That time Lee Iacocca teamed up with Snoop Dogg and Jason Alexander to sell Chryslers
Lee Iacocca and Snoop Dogg. Name a more iconic duo. I’ll wait.
The thing about the late Lee Iacocca was that, even though he was a high-powered executive (he served as both president of Ford and CEO of Chrysler), his public persona was that of a straight-shooting, relatable pitchman — a carryover from the early days of his career, when he was crafting slogans to help move sheetmetal for the Blue Oval.
Basically, people wanted to buy whatever Iacocca was selling, and he knew it. This made the many commercials and print ads that starred Iacocca feel a little like polished versions of those goofy local car dealership TV spots.
This concept reached its zenith with a series of ads released in 2005 to promote a Chrysler employee-discount incentive campaign. Two of them had Iacocca playing straight man beside Jason Alexander of “Seinfeld” fame and Snoop Dogg of, well, Snoop Dogg fame.
In the Iacocca/Snoop Dogg “Golf Buddies” spot, Iacocca is pitched as this sort of stodgy old white guy/elder statesman of the auto industry, and Snoop is…oh come on, you’re not going to make us explain the whole thing, are you? Just give it a watch!
The ads rolled out in early July. Part of the deal hammered out with Iacocca was that, for every vehicle Chrysler sold for the rest of 2005, the automaker would donate $1 to the Iacocca Foundation for diabetes research — a cause personal to the former executive, as his wife Mary died from complications of the disease.
These TV spots debuted right about the time YouTube was getting started, but before easily sharable online streaming video was really mainstream. So we only have a grainy, low-res version of the Snoop Dogg ad — it adds a nice mid-aughts nostalgic haze to the spot — and we can’t find the Jason Alexander one at all. If you’ve got a lead on it, let us know.
Here’s a still from the Lee Iacocca and Jason Alexander Chrysler commercial. If you can find the actual ad anywhere online, we’d love to see it.
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