There’s an ad making the rounds in the Minneapolis that I thought was local, but when you read this message, you’ll realize it was national and you might have seen it as well. I’m setting this message up like this so I can get your feedback.

The TV spot opens with a guy talking about cars, but his face is hidden behind a newspaper (in another similar spot, his face is hidden by a computer screen). He’s talking about something great going on with Chrysler cars. He says the cars are good, but something’s missing. His pre-teen granddaughter, sitting at the same table says, “Like you always say, granpa, “If you can find a better car, buy it” Or something like that.

Then you see the guy’s face and he says something smarmy like, “That’s my girl.”

I figured it was some local car guy who retired and was brought back in to boost car sales.

In many cities, car dealership owners are quite famous. They put their names on their businesses and whenever someone buys a car, they put a metal plate on the back of the car saying the name of the dealership, so their customers spread their name. You can probably name 3 car dealers in your area. They rarely call themselves Westside Ford. It is usually John Smith Ford.

I couldn’t figure out who this guy was, so I asked my wife the next time the commercial came on. She knew right away: Lee Iacocca.

In case you don’t recognize that name, he was the chairman of Chrysler a zillion years ago and brought them back from bankruptcy. I even read his thrilling autobiography, which was a best seller.

Yet, I couldn’t pick him out of a line of local car guys in a million years.

So, have you seen this ad? Did you know who he was? What does this say about celebrity based advertising?

Turns about, Iacocca left Chrysler in 1992, about 13 years ago. Which would have made the girl about 6 months old a most and she couldn’t possibly have heard her grandfather make the statements, but that’s another story for another time. I guess that’s commercial license.

Dan Janal
Your Fearless PR LEADER