GUEST COLUMNIST;INTERAD FOCUSES ON THE FUTURE

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Guiding the marketing professionals of tomorrow is paramount to the automotive industry, where product positioning is vital. As such, Chrysler Corp. is proud to be a co-sponsor of InterAd, the first international student advertising competition, created by the International Advertising Association and co-sponsored by our advertising agency, Bozell Worldwide.

Education has always been a top priority at Chrysler. The InterAd competition provides students with the opportunity to learn and experience first-hand how to successfully compete in the international marketplace. This year's case study focuses on the Jeep brand. Next to Coca-Cola, Levi's and McDonald's, Jeep is one of the most recognized brands worldwide.

To participate, undergraduates will form "student agencies" to solve "real-life" Jeep marketing problems. Their mission is twofold. First, develop strategic recommendations for enhancing Jeep's position internationally. And second, create a comprehensive program promoting the Jeep brand within a specific region, including Middle East/South Africa, Latin America, Asia Pacific and Europe.

The Jeep brand's worldwide recognition makes it a natural choice for the first InterAd case study. For Chrysler Corp., Jeep is the lead brand in international markets. About 50% of all Jeep Cherokee vehicles produced are sold overseas.

Global marketing presents an infinite set of challenges to corporations like Chrysler. Recognizing and incorporating cultural differences plays a key role in product planning. For instance, Chrysler engineers its vehicles for specific markets by adding right-hand-drive and other features appropriate to those markets.

Cultural differences coupled with international growth have led Chrysler to set up a series of regional headquarters in Europe, South America, Africa and Asia Pacific.

By supporting competitions like InterAd, we can provide the leaders of tomorrow with the practical educational experiences they will need to make sound global marketing decisions in the future.

Thomas C. Gale is executive VP-product design and international operations, Chrysler Corp.

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