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chrysler2003.jpgIn December 2003, DaimlerChrysler created what it called the “first ever” living window display by challenging a family of three to live for five days in a 2004 Dodge Durango SUV that was parked in Times Square.
For every day the family stuck it out in the Times Square SUV, Chrysler donated $5,000 to a homeless organization, “up to a total donation of $25,000!” If the family lasted five days, they’d own the car. As Dan Barry pointed out in the NY Times, the value of the SUV was $36,000 so homeless organizations might have made out better if DaimlerChrysler just gave them an SUV to sell.
In 2003, DaimlerChrysler demonstrated their resistance to emerging social media, by not incorporating a web cam, or daily video blogs from Times Square into their stunt. Then, for the next five years, they continued to resist changes in consumer sensibility, in politics, and in the economy.
Now, five years later, this type of PR stunt is completely out of the question for a car company, and not just because many families are actually living in their cars.
In August, 2007, DaimlerChrysler drove off into the sunset in the gas guzzling SUVs they’d been stupid enough to keep producing. No Merry Christmas in 2007 or 2008.