Chrysler-brand cars and minivans shared the stage with multimillion-dollar yachts and summer homes when the brand hosted a lavish weekend party this fall for 350 prospects in Newport, R.I. It was a team effort with seven upscale Hearst magazines and included competition on America's Cup racing yachts; a scrumptious clambake at the former summer home of the family of the late Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis; jazz; movies; and even a lecture on how to decorate homes, using such big-ticket baubles as $10,000 tassels.
Why was the Chrysler brand connected with such a monied venue? Susan Thomson, senior manager of national advertising for the Chrysler brand, says Chrysler vehicles such as the Town & Country minivan and the 300M attract well-heeled consumers.
'It appealed to us because the event fit the lifestyles of our owners with sailing, house tours and fashion shows,' she says.
Invitations went to Hearst subscribers in Connecticut, Rhode Island, Massachusetts and New York. The party was limited to the first 350 people who responded. Guests paid for transportation and lodging; Chrysler shared the party costs - an estimated $50,000.
Guests from the Hearst database, plus several thousand Newport residents and visitors, saw Chryslers throughout the town all weekend. Thomson says the division collected several thousand names for direct-mail campaigns.
Will Chrysler do something similar in the future?
'Any time we have the opportunity to communicate with potential customers one on one, we see this as immeasurable value,' Thomson says. 'We owned the town for a weekend.'