BBDO opening Detroit unit to help service Chrysler

By Published on .

BBDO Worldwide is forming a Detroit-based subsidiary dedicated to Chrysler Corp.

The new holding company, PentaMark, will be announced today. Iit is aimed at improving coordination between BBDO's Detroit office and two Chrysler-oriented subsidiaries: PentaCom, the media planning and buying arm based in Troy, Mich.; and Ross Roy Communications, Bloomfield Hills.

Tom Clark, vice chairman of BBDO Worldwide and chairman-CEO of BBDO, Detroit, will become CEO of PentaMark. Mr. Clark did not return phone calls last week seeking comment on the new unit.

NO IMMEDIATE CHANGES

BBDO doesn't expect any immediate changes at the three agencies involved, but down the road there may be steps taken to consolidate overlapping functions, said one executive close to the situation.

The executive said James Holden, Chrysler exec VP-sales and marketing, is "very supportive" of BBDO's move to improve integrated marketing for Chrysler's Dodge brand and all Dodge dealer ad groups handled by BBDO.

Mr. Holden was unavailable for comment. A Chrysler spokesman confirmed PentaMark's formation but referred questions to BBDO.

IMPACT ON BOZELL?

Still undetermined is whether BBDO's action will have any impact on the Southfield, Mich., office of Bozell Worldwide, which has the U.S. and international business for the Chrysler, Plymouth, Jeep and Eagle brands and Chrysler's corporate account.

Mike Vogel, president of the Bozell office, said he wasn't aware of BBDO's move and therefore couldn't comment on it. But he said he didn't expect the change to have any impact on Bozell's working relationship with BBDO, Ross Roy and PentaCom.

Chrysler has made it known that it isn't thrilled with talks by Bozell's parent, Bozell, Jacobs, Kenyon & Eckhardt, to be acquired by True North Communications.

The carmaker has said it has concerns over a potential conflict with True North's Foote, Cone & Belding, which handles Mazda Motor of America from its offices in Santa Ana, Calif., and San Francisco.

CHANGES IN MEXICO

In unrelated moves, Chrysler will shift its national Mexican catalog and direct mail accounts to Ross Roy and national media planning and buying to PentaCom; both had been handled by Bozell.

Chrysler said the moves mirror the way the accounts are handled in the U.S. and Canada and don't reflect any unhappiness with Bozell.

Bozell still will do dealer work in Mexico. Bozell's Mexico City office will finish 1998 catalogs before that account moves to Ross Roy. The size of the accounts wasn't revealed, but they are expected to grow as Chrysler pushes sales in Mexico.

Copyright July 1997, Crain Communications Inc.

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