If you're a DaimlerChrysler
In a bid to boost sales of Dodge vehicles, Chrysler Group signed up months ago to be a main sponsor of the "Lingerie Bowl" pay-per-view halftime event at the upcoming Super Bowl. But that decision came under a lot of fire from people seeing the event as rather sexist. Even the National Dodge Dealer Advertising Association urged the company to pull out. The company did just that.
The sponsorship had some rationale behind it. Chrysler is eager to sell its new line of trucks and cars to men, many of whom would presumably watch a Lingerie Bowl. It wanted to have its Super Bowl advertising stand out from the rest.
But there's some head-scratching to go along with the rationale. For starters, Chrysler also wants to sell its cars, trucks and minivans to women -- and to families. When you create an association between your brand and a host of scantily-clad models playing tackle football, your appeal to the family-values crowd is probably diminished. An Automotive News article notes that, " In video clips on the event's Web site, the players suggest that 'clothes are going to be flying' during the game, and that 'the worry is losing our tops.'"
Perhaps most troubling about all this for shareholders -- and potential shareholders -- is the messy way that this brouhaha evolved. First the company decided to sponsor the event. Then it pulled out. It defended its stance early on and now appears to have changed its mind. And there has been a bit of finger pointing between members of management suggesting that at the very least, internal communication at the firm may leave a little to be desired.
We hope that Chrysler learned some lessons from all this, and that its competitors did, too. With any luck, we won't soon see Ford