UPDATED: SEE BELOW
After months of near-silence during its painful restructuring process, Chrysler began crawling back toward the world of advertising. Its first efforts -- one of which was dedicated to Burmese dissident Aung San Suu Kyi -- were not especially well received. Then came a few new products (which were pretty good) and a few product-focused ads to accompany them (which were pretty but not good). And recently, the company fell victim to a very well-publicized F-bomb.
But the news for Chrysler hasn't been all bad. The company generated lots of buzz from its Dodge ad featuring a chimpanzee (subsequently, an invisible chimpanzee). Its Super Bowl ad starring Eminem and a Chrysler 200 also proved popular. And just between us, we dig the new Fast Five tie-in trailer, too.
That said, Chrysler now has the dubious distinction of running the worst ad of 2011 -- so far, anyway. During the first quarter of the year, while snack food conglomerates banged out winner after winner, Dodge's "Haiku For You" spot ranked at the bottom of the ratings heap. In fact, it's so bad, Dodge and Chrysler seem to have pulled it from YouTube -- if it was ever there to begin with. To see it, you'll have to watch it at Ace Metrix.
Frankly, we don't even remember seeing "Haiku For You" -- and for that, we're eternally thankful. If anyone can explain what the folks at Dodge were thinking/drinking/smoking when they dreamed up that pile, by all means, let us know.
UPDATE #1: A Chrysler representative contacted us this afternoon and told us that "Haiku For You" wasn't a Dodge commercial. That seemed weird to us: since "Haiku For You" received an Ace Metrix score, the clip clearly found its way to the airwaves somehow or other. A footnote at AdWeek said that the piece was a "program integration" -- which could've meant anything. We asked the automaker for some clarity.
Dianna C. Gutierrez, a manager for Media Relations at Chrysler Group, said that "It was part of an integration on Comedy Central. It was created by the network, which they have done in the past with various sponsors." In other words, the clip was created not by Dodge, but by Comedy Central, and according to Gutierrez, it ran in the overnight hours. In that sense, it's a lot like the bumps that run for Adult Swim on late night -- funny and quirky, aimed at a particular demographic.
Translation: "Haiku For You" isn't a "fake ad" created by fans or detractors. It is, in fact, a commercial. Even though Dodge didn't build the piece, the company sanctioned it, and it's clearly got the automaker's logo stamped at the end. That would explain how it received an Ace score (and viewing it explains why it scored so poorly with viewers). In Dodge's defense, however, it's not entirely fair to compare "Haiku For You" to ads drafted by the automaker itself.
No worries, though, Dodge: we're only in April now, and we expect to see far worse "legitimate" commercials from other automakers before the year is through.
UPDATE #2: Gutierrez followed up with another email, explaining that the network in question wasn't Comedy Central after all, but Cartoon Network. She blamed a lack of caffeine for the flub. We totally understand.