Stellantis CMO Inducted Into Advertising Hall of Fame

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Much like the memorable campaigns he helps create for Stellantis, the automaker’s Global Chief Marketing Officer Olivier Francois took an unconventional approach to accepting one of advertising’s greatest honors. 

Francois, who was one of six industry icons recently inducted into the American Advertising Federation Advertising Hall of Fame, didn’t ask another C-Suite executive or agency leader to present the award to him. 

Instead,  the industry veteran chose Dr. Orville “Shaggy” Burrell, whom he met and befriended during a Fiat brand shoot in 2013. The two became close friends, attending each other’s weddings and collaborating together on various projects.

The “sizzle” reel showing off the body of work that prompted the induction featured the likes of Bono, Bruce Springsteen, Will Ferrell and Bill Murray — who have all appeared in Stellantis campaigns over the years. 



Francois says he came into the role at Stellantis 14 years ago with a completely untainted view of what he could and could’t do as the top marketer at an automaker. That innocence is what prompted him to push the so-called envelope, asking celebrities who have never appeared in marketing to star in campaigns for the automaker.

Highly acclaimed campaigns under François’ leadership include the Primetime Emmy Award-winning “Imported from Detroit” featuring Eminem; “Farmer,” with radio’s legendary Paul Harvey; Primetime Emmy Award-nominated “Halftime in America” with Clint Eastwood; Primetime Emmy Award-nominated “Groundhog Day” starring Bill Murray; and “The Middle” featuring Bruce Springsteen.

In its 70-plus years, only 282 advertising legends and 12 global companies have been elected to the Advertising Hall of Fame.

Other new honorees include Jerri DeVard, CEO and founder, Black Executive CMO Alliance (BECA); Bill Imada, co-founder, chairman and chief connectivity officer, IW Group; Donna Weinheim, former partner, Cliff Freeman & Partners and former executive creative director, BBDO; Jeff Goodby, co-chairman, Goodby, Silverstein & Partners; Marc Pritchard, chief brand officer, P&G (also presented the David Bell Award for Industry Service); and Kellyn Kenny, chief marketing and growth officer, AT&T (corporate honoree).

Francois was named MediaPost’s Automotive Marketer of the Year for 2017. 

Beyond marketing, Francois has extensive work experience in business operations, and sales through his leadership roles over the last three decades. He has held the CMO role since 2008, retaining this position over two decades and three mergers.  Although the company has evolved and re-formed three times -- from the Chrysler Group, to FCA to now Stellantis (in 2021), a group of 14 brands -- Francois' role as CMO has been a constant.

Francois has always sought to go beyond the status quo, with a remarkable talent for pairing the commercial with a genuine sensibility for socially responsible causes and environmental ethics. He has somehow reached remarkable sales figures and global brand recognition by enlisting distinguished world leaders, cultural icons from across the film, television and music industries, and world-renowned environmentalists. 

As Francois himself puts it, “The greatest brand value I can deliver is to show that our brands have values.”  

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