You may recall that the U.S. taxpayer owns a portion of Dodge parent Chrysler (10 percent). Currently Chrysler the care of one Olivier François, a Frenchman sent by Italian carmaker Fiat, which took on a larger chunk of the company last year. And François is going to teach these puritanical Americans a thing or two about being a sexy European-owned brand.
To give you a sense of his aesthetic, this is what Francois looks like:
He wants to make his cars into ones "people want to make out in," according to a promotional video. Of a piece with the distinct Pepe Le Pew/Serge Gainsbourg persona he seems to have crafted.
Incredibly, François was mocked by others in the car industry for having cheesy models pose next to his brands' cars at a recent auto show. "I am doing here what I know from [home]," he told BusinessWeek, which described him as bemused.
And that Dodge Charger ad? BusinessWeek's David Welch says the "slyly sexist" ad that ran during the Super Bowl was all part of a plan to generate buzz, and it worked because François "wanted buzz, and he got it." The evidence is MacKenzie Fegan's parody ad, about which she's interviewed.
Fair enough. But will it sell any cars? Ironically, the piece says Dodge president Ralph Gilles wants to attract more women — currently only a quarter of his car's buyers. This is the online-only ad he hopes will do it.
Can Sex And Saucy Ads Sell Chryslers? [BusinessWeek]
Earlier: The Critics On The Super Bowl Ads: Boring, Misogynistic
Woes Of Bros: Super Bowl Ads Star Pathetic Man — And The Women Who Ruined Them
(Image via Business Week)