Chrysler goes to Broadway, teams with ‘Motown’

DETROIT — Chrysler Chief Marketing Officer Olivier Francois said the chance to help Motown creator Berry Gordy promote Motown: The Musical was an opportunity “we could not pass on.”

The Auburn Hills, Mich., automaker and Gordy have formed a marketing partnership that has been called unprecedented on Broadway.

Chrysler is airing a commercial nationally with Gordy driving a Chrysler 300, even though there is no guarantee that the musical will be a success. The marketing campaign also includes a billboard in Times Square and other marketing support that the New York Times says has an estimated value of $6 million-$8 million.

STORY: ‘Motown: The Musical’ ready for Broadway

“It’s not ‘Chrysler Presents Motown,’ which is a sponsorship,” said show co-producer Kevin McCollum. “Yes, Chrysler wants to sell cars, but they’re putting a lot of dollars behind the emotional relationship of what Motown means to their company.”

Francois said the idea to support the musical came out of meetings with Don Coleman, chairman and CEO of ad agency GlobalHue, and Doug Morris, CEO of Sony Music Entertainment.

“When you have an opportunity like this … there is just one thing that you have to consider: Is it going to be just a partnership? Or is it something that goes deeper because it is true and meaningful?” Francois said.

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