Chrysler Group Launches Branded Merchandising, Hilarity Ensues

Edward Niedermeyer
by Edward Niedermeyer
chrysler group launches branded merchandising hilarity ensues

Sergio Marchionne’s misguided obsession with the alleged brand equity of his recently-acquired Chrysler Group marques has deepened, as Chrysler, Dodge and Jeep launched new branded merchandise today [hilarious press release here]. The funniest part of the whole cross-branding effort is the very idea that significant portions of the population want their day-to-day goods slathered with Chrysler Group brand names. The second funniest? The products themselves. The Chrysler Collection features such “luxury gifts” as an $11.95 leather calculator, a $199.95 mahogany humidor, and a $21.95 mini umbrella, all tagged with Chrysler’s new Aston-alike logo and doubtless finished in the same fine materials as the Sebring’s interior. If Davos had a Wal-Mart, this is what they’d sell.

Dodge Life is less obviously embarrassing than Chrysler’s pseudo- masstige, but it hardly sheds any light on what exactly Dodge is supposed to stand for as a brand. On the strong side, there’s an “Icons” line of apparel, offering T-shirts and hoodies with references to Dodge’s somewhat-glorious past, while the “Lifestyle” section is blessedly limited to die-cast models. The “Sport” apparel line consists of a few tees featuring Dodge’s new and largely unfamiliar logo and some energy drink can-inspired graphics, while the “Studio” line (above) is apparently an attempt to extend the Dodge brand to previously unimagined levels.

Meanwhile, the Jeep Gear site offers a few tees in the generic big-box fashion oeuvre, as well as what appears to be the uniforms for Jeep dealership employees (above). Because nothing expresses Jeep’s rugged, outdoorsy brand values like a shirt that makes you look like someone from a training video. Except perhaps a $14.95 Jeep-branded wine stopper or a $25.95 2GB USB flash drive (could we make this up if we wanted to?). Even the lifestyle gear that might somehow dovetail with Jeep’s brand values are half-baked answers to questions that nobody is asking. Like a $59.95 “Traveler’s Leather Journal,” and other things that well-to-do outdoorsy folks buy at REI… without a struggling brand name attached.

Meanwhile, the Jeep Gear site offers

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  • Jim Sutherland Jim Sutherland on Feb 04, 2010

    Call me a radical, but what happens if Kurt Bush wins the Daytona or the championship? Theoretically, the brand name would be enhanced by a Dodge victory and people would buy the gear. But that's probably just crazy talk isn't it? After all, who buys gear from Super Bowl teams?

  • Lokki Lokki on Feb 05, 2010
    Call me a radical, but what happens if Kurt Bush wins the Daytona or the championship? Theoretically, the brand name would be enhanced by a Dodge victory and people would buy the gear. But that’s probably just crazy talk isn’t it? Yes, A Daytona victory will sell thousands of cigar humidors. The point here is not the fact of merchandise, it's that the merchandise is not properly aimed at Chrysler/Dodge Owners. Dodge is, at its best, a performance brand. Jeep is an outdoor brand. No one blinks at the idea of a Jeep tent, but as I [s] stated [/s] implied above, wearing a blue cotten shirt with Jeep on it makes you look like a Jeep mechanic who got promoted to the parts department. The shirt should be a hooded sweatshirt, or a flannel shirt. For Chrysler gear, if Chrysler owners are smoking cigars, they're cheap cigars. It's sort of like if Chevy really were trying to sell logo'd blazers to Blazer owners.

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  • Scott ?Wonder what Toyota will be using when they enter the market?
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