Adweek recently held its Brand Genius awards dinner at the Edison Ballroom in New York. At the event, the "10 most memorable and innovative branding efforts" were celebrated, as well as the minds behind them. Taking top honors was Chrysler Chief Marketing Officer, Olivier François, regarded by Adweek as the "branding engine" for the American automaker.

François is the brain behind the "Imported from Detroit" marketing campaign, as well as the "Halftime in America," ad featuring Clint Eastwood. According to Adweek, François and his creations have been integral in Chrysler's resurgence in the market.

Others awarded at this gala included Tim Palen of Lionsgate for his work in promoting The Hunger Games, Lisa Mann of Mondelez International for the centennial celebration for Oreo cookies, and Leslie Berland, who spearheaded the social media initiative for American Express. Yet, it was the Chrysler marketing chief that took top honors, and we look forward to the American automaker's ads in the year to come.


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  • 25 Comments
      dukeisduke
      • 2 Years Ago
      Olivier "I'm a genius just ask me" Francois? He snowed them with his BS.
      Peter Foglia
      • 2 Years Ago
      Frankly, I've give Oliver an award for just getting rid of J-Lo in the Fiat ads.
      David
      • 2 Years Ago
      On peut imaginer qu'il voudrait utiliser Jerry Lewis prochainement. ;-)
      Rich
      • 2 Years Ago
      New Coke is coming out...
      protovici
      • 2 Years Ago
      I just cant get over that almost fake looking hair? Or is it real??
      Drakkon
      • 2 Years Ago
      And then the doctor went like this and told me to turn my head and cough.
      Tiberius1701
      • 2 Years Ago
      http://www.autoextremist.com/ Pete hits the nail on the head..
        Tiberius1701
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Tiberius1701
        Whoops... see here instead.. http://www.autoextremist.com/on-the-table1/
      rollie
      • 2 Years Ago
      Nothing Chrysler makes survives the upstate New York roadsalt very long. Look at any truck or car that is five years old or more and count the holes in the body. Yea, other makes rust as well, but not nearly so fast and with such severity.
        omgcool
        • 2 Years Ago
        @rollie
        My daily driver is a 1999 Chrysler 300M with over 150k midwest miles (the part of the country that sees tons of salt each year), and the only rust on my never-garaged car is forming underneath my driver door. Otherwise, there is none. It has held up very well compared to some cars even six years newer. I can't speak for Chryslers under the dreaded Daimler days, but I can say that mine has been perfectly happy to play in the salt.
        MAX
        • 2 Years Ago
        @rollie
        That's why TRDyota is putting whole frames under it's flimsy fake trucks. Heck Tacomas and Tundras rust in the south.
      MAX
      • 2 Years Ago
      The pundits keep laughing at François but he keeps laughing right back. Even the Aung San Suu Kyi deal worked out. I love the new Varvatos 300, a real American luxury car rather than an import knockoff.
      Bill Burke
      • 2 Years Ago
      The Chrysler brand is rich in tradition and has a loyal customer base anxious to continue to buy Chryslers. Chrysler also has the opportunity to build a solid luxury brand with ties to Lancia and Maserati, which can also enhance their tradition for innovation and excellence in product performance. To many, there is something unique, so attractive and bold, that makes Chrysler a brand that truly stands above the crowd. That said, what remains is can Chrysler translate these attributes into a true line of luxury offerings? With presently only the 300, the 200 and the Town and Country minivan baring the Chrysler logo, there needs to be alot of additional product, alot more, to keep the momentum going. Gone is the Pacifica, the PT Cruiser and the Crossfire, all very distinctive offerings that need to be replaced ASAP. But their replacements have to be first class in every detail and most important, they must be Chryslers. Additionally, in growing the brand, Chrysler must think seriously about moving up-scale with a Maserati derived "Imperial" large luxury car while finding a way to re-create the ledgendary 300. That new 300 will not be an easy task, since by most opinions, it's a modern classic. Do you evolve or reach? A good start has been made with the present line of cars and the ultra hip marketing campaign, but to remain true to the Chrysler of days gone by, alot remains to be done. As a Chrysler loyalist, I await anxiously the results.
        omgcool
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Bill Burke
