Advertising Age Puts Chrysler Against the Wall for Aung San Suu Kyi Ad

Chrysler’s advertising campaign concerning the release of Aung San Suu Kyi, Burma's pro-democracy leader and 1991 Nobel Peace Prize Laureate, got some serious criticism from Advertising Age, an online ads magazine from the US.

The magazine got so patriotic that they accused Chrysler of wasting the taxpayers’ money by hiring an Italian agency instead of reinvesting in the US economy. Apparently, BBDO Detroit, Chrysler's advertising agency, might have to fire some members of the staff in January when its contract with Chrysler expires.

"The message is a disconnect to what matters to people here," Julie Roehm, a former Chrysler Group marketing chief told Advertising Age. "I don't think the vast majority of Americas know who this woman is or frankly care." She said this commercial "says they have no idea who their customer is in the U.S. or have a clue how to connect with them."

In an official letter to the editor of Advertising Age, Olivier Francois, President and Chief Executive Officer - Chrysler Brand, Chrysler Group LLC and Lancia Brand, Fiat Group Automobiles said:

“First, this film was created by Lancia’s Italian ad agency. For efficiencies, it was then re-worked 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 US, 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 they are presently developing new 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.”
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