THE CHANGING IMAGE OF THE CHRYSLER CORPORATION (1979-1980): A DRAMATISTIC ANALYSIS.
AuthorSAMRA, RISE JANE.
AdvisorKing, Andrew A.
MetadataShow full item record
PublisherThe University of Arizona.
RightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
AbstractThe economic analysts on Wall Street had all but signed Chrysler's death certificate when Lee Iacocca took the reins of a floundering corporate giant in 1979. At this writing (1985) Chrysler's $1.2 billion in government backed loans has been paid back seven years ahead of schedule and the company has reported profits well over $550 million. During Chrysler's recovery, a large public relations and advertising campaign was launched to promote Chrysler's new products and to present consumers with a more positive image of the company. This study was undertaken for two purposes. The first was to examine the changes in the presentation and content of Chrysler's image during the campaign. The second was to undertake a Burkean analysis of the persuasive messages of the campaign in order to assess their motivational structure, ideological perspective and potential effectiveness. How did the image of the Chrysler Corporation change from the time of the federally approved loan in 1979 to its repayment of loans in 1983? To answer the question, this writer employed a method of Burkean analysis to assess the rhetorical values of the Chrysler-paid media campaign. Uncontrolled media coverage was also examined, since it constituted a significant part of the rhetorical situation to which the paid media campaign had to respond. The results were a profile of Chrysler's attempts to gain identification with its constituents. What was the motivational and ideological thrust of the appeals? It was discovered that prior to the federal loan guarantee, Chrysler utilized scenic arguments claiming its own victimage. High energy costs, Japanese imports, runaway inflation, and government regulations were cited as factors contributing to its financial difficulties. After Chrysler successfully repaid its loan, its message was changed to emphasize the Agent: We the New Chrysler Corporation have great leadership and competence and these are the ingredients that led to our success. Chrysler's financial success provided the basis for changing its image from that of a failure to that of a hero.
Degree ProgramSpeech Communication