DODGE DROPS SUPER BOWL 'LINGERIE BOWL' PLANS

Top Executive Cites Controversy as Reason for the Move

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DETROIT (AdAge.com) -- Two weeks after announcing it would sponsor the "Lingerie Bowl 2004" that airs at the same time as the Super Bowl halftime show, Chrysler Group has canceled that plan as a result of the controversy it generated.

The original promotion called for a group of lingerie-clad models to go through the motions of a seven-on-seven tackle football game as part of a pay-for-view program to air at the same time as the Super Bowl's halftime show. Dodge was to have signs around the Lingerie Bowl stadium, logos on apparel and a presence on lingeriebowl.com. The Dodge name was to be scripted onto a pink, lace-trimmed ribbon in the Lingerie Bowl logo.

The Super Bowl airs Feb. 1.

'Core demographic'
At that time, Dodge said the show "will attract the Dodge brand's core demographic."

Now, however, the company indicated it is concerned about negative public reaction to the idea.

"Dodge brand's sponsorship of the Lingerie Bowl has become a distraction," said George E. Murphy, senior vice president for global marketing at Dodge, Chrysler and Jeep. "The event was diverting media and consumer attention from current products, and from the great new products we are preparing to launch next year."

A spokesman said Mr. Murphy approved the deal presented to him by the marketing communications director on Dodge, Julie Roehm, who oversees advertising. (Her role expands Jan. 1 with the same title to Jeep and Chrysler brands.)

Shorts and sports bras
Neither CEO Dieter Zetsche nor Executive Vice President of Sales and Marketing Joe Eberhardt knew of Dodge's deal until after it was signed, the spokesman said. The initial plan for the models to wear underwear changed in recent weeks to shorts and sports bras.

Horizon Productions developed the show with In Demand, the content provider.

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