BBDO Detroit Cuts 145 Jobs as Chrysler Skids

Automaker's Ad Spending Plunges Along With Vehicle Sales

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NEW YORK ( -- BBDO Detroit is cutting a whopping 22% of its staff in response to its main client, Chrysler, bearing down on costs. The agency will eliminate 145 positions across all functions.

The layoffs were "driven by the reduced level of activity and changes in the nature of planned activities" by Chrysler, according to a press release from the agency.

Vehicle sales drop off cliff
Chrysler is getting slammed this year, one of the worst in over a decade for the entire U.S. auto industry. The automaker's October new-vehicle sales plummeted by 35% to 94,530 units vs. October 2007. For the first 10 months of 2008, it sold 1.278 million cars and trucks, down 26% from the same period a year ago.

The economy has also adversely affected the automaker's ad spending. Chrysler spent $406 million in U.S. measured media in the first half of 2008 compared to $584 million during the same period of 2007, according to TNS Media Intelligence.

Chrysler's media agency PHD will not be affected by the cuts.

Longtime relationship
BBDO Detroit works with the Chrysler, Dodge and Jeep brands. BBDO has been involved with Chrysler since 1944; the automaker consolidated its account at parent Omnicom Group in 2000.

It isn't clear whether Chrysler is currently Omnicom's largest client; it was in 2006. The holding company has said its largest client (which it did not identify) accounts for 2.8% of revenue.

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Contributing: Jean Halliday, Rupal Parekh