Chrysler Reportedly Reviewing Its Interactive and Social-Media Strategy

Chrysler Group is in the process of reviewing it social-media and interactive advertising strategy. Following the recent shake ups in customer relations management, creative, and media management, the automaker is accepting proposals for its interactive and social-media marketing management. Among the agencies under consideration are Publicis Groupe’s Razorfish, Sapient and AKQA.

Ominicom Organic, the automaker’s incumbent agency is reportedly attempting to retain their current digital agency-of-record status for Chrysler, Dodge Ram and Jeep.

Sapient is reportedly vying for both the interactive and social-media management. Razorfish, which currently handles Mercedes-Benz’ digital management on a retainer basis, is bidding only on Chrysler’s social-media management.

Chrysler recently awarded its media planning and buying to Universal McCann which also manages BMW’s U.S. online marketing for its Mini brand. Although AKQA received a request for proposal, the agency has not yet responded.

The automaker does not seem to be predisposed to any particular agency, prompting one digital agency executive to comment, "It seems like they’re talking to everybody.”

Chrysler’s current involvement in social-media is limited to Facebook pages for each of its brands and a very limited presence on Twitter. In 2005, when the automaker was under the control of German automaker, Daimler, it was honored as first-ever Advertising Age “Marketer of the Year with Organic”.

As online marketing has garnered greater ad spends, Chrysler’s domestic competitors have had varying degrees of success. On the same day it emerged from bankruptcy this past summer, General Motors Company conducted a pilot program to market its California dealers using E-Bay. Neither GM nor E-Bay disclosed the official results of the pilot but The Los Angeles Times reported that in the final two weeks of the program, it only generated 13 confirmed sales on over 21,000 listings by participating dealerships.

Ford Motor Company reportedly had great success with its “Fiesta Movement” social-media campaign to heighten awareness of the 2010 launch of its redesigned Fiesta small car in the U.S. The elaborate campaign, which employed user-created online videos generated 3.5 million video views and increased brand awareness by 38% among the 16- to 24-year-old demographic. However, only time will tell how well that increased awareness translates into sales.

Chrysler recently moved its customer relationship management from Ominicom Group’s BBDO or Detroit to Meredith Integrated Marketing (MIM). BBDO had managed the national and regional dealer creative duties for all of Chrysler’s brands. The transfer of duties to MIM is scheduled to occur in late January.

Dallas-based Richards Group is currently handling the company’s Ram Truck creative. Creative for Chrysler’s Jeep brand is being handled by GlobalHue of Southfield, Michigan, and creative for the Chrysler brand is being handled by the Fallon agency of Minneapolis, which also counts Johnson Controls among its clientele.

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