Friday, August 12, 2005

Hip-Hop Argot Meets Corporate Cant, All to Sell Chryslers

Lee Iacocca, the former Chrysler chief, and Snoop Dogg appear in an ad promoting Chrysler's employee discount offer on many 2005 models.

Published: August 5, 2005
NY Times

The former chairman of Chrysler, Lee A. Iacocca, has been called a lot of things in his time, but Mocha Cocca and I-ka-zizzle are new.

The nicknames come from Snoop Dogg - Mr. Iacocca's new sidekick in a Chrysler commercial that starts Saturday. Mr. Iacocca, 80, is Chrysler's most famous retiree and has been reprising his role as company pitchman.

Snoop Dogg, whose real name is Calvin Broadus, is arguably Chrysler's most famous enthusiast. Last year, the rapper, actor, car buff and sometime pornographer left a voice mail at Chrysler's West Coast office demanding the new Chrysler 300 sedan. The 300C he later received is black with tinted windows.

Now Chrysler is pairing the two in a commercial by the BBDO division of Omnicom Group aimed in part at overcoming Mr. Iacocca's demographic limitations. The commercial features the two men riding in a blue golf cart with spinning wheel rims and is the latest promotion touting Chrysler's employee discount offer on many 2005 models.

"It's a great way to continue to break through the clutter," said Suraya DaSante, a spokeswoman for the Chrysler Group, a division of DaimlerChrysler, of the commercial. "Snoop is a hip-hop icon, a lot of people know him and recognize him, so it's a fun complement to Lee."

The new commercial was previously reported by Bloomberg News.

A survey conducted by the trade publication Advertising Age last month found that 8 in 10 people who had seen commercials featuring Mr. Iacocca found him to be "believable" and "relevant." But the survey also found that he was far less recognizable among young adults.

In the commercial, Snoop pulls up in a Dodge truck and, as he emerges, Mr. Iacocca says "nice ride." Snoop begins to let forth in his inimitable linguistics, a trademark of Mr. Broadus, as the two men go for a ride in the golf cart: Snoop: "Thank you Mocha Cocca. Chrysler and Jeep came up on beaucoup awards and Dodge trucks last as long as the D-O-double gizzle. Plus, I got the hook up nephew, for sure."

Iacocca, looking puzzled: "You know, I'm not too sure what you just said. Now everybody gets a great deal."

Snoop: "Fo shizzle, I-ka-zizzle."

A narrator then explains the offers. Both men wear pink shirts, but their fashion sense mostly diverges from there. The rapper, whose taste in golf apparel was seen in the movie "Starsky and Hutch," also sports an argyle sweater embossed with his S-D logo, a white hat, sunglasses and pants checkered white, pink and blue. Mr. Iacocca wears more traditional golf attire.

At the end of the commercial, Snoop Dogg translates Mr. Iacocca's famous tagline - if you can find a better car, buy it.

"If the ride is more fly," he says, "then you must buy."

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