DETROIT -- Jason Vines had been the Chrysler group's vice president of communications for barely two weeks when Chrysler group CEO Dieter Zetsche approached him at the Detroit auto show in January.
A news conference about the redesigned 2005 Dodge Grand Caravan had just ended. Zetsche sought a way to prolong the buzz about the minivan after its launch.
Vines' brainstorm, the Minivan Summer Games, produced the word-of-mouth marketing the Chrysler group wanted.
The Chrysler group's public relations arm increasingly is helping its marketing department to sustain public attention to the group's vehicles once they are launched. Many of its ideas are unconventional and cross the traditional lines of PR and marketing duties.
"Both departments working well together has not always been the case, here or in the industry," Vines says. "Oftentimes there was a lot of petty jealousy among too many organizations, and that's really stupid.
"We can make our marketing dollars go further" through cooperation between departments, Vines adds.