CEOs as brand ambassadors for cars?

There is a new celebrity who is advertising cars now — the CEO himself! Carmakers Chrysler and Ford find that their own heads endorse their products best. CNBC-TV18 shares the details with domain-b.

DaimlerChrysler has a doctor in the house, it's the 'Ask Dr Z' campaign, which kicked off in July, this year. It features DaimlerChrysler chairperson Dieter Zetsche. When Daimler Benz AG and Chrysler Corp merged in November 1998, the American company was quiet about its German alliance.

Subsequently Chrysler lost market share. After US sales fell 12 per cent between April and June from a year earlier, Chrysler decided to talk about German engineering sophistication. And who better than its very German chairperson?

Chairperson at Daimler Chrysler, Dieter Zetsche says, "I had some reluctance initially. But I saw some research that this approach would be effective in selling this unique product and value proposition. I obviously agreed and we've got a very important message we need to get out and in our usual Chrysler way, we're going to do it while having some fun.

American carmaker Ford had a tougher challenge. It needed someone who would counter $254 million losses it posted in its second quarter this year. So it got Bill Ford to talk about its discounts.

This is not the first time carmakers' CEOs have marketed a product. Last year Chrysler roped in ex-Chairman Lee Icocca in a $75-million campaign that also featured actor Jason Alexander and rapper Snoop Dogg. The effectiveness of recent marketing campaigns though is yet to be evaluated.