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Chrysler takes chance with Charlie Sheen commercial

A new ad for small Fi500 will feature Hollywood bad-boy Charlie Sheen

A new ad for the small Fiat 500 will feature Hollywood bad-boy Charlie Sheen

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Updated: April 16, 2012 8:21AM

Faced with slow sales of its tiny Fiat 500, Chrysler’s top marketing executive has taken a chance with Hollywood bad boy Charlie Sheen in a commercial that airs Thursday during the NCAA tournament.

“He definitely has a bit of the scorpion in him,” said Olivier Francois, Chrysler’s chief marketing officer.

In the Sheen commercial — which has run for two weeks on YouTube with 1.5 million views — the actor drives the Fiat through a mansion where a bevy of party girls has gathered. As he steps out of the car, the camera zooms in on an ankle security bracelet as he’s greeted by supermodel Catrinel Menghia.

“I love being under house arrest,” he says. “What do I get for good behavior?” The ad ends with the tag line, “Not all bad boys are created equal.”

For Francois, the brand always should take priority over the vehicles when crafting the advertising message. He’s behind the Chrysler ads using Eminem during the 2011 Super Bowl for the “Imported from Detroit” ad and Clint Eastwood’s “Halftime in America” pep talk during this year’s game.

Some wonder if Sheen is a good spokesman: In a piece headlined, “Should Madison Aveneue Be Rehabbing Charlie Sheen?” Advertising Age noted, “From drug use to allegations of domestic abuse, Charlie Sheen is a portrait of bad behavior.”

Gannett News Service

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