When Chrysler wanted to use an Eminem song in its 2011 Super Bowl ad, the company's Chief Marketing Officer Olivier François took it upon himself to convince the elusive rapper. In the end, the Chrysler not only ended up with the song, but François had persuaded the performer himself to appear in the spot.

In Chrysler's follow-up Super Bowl commercial earlier this year, Clint Eastwood made a rare pitch and a star-turn with the Halftime in America ad. Again, it was François who proved convincing enough to get Eastwood to sign on to the project.

It's just that kind of hands-on creative spark that has caused Adweek to award François with its 2012 Brand Genius Award.

Imported from Detroit came from a speech given by François at the Los Angeles Auto Show. "That started as kind of a joke, but then we thought it would be a very good marketing brief, not just a line," François told Adweek.

The magazine gives at least partial credit to François, as well, for Chrysler's sales climbing 30 straight months since he joined the company in 2009.

"We wanted to not only put Chrysler on the map – we wanted to remind everyone that this is a country like no other, a country that can be proud of building quality products," François said.