Letters, Jan. 1, 2010

Published on .

Chrysler did not 'hire' Italian shop

RE: "After Taking U.S. Bailout, Chrysler Hires Italian Agency" (AdAge.com, Dec. 4, 2009). Today we at Chrysler discovered that an act of social responsibility -- running a film letting Americans know that the freedom of a Nobel laureate is currently being denied in Burma -- was portrayed in Ad Age as a potential affront to taxpayers here. We'd like to set the record straight and have your readers draw their own conclusions.

First, this film was created by Lancia's Italian ad agency. For efficiencies, it was then reworked for Chrysler. This was also not Chrysler "hiring" the agency, and, in fact, neither the agency nor the leadership of Nobel, nor the other Nobel Prize winners in the film, charged us even a penny for it. The only costs were actually spent here in the U.S., to two companies to coordinate and manage the trafficking of this film.

Second, this was a one-time execution with the Italian agency, as we informed the reporter before she wrote the story.

In fact, we have hired Fallon of Minneapolis to be Chrysler brand's official ad agency, and it is developing commercials to start airing this year.

Hopefully we can enjoy the freedom of having your readers in a democratic society decide for themselves if they should be upset, or whether we instead exercised fiscal responsibility in producing this important film.

Olivier Francois
President-CEO, Chrysler Brand
Chrysler Group

Readers chime in on Book of Tens

RE: Bob Liodice's "Musts of Marketing for the Next 100 Years" (Ad Age, Dec. 14, 2009). Great thoughts, Bob. I am a huge advocate of marketing to individuals. With increases in technologies like Social CRM, database marketing, QR codes and social slimming, we have all the capabilities to become relevant in an individual's world. By understanding the social ecosystem around each individual, we can build a malleable brand that provides highly relevant content and processes that the consumer can mold into their own personal lifestyle, increasing trust, advocacy and passion.

With this passion, our customers will begin to proudly "wear" our brands as badges and utilize our brand essence to define a certain aspect of their own personality. Thanks for the great thoughts, Bob. We live in an exciting world.

Paul Miser
Kansas City, Mo.

RE: Bradley Johnson's, "Ten Signs the Worst Is Behind Us" (AdAge.com, Dec. 14, 2009). Maintaining a balanced perspective -- neither too pessimistic nor too optimistic -- seems appropriate, Bradley. Thank you for your nice compendium.

I offer one caution: Some of the changes through which we are sailing these days may have impacts that are largely unexpected. Can we truly expect ad and media spending to rebound by, say, 2012? The very definition of "media" has changed forever, and how people use these new and evolving tools cannot be fully plumbed.

We must all make sense of our worlds as we perceive them. The dynamism of the advertising realm makes us better equipped to manage game-changing circumstances than other industries. Bring it on!

Mike Lauber
Gnadenhutten, Ohio

Research overlooks human behavior

RE: "In Holiday Retail Sales, the Best Ad Doesn't Always Win" (AdAge.com, Dec. 15, 2009). For over 30 years I've heard people say advertising has no effect on them ... yet they buy certain brands at certain places and will give you a list of rational reasons why they did what they did (ever heard someone rationalize the purchase of a luxury product?).

Few people want to admit emotional vulnerability or the sway of our persuasive ways. It's human nature.

Patrick Scullin

It is interesting that professionals in our field believe that the audience's opinion about what influences them reflects reality. If consumers knew what influences them to buy we would have an easy time determining the best way to influence purchases. Unfortunately, the web of impacts from different media, past experience, and attention and retention processes, cannot be teased out that simply. Interaction effects among media cannot be broken out into pieces to determine which medium is more powerful. This is because exposure influences affect each other in a multivariate way. It is not all brain processing, and it is not all conscious awareness of effectiveness that makes a difference.

When we try to predict the trajectory of a projectile, we use multiple variables and interactions to make minimally accurate predictions. How can we expect that a simple question of conscious opinion can give us accurate predictions in the case of consumer behavior? We need to start doing some more serious behavioral engineering research to understand how advertising affects purchases in the marketplace.

Felipe Korzenny
Crawfordville, Fla.

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