Survey says: Iacocca's still got it

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Lee Iacocca still knows how to sell. More than eight in 10 consumers who've seen his new Chrysler spots say he is a "believable" and "relevant" pitchman, according to an exclusive Advertising Age survey.

But Mr. Iacocca has an identity problem with young adults. While 79% of overall adults have heard of him, just 36% of 18-to-24-year-olds know who he is.

None of these young adults were born when Mr. Iacocca appeared in the first of his 61 Chrysler commercials in 1979, and none were driving when he retired as pitchman-and Chrysler chairman-in 1992.

Chrysler Group brought back Mr. Iacocca this month in a campaign from Omnicom Group's BBDO Worldwide. A stunning 88% of adults who knew of Mr. Iacocca and had seen the ads found him a believable pitchman, and 81% said he was a relevant choice for the ads, according to an online survey of 1,097 adults fielded last week for Ad Age's American Demographics by Synovate eNation.

In the survey, 59% of adults said they would consider Chrysler Group products if they were in the market today. However, in the ads, actor Jason Alexander reprises Mr. Iacocca's famed line: "If you can find a better car, buy it," and when asked if they could find a better car than Chrysler, Dodge or Jeep, 80% of consumers said yes.

There's good news for Mr. Iacocca: 81% of adults who were aware of him and had seen the ads guessed he was in his 60s or 70s. The younger consumers are, the younger they perceive him; 29% of adults age 25-34 think he's in his 50s or 60s. Mr. Iacocca will be 81 in October.

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