Monday, January 26, 2009

An Inappropriate Thank You Note

Outrageous! Chrysler has been spending hundreds of thousands of dollars on ads that have been running in The New York Times, USA Today and the Wall Street Journal , among other media outlets, to thank Americans for “investing in Chrysler” through the government's $17.4 billion auto industry bailout. The ad also stated Chrysler’s commitment to making quality products, improving fuel economy and providing “vehicles you want to buy.”

It is hard to fathom why Chrysler would be spending this kind of money on a thank you note when they are struggling to survive.

Don’t get me wrong. Thank you notes are nice. But the bailout was not a thoughtful gift to Chrysler from its legion of fans. Nor are taxpayers investors in the classic sense … so why does the ad use the term “investing?” Among all the investment options open to taxpayers, they did not choose to buy shares in Chrysler…it was a government decision, right or wrong.

While thanking your stakeholders is a noble policy, it could have easily been achieved through public relations techniques including press releases, the website, and emails … which would have amounted to a comparatively small dollar amount and could have accomplished the same thing. These funds could have been better spent on research to make better vehicles.

Taxpayers who are forced to help Chrysler in this bailout have a right to be angry about what undoubtedly is perceived as irresponsible spending. This was a disappointing public relations move on the part of Chrysler.

Since writing this, I noted that the ad was posted on the Chrysler blog. In fact, it got so many negative comments that Chrysler recently pulled it.

Technorati Tags: Chrysler, The New York Times, USA Today, Wall Street Journal, government, auto industry, fuel economy, bailout, taxpayers, investing, stakeholders, vehicles, business, communications, public relations


Blogger Cyrus said...

For better or worse, I think we've proven that the auto industry isn't very well versed on the principles of public perception.

The sad part is this is not really any worse than the big party AIG threw following their bailout or some of the other things that have happened in the financial sector in regard to the expenditure of money.

Anyone who's studied finance and/or economics should have seen this crisis coming from a mile away, but we ignored the train's headlights as we most often do.

Thursday, January 29, 2009 5:11:00 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home