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Thursday, February 11, 2010

Chrysler: From Bankruptcy to Super Bowl Ads

Less than a year after emerging from bankruptcy, Chrysler is surprisingly flexing some financial muscle. The auto manufacturer purchased a 60 second ad slot during the Super Bowl, the most expensive ad available for the biggest sporting event of the year.

It is uncertain precisely how much the ad cost Chrysler, who received a $7 billion bailout from the federal government last year. The 30 second slots, which are much more common during the Super Bowl, sold for about $3 million each.

The other two major U.S. auto manufacturers, Ford and General Motors, did not purchase Super Bowl ads this year. Like Chrysler, GM has recently gone through Chapter 11 bankruptcy and received more than $50 billion in government bailout funds. Both GM and Ford indicated that based on their limited resources this year, it didn't seem practical to spend so much money on a 30 or 60 second ad that would air once, when that money can go a lot farther in other marketing campaigns.

Most likely, Chrysler is trying to capitalize on an opportunity to tell a rather large viewing audience that they are back and ready to be a major player in the auto industry once again. However, it does seem surprising that the company has the money for such an expensive ad so soon after going through bankruptcy and accepting government bailout money. Perhaps this kind of spending is what got Chrysler into financial problems in the first place.

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