        While I don't hesitate to cross-brand shop, Chrysler is generally my number one choice, ever since owning my first which I still drive (and GM is a close second). I have to say, though, that it's been quite a while since Chrysler has been seen as "special." They've diluted their lines too much with cars clearly Dodge (badge engineering). The new 300 pulls that off perfectly well, as the Charger is a fantastic car to begin with, and the 300 has clearly had some work to differentiate, but the 200 doesn't convince me of anything (though it is generally a nice car with a good price). I think Chrysler should be going after Lexus, in that they do have some RWD offerings (of which I expect Chrysler to build the far-superior cars) but also have the bread-and-butter FWD cruiser options that focus more on interior comfort and practicality (though Chryslers with a blend of sport--I'm talking bringing back the 300M). The main point I'd like to stress is that, for example, the 200 competes far too much with the Avenger; This simply can't happen if Chrysler wants to improve their brand image (obvious, isn't it?). There needs to be something truly special about the 200 to make it more desirable than the Avenger. Base price difference should be no less than $5,000, and the content needs to reflect this. I have no doubts that the two automakers will build great products, but I do hope that the new product are mostly Chrysler and less Lancia (with a strong emphasis on American design, engineering, and production). As much as I'd like Chrysler to go independent again, who knows if I'll even see that in my lifetime. In the meantime, Fiat seems like a great parent, but I hope Chrysler doesn't blend in with them too much. Let the European cars channel in through Fiat and Alpha Romeo, and let the Mopar brands stay distinctly Mopar (reengineering through chassis is okay with me, too--just don't want badge-swapped Fiats in Chrysler showrooms). I have no doubt they'll make great cars, but how they pull off this collaboration will determine if I re-shift my focus back to GM. Feels good to get this concern off my chest.
          Bill Burke
          • 2 Years Ago
          @omgcool
          Catharsis is wonderful and I hope our conversation has that effect. As you therapist I must warn you against toying with the idea of turning your attention to GM, not now especially with Chrysler building such quality product. Seriously I believe every point you are making is valid and will be addressed. The next generation 200 will be totally differentiated from the Avenger. From what I know the 200 will be FWD and V-6, 9 speed auto only and co-developed with Lancia. It is essentially done and is said to be absolutely stunning. The Avenger will be RWD, V-6 eight speed auto and share a shortened and modernized rear drive platform with the 300/Charger and a new Alfa Romeo. I think it will share little with the 200 and most likely have different launch dates and marketing demographics. I do believe that the Chrysler/Fiat management team has come to the conclusion that Chrysler drives all large product intent for North America and Fiat concentrates on small product, but allows that product intended for North America to be developed for that market by Chrysler. The perfect example is the Dodge Dart, which by all measures, is an American product. If anything, the Chrysler brand will benefit the most by their Italian partners in style influences and the other brands from mechanical assets. I believe Fiat is keenly aware that if they deminish the perception that Chrysler is truly an independent group in th organization or jepordizes it's ability to maintain it's core identity in styling and product then the whole ship goes down. So far so good. Remember to never stray your loyalty to Chrysler and everything will be just fine.
        Street King
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Bill Burke
        Not that easy there Billy. Chrysler-brand is part of an empire now, Maserati is top luxury, Alfa Romeo is sport-luxury, Dodge is American volume and muscle cars, Ram is trucks, Jeep is SUVS and off-road. Chrysler-brand somehow has to fit in there somewhere wihout eating anyones lunch, and its duties reach further than North America - they are sold as Lancias in select EU markets and Chrysler in others (vice versa for Lancias sold as Chrysler). From what I can tell, they are going to be a blend of Buick, Acura, VW and Lexus...with European and North American markets in mind. Apparently the new 200 is gorgeous
      Skicat
      • 2 Years Ago
      I'm in the ad business, and I guarantee you that Mr. François is more than likely NOT "the brain behind the "Imported from Detroit" marketing campaign, as well as "Halftime in America." Some really great creative people from an ad agency (who remain in the shadows so as not to detract from the misguided accolades presented here) presented these "genius" ideas to Mr. François, who had to be talked into getting onboard and then jumped up to cop the limelight when it all blew up. If the ads hadn't broken as big as they did, Mr. F would have nothing to do with them and the ad agency would take the blame.
        Peter Middleton
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Skicat
        You dont understand how business works huh? No one cares about the underlings. The man who is in charge is who gets credit. How its always been how it will always be
      Brodz
      • 2 Years Ago
      Chrysler has really reinvented themselves, and good on them.
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