Chrysler's Search for New Ad Agency Help Is On

As reported earlier here, Chrysler has a search and review on for new ad agency help. Despite the automaker’s woes, it is viewed as plum for agencies, because of the total billings at stake—over $1 billion in measured media.

Among the agencies believed to be pitching Chrysler’s new management are Publicis and Crispin Porter + Bogusky.

The review puts Omnicom, holding company for incumbent BBDO, in a bit of a pickle. BBDO has held the account for decades, starting with Dodge and then taking on Jeep and Chrysler as agencies like Bozell and Campbell-Mithun-Esty went away via mergers and acquisitions.

Omnicom is also holding company for DDB Needham, which is now pitching Volkswagen, which DDB has in most part of the world but not U.S. It is also parent to Goodby Silverstein and Partners, which is a terrific agency but is also pitching VW. Omnicom’s GSD&M? Nope…it has BMW.

Publicis agency Leo Burnett, which has Fiat (new Chrysler owner) overseas would like to keep its Buick and GMC business with General Motors, it seems. So, look for Publicis Hal Riney and other Publicis agencies to be deployed for Chrysler.

The immediate concern for Chrysler is the fourth quarter. Apparently, BBDO was spinning wheels on fresh strategies about how to keep the metal moving off dealer lots post Cash for Clunkers. But Chrysler is also looking for longer term positioning ideas, especially for Chrysler and Dodge. BBDO has a better shot at retaining Jeep business, but it’s more than likely that Dodge and Chrysler is out the door to a new agency.

Chrysler’s big challenge: How to keep metal moving out of Chrysler and Dodge when quality ratings and word of mouth are terrible for the brands. Chrysler has been attracting a pretty low credit-score kind of customer buying largely on price.

Fiat has new product coming in, but it is two years off. Meantime, Chrysler has lots of existing models to sell. And they need new ideas on how to keep them moving off dealer lots with the least amount of discounts, while at the same time readying those brands for a new generation of products from Chrysler-Fiat.

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