By on February 4, 2010

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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39 Comments on “Chrysler Group Launches Branded Merchandising, Hilarity Ensues...”


  • avatar
    Sutures

    Believe it or not, these items were always available. They may have refreshed the site, updated the products or pushed it more in the open… but you could get this stuff for years either online, at the Chrysler gift shops or at your local dealer.

    Old news is old.

    • 0 avatar

      The merchandise is new, if not the stores. I’ve amended the text to reflect this and included a link to Chrysler’s press release.

    • 0 avatar
      Syke

      I’ve been camping in a Jeep branded dome tent for about six years now. Had a couple of other items from their catalog, too. Overall quality was good, the tent is obviously a cheap knockoff of some of the more expensive brands out there, but I’ve stayed dry through nasty thunderstorms.

  • avatar
    gslippy

    This stuff will sell as well as the Durango.

  • avatar
    NickR

    What a complete and utter waste of time. I know they tried this before with Jeep. The late and largely unlamented Linens ‘n Things had Jeep branded crap. Mostly in the clearance section. I can’t believe they fritter away their time on this nonsense.

    A Chrysler-branded humidor for what…someone’s Marlboros?

    • 0 avatar
      Garrick Jannene

      Nope, CAO Italias. Italian tobacco sprinkled in with some Latin American tobacco describes Fiat perfectly, and the American-branded case surrounding the Fiat inside describes Chrysler perfectly.

      Ta da!

  • avatar
    Roxer

    This definitely opens the door for Toyota to sell Shim necklaces, bracelets, earrings. Just you wait.

  • avatar
    late_apex

    Nothing wrong with branded items to enhance the image and value of a marquee as long as it’s done properly.

    Personally if I wanted to buy car swag from manufactures having trouble selling cars I’d choose Volvo. 80% off things that say “Volvo for Life”….

    linky to a nice $2.50 Volvo T-shirt

    http://www.collection.volvocars.us/Products/Product1.aspx?ItemId=50000616&SectionId=50000275

  • avatar
    Facebook User

    Here we have the predictable offspring following the marriage of Italy’s worst automaker and America’s worst automaker (with a healthy dose of taxpayer funds thrown in as, well, lube I guess). If ya can’t sell the cars, sell the brand.

    If Fiaslyer — in any form, metal or fabric — is still around at the end of the year, I’ll eat my hat.

  • avatar
    Davekaybsc

    There are two brands that can get away with this stuff and have customers that will buy it – Porsche and Ferrari. Everyone else should stick to making cars.

  • avatar
    Autojunkie

    Ed,

    The items and website may be new, but ALL of the automakers have been doign this for years now. Trust me… I purchased my Mopar Performance jacket back in 1986 already from the dealer. From time-to-time, over the years, I would by a shirt or hat that from Chrysler, GM, or Ford if it tickled my fancy.

    So… The real question is why do you think this is hilarious? This is no different than what has been happening for years. Oh wait… I know why… Because you needed your daily dose of Chrysler-bashing.

    I suggest that, like the “Volt Birth/Death Watch” title you use, you should just call every Chrysler-related story “The Daily Chrysler Bashing”

    • 0 avatar
      FromBrazil

      I tend to agree. I mean if I were ever to buy a Ram Ram I’d be happy to get, or even better, be given say, a Ram Ram cap. I’d wear it, too.

      Don’t really see the problem.

    • 0 avatar
      Mike66Chryslers

      Yep, nothing new here. I did go to their various sites and was disappointed to see still nothing available with the classic Pentastar logo, except as part of the Direct Connection logo.

    • 0 avatar
      fincar1

      I’ve still got my old Direct Connection jacket from thirty years ago when I was active in the WPC Club. Well, it’s actually my wife’s – I wore out my own.

  • avatar
    pgcooldad

    This is nothing new. A lot of these items used to from DaimlerChrysler and were suspended due to bankruptcy. They are just re-launching their merchandise.

    Employees get a discount when logged through the company site. I used to get a lot of Jeep merchandise and sometimes Dodge for really good prices, and great quality too. Honestly, the quality of these items are very good.

    Now who would buy a Humidor? Suppliers! When the Chrysler people are in your building, you pull out the Chrysler paraphernalia; Ford, Ford stuff; GM, Chevy and such.

    By the way, here is Ford’s site:

    http://www.ford.com/purchasing-options/accessories/merchandise

    • 0 avatar
      pgcooldad

      GM Merchandise:
      http://www.gm.com/vehicles/parts/company_store/

      Last but not least: Cheap Toyota parts!!
      Oh that’s toyota parts cheap.
      http://www.toyotapartscheap.com/

  • avatar
    mpvue

    everyone does this, has been doing this and will continue to do this, ‘new’ press release or not.
    FWIW, you can get saturn branded stuff at like 90% off at http://www.saturnaccessories.com

  • avatar
    Lokki

    This is amusing. And only sweatshirts? Even Chevy at least offers a Blazer!

    And shouldn’t the blue button-down collar shirt for Jeep really be a flannel shirt? Or has Subaru got the ownership rights for them?

  • avatar
    iNeon

    Meanwhile, in other news: EVERY OTHER MANUFACTURER SLATHERS IT’S LOGO ON THE SAME JUNK.

