking their TV ads in advance on the Internet during the past week, Marchionne remains mum on details of the 2-minute commercial the company will air tomorrow.
Last year, Chrysler made a big splash with its long-form brand spot featuring rapper Eminem, the then-new Chrysler 200 and a message of a resilient Detroit. Since then, the video has topped 21 million views on YouTube, Marchionne tells the National Automobile Dealers Assn. convention here.
“I don’t want to tell you too much about the commercial we will air tomorrow, but I will tell you that it will once again be unconventional,” he says in a keynote address.
In meeting with reporters later, Marchionne declines to reveal specifically when the ad will appear during the broadcast or what Chrysler model will be featured, if any. But he says the game plan calls for making a splash once again.
“We do product advertising…and then there is an opportunity at the Super Bowl to do other things,” he says. “We look at it as a phenomenal way to access a large number of viewers and make an impression of who we are.
“We won’t repeat the advertising anywhere else. And it better make an impact, not be just a bunch of Chihuahuassinging a tune.”
Marchionne also reiterates plans here to retool its incentives program for dealers who meet consumer-satisfaction-index objectives.
CSI scores have been flat-lining for the company’s brands, he says. But that’s not the fault of the retailers.
“They’re not doing anything wrong. They’re complying with what we’ve asked them to do,” Marchionne says, declining to elaborate on what changes may be required. “(But) I need to see a shift. What we have in place is ineffective.”
Responding to a new NADA study on whether OEMs are pushing dealers too hard for expensive facility upgrades, the Chrysler CEO says, “We recognize the need for some flexibility. We have to go beyond a system where the manufacturer issues top-down edicts to the distribution system.”
But retailers will be required to meet the company half way.
“I’ve seen dealers on the other end of this,” he says. “There’s a happy medium somewhere. We need to converge.”