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Dr. Z Ads On Hiatus

Chrysler’s two-month, $100 million ad campaign starring charismatic and heavily accented chairman Dr. Dieter Zetsche has been put on hold while the company thinks of a way to bring it back successfully. The series of ads has been one of our most commented on posts related to advertising and has strong advocates and detractors alike.

We thought the concept was a good idea but the execution — and non-stop bombardment — had us feeling like the good doctor had given us an overdose of sly wit.

This is not a small failure. Chrysler thought the Dr. Z campaign — and its corresponding website — would be a smash leading into a fall that sees new products like the Dodge Nitro compact SUV, Chrysler Sebring sedan, all-new Jeep Wrangler and Wrangler unlimited and the Jeep Patriot. Instead, its lukewarm reception during the summer sale season has the company looking at new ways to make Zetsche more engaging. We’ll suggest simply showing off the products. Meanwhile, here’s a concept off the top of our heads: Dress up the Hemi-guy in a suit, give him a fake title — like “Chief Hemi Officer” — have him speak like a college grad, and then have him introduce the new vehicles as a deadpan pitchman. At least everyone can understand what he’s saying and it’ll have some resonance with viewers.

[Chrysler Suspends Dr. Z Ads; Return in Works, The Detroit News]