NEW YORK: The Chrysler Group is joining with its former CEO, philanthropist Lee Iacocca, to help raise funds to support clinical trials for a new juvenile diabetes therapy.
All Chrysler, Dodge, and Jeep dealerships have pledged to donate $1 for every car sold. The Chrysler Group will then match that donation.
In August 2004, Iacocca pledged to raise $11 million to support researchers who found a way to cure diabetes in mice but lacked funding to conduct clinical trials in humans.
His foundation has already raised about $6 million and hopes to double that amount by the end of next year.
Working with Corinth Group Communications, the Iacocca Foundation has conducted a heavy media push, directing the public to the website JoinLeeNow.com.
Russell LaMontagne, president of Corinth Group, noted that the agency would build on those efforts to support the partnership with Chrysler.
"We want people to know that the campaign isn't over, and we want people to get excited about the relationship between Iacocca and Chrysler," he said.
Suraya DaSante, PR manager for Chrysler Group, noted that the campaign would have a particular emphasis on media outlets targeting African Americans and Hispanics, who have a higher incidence of diabetes.
The company is also promoting the effort through its owner-loyalty publications, as well as its dealerships.
LaMontagne noted that messages have focused on Iacocca's return to the public eye in order to support a cause about which he is passionate.
"We've had solid, consistent exposure," said LaMontagne.
Iacocca, who has had a rocky relationship with Chrysler, has appeared in five recent ads. He started his foundation in 1984 after losing his wife, Mary, to complications from the disease.