Friday, February 19, 2010

Free Idea Friday

Ideas are easy. Execution is hard. Every Friday I will share an idea that's been rolling around in my head that I have neither the time nor the where-with-all to execute. Remember, it's free, so take it for what it's worth.

Why do they make this so easy?
I really don't want to keep picking on Chrysler. Really, I don't. After all, as an American taxpayer it's in my best interest to see them succeed. But how can I not give them grief when they make what should be so easy look so damn hard?

Earlier this week, Chrysler convinced a high school in Florida to change the school's athletic logo because they clearly stole the Ram artwork from Chrysler. No problem there. Chrysler is 100% right to protect their brand and their intellectual property. If they let Lake Mary High continue to use the Ram logo without challenge, their claim to the trademark would be weakened and all the money they've invested in building the Ram brand would be at risk. So they had to make them change it, but here's where they blew it.

They didn't control the story or anticipate the negative publicity they might get by forcing a school district on a very tight budget to spend a lot of money repainting their gym floor, changing logos on helmets, athletic department stationary, etc. Now I know hindsight is 20/20, but the bad press resulting from this approach was as certain to pop up as a zit on a teenager before prom. So instead of having their lawyers go all nuclear on the school, here's what Chrysler should have done.

Tell the school in the nicest way possible that stealing your logo is wrong and they have to change it, but not to worry because you'll have the Richards Group, the ad agency for Ram, design a new logo for the school. Then hold a big pep rally at the school to unveil the new logo on a new Ram pickup and Sprinter passenger van. At the end of the rally, give the trucks to the school. To raise the money necessary to change logo on all school materials including the gym floor, the school would then hold an auction or raffle for the Ram Pickup. The Sprinter would be theirs to keep to transport sports teams to games, matches and other events, reminding everyone of Chrysler's goodwill and continuing to build some brand awareness in the community.

By giving away less than $100,000 in product Chrysler would have received positive publicity for offering a solution to the school's problem. And they would have moved a couple of vehicles out of their massive inventory, which will probably be even harder now after all the bad publicity they've been getting for this ham-handed way they've handled this situation.

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