Chrysler: Scaling back Dion was always the plan

We take issue with two recent articles in Adweek and Brandweek about Chrysler brand advertising featuring Céline Dion [June 30].

As the articles pointed out, Dion’s image and voice are less prevalent in the current TV spots for Chrysler products when compared with Chrysler/Céline ads from earlier in the year. The strategy behind the change was fully explained by two company spokespersons: Basically, it had always been our plan to start with a heavy Céline presence in order to link her persona to the Chrysler brand. Once that was accomplished, we would reduce the use of Céline’s voice and image, and concentrate instead on product features.

But the stories led readers to believe that: 1) Céline’s presence in the spots was reduced because vehicle sales and revenue at the Chrysler Group are down; or 2) Vehicle sales and revenue are down because of Céline. Both are wrong.

We are happy with our partnership with Céline Dion, and pleased with the results of that partnership. Our advertising and marketing strategies for the Chrysler brand were nailed down last year and are moving forward on schedule. There are reasons why our campaign is evolving, and they have nothing to do with innuendo and speculation and everything to do with a well-thought-out plan that is working.

Tom Marinelli
Vice president, Chrysler marketing
Auburn Hills, Mich.

Editor’s note: In recent interview, Marinelli’s boss, Joe Eberhardt, evp of global sales, marketing and service, said Chrysler will “accelerate” its original strategy to shift from showing Dion to using just her music, following dealer criticism of the campaign [Adweek, July 21]. He also said, “I don’t think we should use personality affiliations of any sort to sell product short term.”

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