Fiat Chrysler Chief Marketing Officer Olivier François will get another shot at having a Super Bowl moment. The automaker, which sat out last year’s game after a 10-year streak, is returning this year with a 60-second ad for Jeep, it confirmed today.
François is known for using the game to run big-budgeted, celebrity-filled spots that often try to make a larger comment on American society, like 2011's award-winning "Imported From Detroit" effort starring Eminem, credited with burnishing the image of Chrysler and the Motor City. But François last year was denied the chance to make a splash on advertising’s biggest stage when the automaker opted to bypass an in-game buy in favor of a digital-only approach.
Fiat Chrysler declined to comment on when it decided to buy the ad time. But it appears to be a last-minute move that comes in the wake of Fox’s decision last week to add more commercial time to accomodate big-spending brands interested in snaring ad time in the game, which Fox had previously said was sold out.
The automaker declined to reveal the agency behind the ad or creative details. François is known for shifting work between multiple agencies. One shop that has gained favor with him lately is Highdive, a small Chicago-based agency.
The singular ad buy is down from FCA’s recent Super Bowl buys. The automaker ran five ads in the 2018 game, including one from Highdive for Ram called "Built to Serve" that made use of a Martin Luther King Jr. speech. It was approved by MLK’s estate, but still drew some backlash on social media with some people criticizing it for using the civil-rights icon’s words to sell trucks. François in an interview later that year defended the spot, saying, "It established the new tagline 'Built to Serve.' That is what we wanted."