Chrysler Hires Ignite to Handle Social Media, Putting F-Bomb Incident Firmly Behind It

North Carolina-Based Shop Will Hire as Many as 40 New Staffers

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Five months after dumping Meredith Corp.-owned New Media Strategies over a Twitter debacle, Chrysler has named Ignite as its new social media agency of record.

Ignite takes over after NMS had barely worked with Chrysler a year before an employee in March accidentally fired off a crass tweet from Chrysler's Twitter handle. Perhaps worse than dropping the the F-bomb, the errant tweet disparaged the very city Chrysler had made the centerpiece of its "Imported From Detroit" Super Bowl ad featuring Eminem.

"I find it ironic that Detroit is known as the #motorcity and yet no one here knows how to fucking drive," the post said. Within 24 hours, Chrysler said it would not renew the shop's contract. The debacle prompted NMS to fire the employee.

Interestingly, despite its actions in March, Chrysler invited NMS to participate in the recent review and the firm accepted the invitation, executives familiar with the matter say.

NMS founder and CEO Pete Snyder told Ad Age : "We respect Chrysler greatly and wish them well as they continue one of the biggest business turnarounds in recent memory. We loved working with them and, quite simply, are a better company because of Chrysler. We remain dedicated to the city of Detroit and to the resurgence of the automotive industry."

Ignite, which is based in Raleigh, N.C., and also has an office in Birmingham, Mich., markets itself as the "original social media agency" and counts as clients Microsoft, Nike , Unicef and Samsung. It will handle social-media initiatives for the company's Ram Truck, Dodge, Chrysler, Jeep and Fiat brands. In a blog post on its website today, the agency said it's already looking to ramp up to handle the account; it plans to hire as many as 40 staffers.

Olivier Francois, president-CEO of the Chrysler brand, in a statement announcing Ignite's hire said: "Carried out in the right manner, social media can engage the consumer to the point where they want to not only participate in the conversation but to lead it and encourage others to do the same."

Right manner, indeed.

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