Chrysler's Denial Stage, Powered by BBDO

Who says that when under bankruptcy, you should not advertise your business? So what if it failed miserably and it required a foreign hand to step in and pull it from the abyss (apart from the billion hands given by the US government)?

Chrysler points the finger at consumers. According to the company, they need to be reassured that "it's business as usual": factory warranties will be honored, dealers have stockpiles of cars to sell, buyers will still get financing and so on. To do this, Chrysler has talked with its main advertising agency, BBDO Detroit.

"When companies go through something like this, they have to communicate more than they have in the recent past. We have a job to do, and BBDO is our advertising partner in that effort," Chrysler spokeswoman Jodi Tinson was quoted as saying by Autonews.

The backstage story? Believe it or not, BBDO is Chrysler's second largest unsecured creditor, being owed by the American manufacturer no less than $58.1 million. Still, it is yet unclear whether BBDO or its mother company, Omnicom, will be considered a "critical vendor" by the bankruptcy court, a fact which will allow them to collect a third of that money.

But, as Chrysler says, it's business as usual. The advertising agency will "continue to work closely with our client" and place ads for Chrysler in several newspapers in all 50 US states. The catch phrase: "We're building a new car company."

Chrysler's attitude reminds us of the Iraqi war. Back in 2003, Iraqi Information Minister Muhammed Saeed al-Sahaf (a.k.a. Baghdad Bob or Comical Ali) said there are no American troops in Baghdad. Yet, meters away from where he was holding the press conference, US tanks patrolled the streets...

Update on May 8: Watch the campaign videos
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About the author: Daniel Patrascu
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Daniel loves writing (or so he claims), and he uses this skill to offer readers a "behind the scenes" look at the automotive industry. He also enjoys talking about space exploration and robots, because in his view the only way forward for humanity is away from this planet, in metal bodies.
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