• Sep 18, 2009
Chrysler isn't happy with its current marketing partner BBDO, and the Auburn Hills, MI-based automaker has put the word out that it would like some fresh perspective. Among the suitors vying for the $1.1 billion account is Grey, a London-based ad agency under the ownership of holding company WPP. Grey was reportedly scheduled to pitch their new ideas to the Pentastar on September 22nd, but the agency seems to have hit a Tsunami-sized snag.

WPP is the agency of choice for Ford Motor Company, and Ad Age says the nations 11th largest advertiser isn't keen on the idea of sharing its resource with its cross-town rival. If this story is true, we're sure WPP wasn't all to happy with the Blue Oval, but when you spend $1.9 billion per year on advertising, you tend to have a bit of pull with your suppliers. And if you spend that much money, why would you want to share your ad company's creative talent with a competitor? Chrysler's ad deal with BBDO runs through January of 2010.

[Source: Ad Age]


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  • 25 Comments
      • 5 Years Ago
      MINI USA just switched to a UK based ad agency. Their new ads are so awful that maybe Ford should encourage Chrysler to go overseas. While they are at it, they need to bring their $ home too. While Ford ads don't feature half naked drug addicts (yet) they haven't been exactly classics either.
      • 5 Years Ago
      If WPP wants Chrysler/Fiat business so bad, they can "fire" Ford Motor Company and solicit the business.

      What? they don't want to give up nearly $2 billion in revenues? Then they can live with the consequences of being bound by Golden Handcuffs. I don't blame Ford for its attitude on this one bit ... if I was in the same position, I'd dump WPP in a heartbeat.
        • 5 Years Ago
        These commenters are phenomenally ignorant:

        First, the $2 billion is NOT "revenue." That's the budget they spend on advertising. The agency gets a tiny fraction of that as revenue through a fee. Second, WPP is a holding company, not an agency. They own J. Walter Thompson, Ford's agency of 80 or so years. They also own Grey Advertising, which wants to pitch Chrysler. The only overlap exists at the boardroom of WPP.

        This is pretty typical stuff but Ford appears to be playing "jealous girlfriend" given the distance between totally different agencies. Either way, strategic clients like Ford get what they want.

        • 5 Years Ago
        Umm, that's $2 billion in exclusive no-bid contract business. There's got to be a clause in there somewhere backing up Ford's actions.
      • 5 Years Ago
      I'm not sure what it's like in the ad world, but I work for a large company that owns mulitple smaller ones in the same industry. My company has no qualms about transferring people from one company to the next to move expertise where needed, so I'm sure Ford is looking at the possibility of inter-corporate movement and saying they want nothing to do with a corporation that owns two companies doing work for competing auto companies.

      If WPP doesn't like it, they can give up the Ford contract and sign with Chrysler, who's add budget won't be half of Ford's for a long time.
      • 5 Years Ago
      All's fair in love and war.....
      • 5 Years Ago
      2 billion for unmemorable commercials with Mike Rowe?? Hey Chrysler... Instead of the usual Mike Rowe or Howie Long commercials, or the ones that flash "cash back" or "1.9% Financing" all over the screen... Hire some foreign ad agencies that are actually original and push the envelope. Let's be honest, what do you have to lose?
        • 5 Years Ago
        Epyx - that was mighty brutal, and equally funny ... lol
        • 5 Years Ago
        You mean like the"foreign" London-based ad agency that Ford is using and Chrysler wants?

        Read the article dumbass.
      • 5 Years Ago
      what's ridiculous is that ford's contract with wpp only lasts a few more months. are they really supposed to turn down chrysler when they don't even know if ford will be their client in a few months?
      • 5 Years Ago
      Dear Autoblog, we know that Chrysler is an "Auburn Hills, MI-based automaker". There's not need to reflexively add that little piece of awkward writing every time you mention the name, so please stop. Thanks!
      • 5 Years Ago
      I'll correct part of my previous comment (and its grammar). MOST of u are commenting on a business about which u know nothing.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Is it so hard to spell "you"? Maybe you are texting this from your phone? I would think from the rest of the big words, "you" would be easy...
      • 5 Years Ago
      My God is Ford arrogant. Who do they think they are?

      Screw Ford...WPP can do business with whom they want.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Agreed. This is a serious COI issue. During my time with BBDO I learned that one of the few things the auto companies did take seriously was industrial espionage of any type.

        They'll drop the bid. The Ford contract is not worth losing over the Chrysler one. Trust me.

        Though, I don't suppose we can expect a guy who clearly hates Ford to really understand the intricacies of this arrangement...
        • 5 Years Ago
        Matt, you are completely correct, they can do business with anyone they want. Likewise, Ford can choose to NOT do business with anyone then want. But lets think about this. What is in WPP's best interest? Sticking with a near $2 billion contract that they have with Ford or pitch their company to Chrysler without any sort of guarantee that 1) they win the contract and 2) no guarantee Chrysler will be able to afford as much in ad dollars as Ford.

        Don't be stupid.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Wrong. This is a conflict of interest and Ford has every right to raise the issue. It's like Coke and Pepsi having the same ad agency. They are undoubtedly privy to information about new products well before it is introduced to the general public and you don't want that going on with a company who is also handling a chief competitor.
      • 5 Years Ago
      WPP isn't an agency. It's a holding group that owns many agencies. What probably happened is that another WPP agency was going to pitch the Chrysler work and Ford doesn't want them to. In that case, it's pretty out there to think that they should be able to control separate entities just so they don't get their feelings hurt.
      • 5 Years Ago
      U are all commenting on a business u know nothing about. What none of you understand is the concept of "conflict." It is well-established in the marketing communications industry for decades that if you have one major client in a product category, then you do not work for another major client in same business. Period. Coke would never allow it's agency to work for Pepsi, nor Nike for Adidas. It's the fault of the major ad agency holding companies. All the agencies that were independents and could vie for big fish like Ford and Chrysler are now owned by huge holding companies. For example, WPP owns, ad agencies J. Walter Thompson, Ogilvy & Mather, Young & Rubicam, and Grey, direct-marketing giant Wunderman and PR giant Hill & Knowlton, as well as several other marketing communications companies, most of which work for Ford. Because WPP bought up all these companies over the last 3 decades and cultivated a huge, lucrative relationship with Ford, they are out of the running for Chrysler. That's the way the cookie crumbles.
      • 5 Years Ago
      It's not like chrysler has anything worth advertising other than the challenger anyway. Which they seem to have no interest in advertising......
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