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Chrysler Drives Person Of Year

Nov 27, 2006  •  Post A Comment

Chrysler is returning as sponsor of the Person of the Year in Time magazine and on CNN, saying the multiplatform advertising package worked the first time around. “It seems to be a program that everyone here loves,” said Susan Thomson, Chrysler’s manager of global brand communications. “It’s a 360-degree program. It covers all media channels and then some.”

In addition to print ads in Time, Time Warner sibling CNN is linking Chrysler to the annual event with elements for television, the Internet and mobile devices. The package cost Chrysler about $5 million, people familiar with the deal said.

Last year, when the Man of the Year ad program was one of the first of its kind, CNN’s research on its effectiveness showed that viewers were deeply engaged with the Chrysler messages, said Greg D’Alba, chief operating officer of ad sales and marketing. The Chrysler package reflects advertisers’ increasing insistence that digital elements accompany their regular purchases of TV time. CNN is looking to put together more multimedia packages in 2007, Mr. D’Alba said.

“When we come to the table, they’re now expecting a television schedule period,” Mr. D’Alba said. “They’re expecting a media campaign and something that’s going to connect users on multiple platforms.”

About 80 percent of CNN’s revenues come from ad deals that integrate TV with other media, and the television products are still the big revenue producers in those packages, Mr. D’Alba said.

Video Has Potential

The potential for Web video to generate a bigger slice of the pie is reflected in the ad prices it commands, however. CNN gets more for ads linked to broadband video than for cable television time. Even at that higher rate, broadband video sales are growing at 60 percent year over year, Mr. D’Alba said.

“When was the last time you heard of a specific medium showing that kind of growth?” he said.

For Chrysler, last year’s Person of the Year sponsorship produced the desired effect on consumers, he said. “They had greater familiarity with Chrysler,” Mr. D’Alba said. “The research showed that Chrysler had a higher brand rating, [and viewers] had higher purchase intent for Chrysler cars after seeing the campaign,” Mr. D’Alba said.

When in-house research like that proves to be accurate, advertisers are likely to renew, as Chrysler did, Mr. D’Alba said.

While Fox News Channel has higher ratings than CNN, CNN tries to compensate with ad packages that include many different kinds of digital media.

“We keep talking about ratings, but the currency is quickly becoming reach because of multiplatform, multimedia deals,” Mr. D’Alba said.

CNN is the dominant venue for broadband video among news channels, with 67 million video streams on CNN.com during September. It also boasts the top news site on the Internet, with 30 million unique users per month, and lays claim to being the No. 1 mobile news provider, with 3 million unique viewers per month.

“We’re continuing to grow in the key areas where more media is being consumed, and that’s key to our advertisers,” he said.

Person of the Year also works for Chrysler because it fits in with its launch schedule for new auto models. The automaker is in the midst of introducing its new Sebring midsize car and recently rolled out its Aspen SUV.

“There’s a lot of media, so we can not only talk about Sebring but showcase other vehicles like the Aspen, the Pacifica and the 300,” Chrysler’s Ms. Thomson said. Chrysler bought six ad pages in Time’s Person of the Year issue and will sponsor CNN’s special on Dec. 16, with spots touting various models.