Chrysler Ready to 'Listen' on New Site

Automaker to Recruit Online Consumer Advisory Panel

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DETROIT (AdAge.com) -- Chrysler will begin recruiting U.S. residents in the next few weeks to participate in closed, online dialogues to gather insights for the automaker's marketing, product development, vehicle features and engineering.
Deborah Wahl Meyer: 'It's a different way to be close to our customers.'
Deborah Wahl Meyer: 'It's a different way to be close to our customers.' Credit: Carlos Osorio

Chrysler expects to have an advisory panel of some 2,000 people willing to participate online once or twice weekly, VP-Chief Marketing Officer Deborah Wahl Meyer told Advertising Age. "It's a different way to be close to our customers and our future customers" without doing physical focus groups, she said. "We call it on-demand customer collaboration."

Ms. Meyer said the project will have a broad reach but will also offer micro-targeting, because the company would be able to break down the consumer advisers by categories such as sex, vehicle brand or vehicle-type ownership.

New site launches in April
A new site, chryslerlistens.com, will go live the first week in April to reach prospective participants, who must be 18 or older and have valid driver's licenses. To get the word out about recruitment efforts, the marketer plans to break corporate ads next month from its general-market agency, BBDO, and its interactive shop, Organic. Meanwhile, the corporate site, chryslerllc.com, already has an area on the home page where interested consumers can apply.

Chrysler teamed with Passenger, Los Angeles, for the effort, which will last at least a year, said Justin Cooper, Passenger co-founder and chief innovation officer. The company, which lists Nike, ABC and ABC parent Walt Disney Co. as clients, will provide the software-servicing platform and consulting on how to best optimize the program. Passenger will screen the volunteers, Mr. Cooper said.

'Competitive advantage'
Chrysler is Passenger's first auto client, and this move can give the company a competitive advantage, he said. "People feel empowered by becoming brand-advisory members, and brand advocacy is the byproduct of this."

The automaker, which went private last year when Cerberus Capital Management bought a majority stake from Germany's Daimler, started using the "Listen" theme as part of a big regional TV blitz tagged "New Day." The campaign broke last month, covering Chrysler's corporate message as well as all three vehicle brands.
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