Chrysler Rolls Out Multimedia Effort For Sebring

Chrysler Group yesterday unveiled an extensive multimedia campaign for its 2007 Sebring to support the first stem-to-stern redesign of the mid-sized car since 2001.

The new campaign reflects that the Sebring has one of the highest percentages of female buyers of any Chrysler vehicle--about 60 percent, the company says.

The media buy includes female-skewing shelter and lifestyle books like Better Homes and Gardens, networks like Oxygen, a promotion around People's "Sexiest Man Alive" issue, and an online "Culinary Road Trip Sweepstakes" in December with the magazine "Everyday With Rachael Ray."

A new 60-second TV spot, "Wind Tunnel," breaks tomorrow from BBDO, Troy, Mich. In it, an engineer watches from a control booth as the Sebring gets tested in a wind tunnel. When he leaves the room to get a cup of coffee, the stream of smoke slipping over the car comes to life and begins examining the car, while a voiceover explains the vehicle's benefits, such as the entertainment system, and heated and cooled cup holders.

The spot will air initially on prime-time shows such as ABC's "The Nine" and NBC's "Biggest Loser." The campaign also includes interactive media, promotions and branded entertainment.

The campaign also includes advertising aimed at Asian, Latino and African American consumers, created by GlobalHue, Chrysler's diversity-marketing agency.

In addition to two TV spots, and several print ads, the campaign includes search engine placement buys; Sebring-themed podcasting and games at Chrysler.com; direct-marketing via email; and online "roadblock" type efforts.

Later this month, for example, the Sebring will be the only product advertised on the home page of Amazon.com for a 24-hour period, which Chrysler hopes will garner 5 million impressions.

The effort also includes heavy emphasis on product placement on TV programs like "Movie Night" on Oxygen, "TBS Movie Extra Spotlight" on TBS, and "Character Road Trip" on the USA Network.

Susan Thomas, senior manager, Chrysler Global Brand Communications, said the effort reflects an effort to garner attention in as many different media as possible. "You have to play everywhere, and we are doing more in the digital area because it's a great way to get measurement," she said.

Thomas said Chrysler will also do regional marketing in the Northeast with radio DJs talking about the Sebring during New York and Boston auto shows, and via key promotions in the New York area. "When we get into diversity marketing--with the Asian market especially--we will have heavy media buys in L.A., San Francisco and on the East Coast," she said, adding that GlobalHue will create spots in Mandarin, Korean and Hindi.

The Web-based Chrysler cross-promotion with People, "Your sexiest men," asks consumers to go to www.people.com/yoursexyman and submit a headshot photo of their sexiest man. A photo mosaic of the headshots, in the shape of the Chrysler Sebring will appear in People's "Sexiest Man Alive" issue of Nov. 27. Chrysler will advertise the vehicle heavily in that issue, and online at People.com.

As part of its second-year sponsorship of Time magazine's "Person of the Year" issue, Chrysler will run Sebring ads in several issues of the book leading up to and including the Dec. 18 Person of the Year issue. Chrysler is also sponsoring a promotion in which consumers, beginning on Nov. 13, can submit a digital headshot of themselves to the Time Web site, and it may be chosen for display on the 45-foot electronic board in Times Square in December. Selected consumer photos will also appear inside the cover page of the Dec. 18 issue.

Chrysler Group has been weighed down by slack truck and SUV sales as it tries to re-ignite its car and small vehicle offerings.

Trucks and SUVs constitute 75 percent of Chrysler Group sales, according to Global Insight.--and have kept the DaimlerChrysler division in the black until this year, which saw the group's truck sales decline 11 percent through September.

Campaign spending for the Sebring effort was not divulged, but the company has said it plans to double in the second half the reported $527 million it spent in the first six months of 2006. Chrysler spent $1.6 billion in measured media in all of 2005, according to TNS. The Sebring campaign is the second of three major campaigns for the year. Chrysler launched a Jeep Compass campaign earlier this year and plans new ads for the new Dodge Nitro.

Sebring, in dealerships now for $18,995, is critical for Chrysler, which reported a $1.48 billion Q3 loss. It has had nothing fresh to lure buyers away from mass-volume cars like Toyota Corolla, Honda Civic or Ford Fusion. Sales of the 2006 models of Sebring and Dodge Stratus are down 47 percent through September.

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