The Trouble With Dr. Z

AdAge is reporting that despite criticism from the marketing pundits, Chrysler is continuing with its marketing campaign featuring DCX honcho Dieter Zetsche. Here's how we see it. The spots aren't particularly funny. We like Dieter at press intros. A CEO who's willing to have a little fun is all right in our book. The problem is, press introductions are not television advertisements. And while Dieter's funny for a CEO, he's no David Cross. Nor is he Peter Stormare. VW played the quirky German thing so well because they basically went the "Sprockets" route.

Dr. Z, on the other hand, straddles the line between humor and too much information, with Dieter rattling off various technical specifications. A week ago, hanging with our friends Rory, Vinny and Emil, we were sitting around a restaurant table in Venice, speaking in German accents, when suddenly Vinny says, "I hear Porsche is verking on a cure for AIDS." Food came out of Emil's nose. It's the matter-of-fact over-the-top belief in themselves — the sheer arrogance — that makes the German stereotype funny.

With the Dr. Z ads, DCX and BBDO are trying to play it both ways; make Dieter look like an approachable sort, while portraying him as a go-anywhere, do-anything, highly-efficient bermensch while not making him look silly. And it's not quite working. Although we do like the spot where he pulls the rear out of a 300C, over time, it's become more of an amusing throwaway to us than a bit we'll necessarily watch when it pops up. But to quote the other Dieter, "Chrysler, your story has become tiresome." [Thanks to CTE for the tip.]

Chrysler to Continue Employee Discounts and 'Dr. Z' Ads [AdAge]

Related:
Ad Watch: JALOPNIK EXCLUSIVE - Dr. Z Is on Call [Internal]