    Tell your friends!

    Edward: This isn’t new or news. ‘Santa’ brought me a PT wagen for Christmas and you know what was under the tree? Here’s a hint: it wasn’t the station wagen.

    It’s the same as adding those ugly $200.00 all-weather mats. Cars and trinkets go together like beans and cornbread. Their pockets get heavier, we get small gestures/mementos of occasions we’d like to remember.

    Tell us you don’t currently have, or have never received as a gift: a fancy car-specific keychain. Everyone in my family has one– and the matching ballcap.

  • avatar

    Woo-hoo! Now I can wear crap while driving crap! It’s a dream come true!!!

    John

    • 0 avatar
      pgcooldad

      Well then, I found some merchandise for you too.

      http://www.toyotagifts.com/

    • 0 avatar
      MidLifeCelica

      When you’re right, your’re right. Not only is the stuff on the toyotagifts site crap, but so is the site itself. My God, who did they get to build that – do they let inmates in federal prison learn HTML? Search didn’t work, links failed, terrible presentation and layout. I’d be afraid to put my CC number into a site like that. Two things that made me laugh in particular were the items with the regular prices crossed off that had a higher ‘sale’ price beside them, and the list of ‘bestsellers’ in the sidebar topped by ‘Toyota floor mats’!

  • avatar
    panzerfaust

    “Dodge Life.” What a brilliant slogan for the colonial Chavs.

  • avatar
    PeriSoft

    My wife ended up with a Jeep branded rolly-backpack-thing a few weeks ago; it was the only thing around which combined rolliness with backpackiness. I doubt she even noticed the Jeep logo.

    It’s actually reasonably well-made, for what it’s worth.

  • avatar
    iNeon

    It’s feasible to build/advertise/run a company just by contracting out branded merchandise. Did Sharper Image burn to the ground doing it?

    Giving this stuff away at launches and PR events used to be common practice. I’ve got a Caliber steering wheel keychain. Anyone want it? :)

    There’s a cheap tin VW logo hanging in the basement– It came from Target on clearance. Love those endcaps.

  • avatar
    LaurentCauch

    The sad truth is, unless it’s a sweatshirt with only the simple name of a reputable college or university, all graphic sportswear is Climax Court masscult apparel.

  • avatar
    Seth L

    The Leather-wrapped Chrysler Tape Measure was worth a chuckle.

    On the positive side, they seem to be staying on message wrt the brands:

    Chrysler: It’s luxury! Really!
    Dodge: Extreme! Like Axe Body Spray!
    Jeep: Rugged!

    Ram’s absence is conspicuous.

    I have no jokes for the MOPAR site though, I actually want some of the stuff there.

  • avatar
    Mike66Chryslers

    As many have said, this is nothing new. My parents gave me a Chrysler-branded bomber jacket a few years ago.

    I sometimes get annoyed because people ask me if I work for Chrysler when I’m wearing it. If I wore a Harley jacket, nobody would ask me if I work for Harley Davidson.

  • avatar
    jaje

    I think the point is missed – most automakers sell branded merchandise such as trinkets and clothing. There’s nothing really funny in that b/c everyone does it. It is Chrysler’s attempt to create branded luxury items such as the laser etched humidor (unique and pricey items a truly strong branded luxury automaker may sell such as Porsche). The irony is no one knows what a Chrysler is as all their cars are knock offs of budget branded cars or trucks. They have no brand which then creates the humor in selling higher end luxury accessories.

    Look at it this way…Chrysler bailed out by the Fed and given slap on the wrist bankruptcy proceeding. Fiat bailed out by their Gov’t and a $4B payoff from GM to sever ties. Future is not bright as both companies have horrible histories of making it on their own. Though I’d be interested in a Abarth 500 (looks like a very fun car).

    • 0 avatar
      pgcooldad

      These items are nothing new. They were sold up until the bankruptcy. I clearly remember seeing high end cuff links, shirts, jackets, leather bags, and probably humidors. They were expensive two years ago even with an employee discount.

      They are not attempting to create branded luxury. It’s a re-launch of what they always had at their sites.

  • avatar
    Facebook User

    I also have some Chrysler swag… a keychain given to dealer reps immediately after the Daimler announcement, emblazoned with the DC company logo and “Expect the Extraordinary” on the back.

    (That’s one of the many problems — we did.)

    Wonder if it is/will be worth anything when Fiaslyer folds?

  • avatar
    p00ch

    $25.95 for a 2GB USB drive? What kind of incentives will they offer me?

  • avatar
    iNeon

    I was actually just thinking about buying a humidor for tobacco products because of the fire safety revolution. It doesn’t need a Chrysler logo on it, though.

    Imagine how inexpensive this stuff is, even with the Aston Martin or Porsche logos. They’re not making a killing with this, and it costs nothing compared to print and television advertising, even carried in inventories.

    It’s just a selection of whatnots designed to be bought on impulse and passed along soonafter, but that will continue to provide advertising. Elvis isn’t less entertaining because there are graceland saltshakers with his image on them. He may even be greater by it.

    Kitsch, ya’ll– Kitsch.

  • avatar

    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?

  • avatar
    Lokki

    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 stated 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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