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UPDATED: Chrysler Hires Italian Ad Agency to Create Non-Car Commercials

Chrysler, which was rescued from bankruptcy by American taxpayers in a $7 billion bailout, fired its U.S. ad agency (BBDO Detroit) and hired an Italian agency, Armando Testa to create a Lancia commercial, Ad Age reports.

lancia chrysler As if that were not annoying enough, the commercial seems designed to not sell cars -- the latest in a trend of ads from Detroit that don't feature the vehicles they so desperately need to sell.:

The 30-second commercial for the sleek Chrysler 300 sedan breaks today on national TV and is very similar to a Lancia commercial from a year ago calling for the release of Aung San Suu Kyi, Burma's pro-democracy leader and 1991 Nobel Peace Prize Laureate, who has been in and out of house arrest since 1989. Although the car is shown, it is not the focus of the commercial.
You can skip Ad Age's story and go straight to the comments section, where the outrage is piling up. People don't know what to be angry about first: The fact that 495 BBDO staffers in Detroit were fired in favor of a bunch of Italians?* The fact that (pathetically) few Americans know who Aung San Suu Kyi is? Or the fact that the spot doesn't highlight the car -- a cardinal sin in auto advertising -- which will infuriate Chrysler's dealership owners, the people who actually have to sell these things.

General Motors and Chrysler seem to be addicted to lousy ads that don't show consumers what their cars look like:

  • The Richards Group created an ad for Ram that mostly shows still photographs of people not driving a Ram.
  • Globalhue created new ads for Jeep that mostly shows clocks.
  • McCann Erickson created a General Motors ad featuring a GM exec who admitted he knows nothing about cars.
  • Deutsch created an ad for GM featuring mass public transport a one-legged man running.
It's almost as if they're trying to fail.

*Correction: This story was corrected from its original to reflect Chrysler's insistence that no tax bailout money was spent on the ad. Related:

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