Sheen, Pullman Reprise Presidential Roles in W+K’s Latest for Chrysler

By Erik Oster 

W+K Portland launched a new campaign for Chrysler, featuring Martin Sheen and Bill Pullman playing on their past presidential roles.

At the opening of “American-est,” Pullman drives his Chrysler 200 up to Sheen’s Chrsyler 300 and rolls down his window. (Pullman, of course, played Thomas Whitmore, the commander-in-chief in Independence Day, while Sheen played President Josiah Bartlet in The West Wing.) “Mr. President, I believe in America,” Sheen says, to agreement from Pullman. Sheen goes on to state that “The American people are American, you know” and deserve “the best all wheel drive system in its class. Pullman takes offense at Sheen’s over-the-top patriotism-stoking, saying, “You’re talking to me like I wasn’t president, we were both presidents, man,” adding that Sheen may have had a longer term but didn’t deal with the same issues Pullman did (namely, an alien invasion). The tongue-in-cheek approach plays both self-awareness and forced product references for humor, with the spot-on delivery from both actors holding everything together, along with the inherent charm of seeing the two presidential characters interact with each other. A second ad, “Swerve” continues the political humor by mocking the election process itself. The “Swerve” in question refers to candidates’ tendencies to veer back to the middle after pandering to “all the nuts on the political fringe.”

“We were with the Chrysler brand team—and they kept reciting to us all the great features of both the Chrysler 300 and 200. It almost sounded like a [political] campaign promise, and it really just took off from there,” Fiat Chrysler chief marketing officer Olivier Francois explained to AdFreak. “Once we landed on the idea of having presidents from television or movies, we had to find the right actors. Mr. Sheen and Mr. Pullman are perfect in their iconic roles. They both embodied that men-of-the-people, for-the-people spirit, something that spoke very much to the identity of the brand.”

Client: Chrysler
CMO, FCA Global: Olivier François
Head of Passenger Car Brands: Dodge, SRT, Chrysler and FIAT, FCA: North America: Tim Kuniskis
Director, NAFTA Brand Advertising: Marissa Hunter
Head of Advertising, Dodge Brand: Randy Ortiz
Head of Advertising, Chrysler Brand: Michael Kraft
Chrysler Brand Advertising Manager: Danielle DePerro
Agency: Wieden + Kennedy, Portland, Ore.
Creative Directors: Micah Walker, Justine Armour
Copywriter: Mike Egan / Nick Morrissey
Art Director: Meaghan Oikawa
Producer: Chris Capretto
Production Company: Gifted Youth
Director: Jake Szymanski
Executive Producer: Dal Wolf
Line Producer: Alana Mitnick
Director of Photography: Kramer Morgenthau
Editorial Company: Joint
Editor: Matthew Hilber / Tommy Harden
Post Producer: Jen Milano
Post Executive Producer: Leslie Carthy
VFX Company: Joint
VFX Supervisor: Alex Thiesen
Flame Artist: Katrina Salicrup
VFX Producer: Gail von Dedenroth
Titles/Graphics: W+K Studio
Mix Company: Joint
Mixer: Guy Baker / Noah Woodburn