Celine In, Martha Out in Big Car Deal

01/07/2003 2:52PM

Celine Dion's heart -- and image -- will go on, but Martha Stewart's won't. In Chrysler advertising, that is.

As was previously reported, the Canadian pop diva, 34 is set to become the new commercial image of DaimlerChrysler's Chrysler unit -- in print ads, TV and concert sponsorship. The New York Times reports that the car company will pay her tens of millions of dollars.

But what is new, reports Reuters, is that Chrysler is simultaneously dropping its yearlong advertising deal with Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia when the agreement comes up for renewal in March, the Detroit-based automaker said Monday.

Under terms of its deal with Martha Stewart Living, Chrysler served as the one and only automotive sponsor of the "Road Trips" section of Martha Stewart Living magazine.

Similarly, Chrysler had sponsored Martha Stewart Living's TV and syndicated radio programs.

Chrysler said the move was not caused by the stock scandal surrounding the domestic diva, 60, who is under dual investigations -- by the Securities and Exchange Commission and by the U.S. Justice Department -- for possible insider trading.

The problem stems from some 400 shares of a biotech stock that she dumped one day before an FDA announcement that the company's cancer drug didn't win government approval. The investigation has been blamed for causing stock in Stewart's own company to plummet, and it has even brought into question how long she might remain in charge.

Martha Stewart Living declined to comment on the Chrysler decision.

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