The wheels come off Chrysler

Amid all the doom-and-gloom headlines about General Motors and Ford, Chrysler, in the words of this article in Slate, "had generally cruised along under...

Amid all the doom-and-gloom headlines about General Motors and Ford, Chrysler, in the words of this article in Slate, "had generally cruised along under the radar." But now the amiable Dr. Z is tugging his mustache in anguish having had to deliver the news that Chrysler was to post huge losses, and will slash production in the fall.

A segment yesterday morning on NPR discussed the role of Chrysler's most recent ad campaign in the light of the Detroit giant's woes, and rightly found it wanting. OK, Lee Iacocca, the ultimate Detroit CEO, was a hugely popular pitchman for Chrysler. But history doesn't automatically repeat itself, and CEO Dieter Zetsche's "Dr. Z" persona, has fallen flat. I agreed with the views of Barbara Lippert, the AdWeek critic interviewed, in that CEOs often make terrible pitchmen, and the ads were simply over-conceived and under-executed.

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