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Fiat Chrysler Partners With ‘Star Wars’ For New Ad Campaign

Luxury CarOliver Francois — the lauded “Don Draper” of Chrysler Motors — has done it again. In a partnership with Disney and Lucasfilm, the automaker began rolling out a series of “Star Wars”-themed YouTube commercials. According to Chrysler, the new ad series is the largest co-promotional partnership with a movie studio in recent history.

Of course, “recent history” are the operative words here.

Francois, Chrysler’s chief marketing operator, has pulled off a series of memorable automobile commercials that have elicited conversation and have ultimately resonated with viewers. Named a Grand Brand Genius for 2012 by Adweek and Marketer of the Year by Advertising Age, Francois is known for selling cars through a brand, rather than trying to simply create a brand through Chrysler’s cars.

His biggest marketing success is easily his 2011 Super Bowl commercial that teamed up with Eminem for the first two-minute Super Bowl commercial in history, with the infamous tagline: “Imported from Detroit.”

While nearly a third of people claim they would base a purchasing decision on what kind of impression they got from a vehicle, Francois challenges this, making the buyers’ decision making based on a feeling, an idea, or a means of excitement.

It doesn’t hurt that Fiat Chrysler’s new ad campaign is partnered with one of the most anticipated movies of the past 10 years. Premiering worldwide Dec. 18, the latest “Star Wars” installment is expected to break sales records.

And while other car companies will be breaking out the year-end sales advertisements, attempting to sell cars on the basis of their affordability, Francois and his team with Fiat Chrysler will be taking a more unique route with their advertising campaign.

“This is an incredible marketing opportunity,” said Marissa Hunter, director of FCA US brand advertising. “We think that we will have an advantage in terms of being able to break through because it will be very different.”

Considering the specificity of the “Star Wars” brand, it was a challenge for the automaker to piece together commercials for vehicles like Chrysler’s Jeep, Fiat, and Ram.

But by identifying with common themes, such as performance, endurance and speed, the team at Chrysler managed to go beyond just making it work.

“You are definitely not going to see any of our vehicles in that galaxy far, far away,” Hunter said. “But it was a very fun, creative assignment.”

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