Chrysler Ends Martha Deal

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Chrysler Group last week terminated its ad agreements with Martha Stewart's magazine and TV show, Martha Stewart Living.
The carmaker is already using its Web site to talk up its recently signed ad spokeswoman, singer Celine Dion.

Touting Dion as "the new voice of Chrysler," the automaker said she will sing an original song in an upcoming TV ad. The campaign also will feature print and Internet elements, personal appearances, consumer promotions and dealer tie-ins.

The only reference to Stewart is on the "Chrysler &Martha Stewart Living" area of its Web site, where Chrysler cited her "Helpful Hints for Road Trips."

Various news media last week reported that Chrysler and Stewart had ended their year-long contract. Stewart has been tainted by an investigation into whether she took advantage of inside information to get out of ImClone Systems stock. Although that has made her hot property in the tabloid press, her King World-syndicated television show has not been as badly hurt as her personal reputation. In early December, the show was renewed for its 11th season, cleared in 70% of the country.

Stewart's exit from Chrysler will be effective in March, The New York Times
said. It quoted Chrysler spokesman Jim Kenyon as saying the decision to drop Stewart was "not related to the [Securities & Exchange Commission and Dept. of Justice] investigations" into insider-trading charges.

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