Chrysler Puts Interactive, Social-Media Duties up for Review

Incumbent Organic Will Defend One of Omnicom's Remaining Bits of Business With Automaker

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NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- One of Omnicom Group's last chunks of business with Chrysler is currently up for review.

Following the upheaval of creative, CRM and media accounts, the troubled carmaker has circulated request for proposals for long-term interactive-marketing duties as well as a social-media project to agencies including independents Sapient and AKQA, and Publicis Groupe's Razorfish. The incumbent, Omnicom's Organic, is defending its digital agency-of-record duties for the Dodge Ram, Jeep and Chrysler brands, according to executives familiar with the matter.

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Chrysler declined to comment.

Sapient is pitching both assignments. Razorfish is only participating in the social-media pitch, as the agency already handles Mercedes-Benz digital on a retainer basis. Because Benz parent Daimler no longer owns Chrysler, it would be a conflict, though the current leadership at the helm of Chrysler didn't seem worried about the conflict with media. Chrysler recently moved media planning and buying to Interpublic Group of Cos.' Universal McCann, which handles BMW and its Mini brand in the U.S. AKQA had been invited to pitch, but did not complete the RFP.

"It seems like they're talking to everybody," said one digital-agency executive. Existing automotive clients have been the major obstacle for digital agencies considering involvement in the review.

Traditionally, Chrysler's participation in social media has been scant; it has Facebook pages for its vehicle brands and is on Twitter in a rudimentary capacity. Chrysler Group was Ad Age's first Interactive Marketer of the Year with Organic in 2005. It was then owned by Daimler under marketers Jeff Bell and Julie Roehm, who have since left.

Chrysler Group handed Meredith Integrated Marketing its customer relationship management in the U.S. and Canada from Omnicom Group's BBDO Detroit, Troy, Mich. BBDO had handled national and regional dealer creative for all brands and will shutter the office in late January. The automaker is working with Richards Group, Dallas, for Ram creative; GlobalHue, Southfield, Mich., for Jeep; and Fallon, Minneapolis, for the Chrysler vehicle brand.

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