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New Chrysler Pacifica ad: Perception of minivan ownership vs. reality

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles challenges the perception of minivan ownership in a new ad campaign with Oscar-winning actor Jamie Foxx.

FCA released the first of a four-part video series Monday for its new 2019 Chrysler Pacifica and Pacifica Hybrid campaign.

The 30-second spot — "Are We a Van Family?" — featured a couple questioning whether they are a "van family" as they look at the new Pacifica. The Pacifica, voiced by Foxx, calls a salesperson over to help show off its modernized features to the couple.

"Is it magic? No, it's a Pacifica. Stow 'n Go seats, come on in. Dang, I ain't never seen no van that makes me feel this way," a voiceover of Foxx says. Simultaneously, the salesperson demonstrates the minivan's hands-free dual sliding doors, Stow 'n Go seating and Uconnect Theater with two 10-inch touch screens to the family.

Right before the spot closes a Pacifica Hybrid, also voiced by Foxx, says "Yo, what's up?" to the family.

Chrysler created the campaign in partnership with Austin-based agency GSD&M.

"As voiced by Jamie Foxx, whose bold and distinctive attitude matches that of the minivan, the campaign offers a fun and engaging way to both challenge the perceptions of minivan ownership and communicate to consumers the unparalleled features of both vehicles," Olivier Francois, FCA's chief marketing officer, said in a statement.

FCA's campaign launched a few days after the automaker ended its winning streak of 11 straight monthsof year-over-year sales in February. The company's sales fell 2.3 percent from the year-earlier period to 162,036 vehicles. FCA attributed the sales decline to inclement weather in parts of the country, the partial government shutdown and apprehension over tax refunds as reasons why the industry had a slower start this year.

Chrysler took a big hit in February, as U.S. sales plunged 36 percent from the year-earlier period. Monthly sales fell 32 percent from the previous year for the Chrysler Pacifica and 24 percent for the Dodge Grand Caravan nameplates.

In 2018, Chrysler sales declined 12 percent. However, 2018 Pacifica sales were relatively flat compared with the year before, totaling 118,322. Through the first two months of this year, they are down 24 percent.

In response to February's decline, FCA wrote an email Tuesday that said, "All of our FCA brand ad campaigns are designed to spur sales. It's important to note that FCA now owns more than half of the minivan segment in the United States. In 2018, FCA gained 5.7 points of market share and had 56 percent of the market in the United States. Through February, that trend continues."

FCA said the four-part video series will run on television programs that include NHL games, NCAA regular season games and March Madness. The time schedule for the remaining videos has not been confirmed but will air in the spring and summer 2019, FCA said.

The campaign will also leverage the Chrysler brand's Facebook, YouTube, Instagram and Twitter platforms.

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