Chrysler Marketing Under Microscope After $1bn Loss in Q2

22 July 2003

Chrysler Group, the US unit of DaimlerChrysler, has put its advertising budget under immediate review, says new evp of sales, services and marketing Joe Eberhardt, appointed last month from the UK where he was local president/ceo.

And not just the budget is under the microscope. In the wake of the carmaker’s eyewatering Q2 loss of over $1 billion (€0.88bn; £0.626bn), “everything is under review in the current situation,” says Eberhardt – including Chrysler’s agency relationships and media mix.

Eberhardt revealed he is no fan of “personality associations”, citing consumers’ differing perceptions of such celebrities. Which could mean a back seat for singer Celine Dion who fronted the recent TV launch ads for Chrysler’s Pacifica model, whereas the follow-up campaign featured only her music.

According to Eberhardt, there is no evidence that Dion has either helped or hindered vehicle sales. And although Chrysler will honor the singer’s $14 million three-year contract, “I don't think we'll see too much of her personally in advertising now,” says the new evp.

Eberhardt doesn't expect to change Chrysler’s “overall agencies,” but the company is studying all relationships alongside its combination of traditional and non-traditional media and the effectiveness of each. There are no specific deadlines for these reviews.

Conceding that the ad budget is normally one of the first to go under the knife in such dire fiscal circumstances, Eberhardt warned that in the short-term, Chrysler ads “may shift out of brand-building-mode into more product advertising and sales-message-type advertising without hurting the longer-term brand-building messages”. He will also investigate whether incentives are more effective for a summer-long sales event than the current $100 million ad campaign.

Chrysler Group spent $1.17 billion in measured media last year, according to TNS Media Intelligence/CMR.

Data sourced from:; additional content by WARC staff