Not long after Fortune’s long time auto writer Alex Taylor III finished his apology to Ford he went on to write a love letter to Sergio Marchionne. Taylor starts with parallels to Ghosn’s myth making success at Nissan, then ups the ante: “The other day in Auburn Hills, Mich., Fiat CEO Sergio Marchionne took a page out of the Ghosn playbook — and then improved upon it.” The impetus for Taylor’s piece was the legendary Power Point Rumble in the Detroit Jungle TTAC’s Edward Niedermeyer reported on with, um, slightly less enthusiasm last week .
If you’re like me, you spent most of the weekend huddled under a blanket, half-watching television and praying for the flu agony to be over. And nobody who watched a considerable amount television this weekend could have avoided the latest flight of heavy-handed ads from Jeep and Chrysler’s new Ram brand. “My Name Is Ram” and the E.E. Cummings-inspired “i am. Jeep” campaigns are blitzing airwaves across the country as the New, New Chrysler gears up to make its wildly optimistic sales goals. After five months of total silence coming out of bankruptcy, the ads are coming out in earnest, and they’ll be running non-stop in hopes of catching up with the $100 per retail sale ad spend goal for 2009. Next year, Chrysler’s ad spending will go up to $170 per projected sale, peaking in 2011 at $210 per planned retail sale. And this increase in ad spending appears to explain why Chrysler’s sales projection charts swing wildly upwards after a dismal 2009. After all, if throwing upward of a billion bucks per year won’t change consumer perceptions, what will? Well, besides new product, anyway. There’s many a slip twixt the PowerPoint and the profit.