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8.12.09

Chrysler goes all Lancia with new TVC—the other Italian guy was more direct 

Remember the days when rested on the words of another Italian guy, Chairman Lee?



   Inspirational, and simple. Lido gave US audiences a direct appeal, even if it was hard to believe that the LeBaron GTS could take on BMWs and Mercedes-Benzes.
   Now it has gone all arty. Under Fiat control, it is adapting some commercials from the Italian company. Here’s one that’s being used by its Lancia brand:



Here’s the Americanized version:



Spot the difference.
   It’s a far cry from the straight-talk of Mr Iacocca. It’s a lot like that high-concept ad for Mr Plow (from, might I add, McMahon & Tate) on The Simpsons, when Lisa asks Homer, ‘Dad, was that our ad?’
   Homer replies, puzzled, ‘I … don’t … know!’
   Instead of a new and very good-looking Lancia Delta, we have a Chrysler 300 looking very dated in this commercial, even if I agree with the sentiment. I am not convinced it’ll hold Americans’ attention that this is a new Chrysler and a new beginning.
   I realize Chrysler needs to shift product now before new products arrive, and the quality, apparently, has been improved since the Daimler and Cerberus days. That message, which is pretty important to buyers, doesn’t come across that strongly.
   The aligning of Chrysler to Lancia is not a bad idea. Eight years ago, I wrote that Ford should reconceive Mercury as a sort of American Lancia, so it seems Fiat has a similar idea. It’s just that commercials need not be clones when American consumers have different tastes from European ones.
   I can see the meeting-room logic behind it, after having convinced itself that Chrysler is an American Lancia, and of the similar values, according to its brand boss, Olivier François (a French guy who likes Italians, bit like President Sarkozy). But does the spot resonate?
   I am not American, but I am having some trouble wrapping my head around it, unless the product were right. Imagine this as the first TVC for the redesigned 300, or a Chryslerfied Lancia Delta. It gives the right quality image with the European backdrops. It’s a cheeky way of saying the quality is the equal of the European brands’, regardless of how true that is.
   Still, does this mean that some day we will see the First Lady of France, Carla Bruni, sell Chryslers?



Problem: the only car that size that Chrysler has is the Dodge Caliber, which could never be sexed up without some reference to plastic, and I can’t see the First Lady getting in to PVC Emma Peel-style to flog some motors.
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Entries from 2006 to the end of 2009 were done on the Blogger service. As of January 1, 2010, this blog has shifted to a Wordpress installation, with the latest posts here.
   With Blogger ceasing to support FTP publishing on May 1, I have decided to turn these older pages in to an archive, so you will no longer be able to enter comments. However, you can comment on entries posted after January 1, 2010.


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