The global marriage of Daimler-Benz AG and Chrysler Corp. will create a media-buying powerhouse that will wield enormous clout on both sides of the Atlantic.
It also is expected to lead to reviews of the car brands' ad agencies in the United States and overseas because of conflicts, according to Advertising Age, a sister publication to Automotive News.
Omnicon Group's BBDO World-wide, which has separate units now buying media for the two carmakers on both sides of the Atlantic, may get more business from the new DaimlerChrysler AG, industry observers speculate.
The two spent a combined $1.7 billion in measured media globally last year, according to Competitive Media Reporting. And the $1.4 billion the pair spent last year in the United States would make the combined company the nation's No. 3 media spender.
At this point, ad agencies are in the dark about what will happen, and most expect it to be months before decisions are made.
An ad executive whose company works with one of the marketers said a media consolidation was already starting.
Daimler's Mercedes-Benz of North America Inc. uses Lowe & Partners/SMS of New York for its $100 million U.S. account. Ammir-ati Puris Lintas of Milan handles Mercedes in Italy. Both are owned by Interpublic Group of Cos.
Also, Lowe's General Motors work is expected to rise, now that Saab Automobile AB is expected to sign with Lowe Group in Sweden to be its global agency.
The potential problem is that Interpublic shops, including Mc-Cann-Erickson Worldwide of New York; Campbell-Ewald of Warren, Mich.; and Ammirati's New York office, count Chrysler competitor GM as a major global client.
McCann alone has more than $1 billion in billings from GM.
Although agency conflict rules increasingly are being relaxed across various product categories because of global consolidation, most observers would be surprised if GM would allow such a conflict to exist. Chrysler could also push for Lowe's removal.
Philip Guarascio, general manager of marketing and advertising at GM's North American Oper-ations, declined comment on the merger.
In the past, the car business has been fairly strict on agency conflicts. Jaguar Cars Ltd., acquired by Ford Motor Co. in 1989, started an agency review in early 1992, and eventually tapped Ford roster shop Ogilvy & Mather Worldwide of New York, dumping incumbent Geer DuBois.
Mazda North American Oper-ations held a review about one year after Ford took control of the carmaker. Chrysler had forced Mazda agency Foote, Cone & Belding of Santa Ana, Calif., to resign the business after the agency's parent, True North Communications, acquired Chrysler agency Bozell Worldwide of Southfield, Mich.
Mazda picked W.B. Doner & Co., which had handled six large Ford Division dealer ad groups.
Ford consolidated it nearly $2 billion in U.S. media spending for all its brands last year, counting Mazda and Jaguar, at Ford Motor Media of Detroit, a dedicated unit of J. Walter Thompson USA. Chrysler spent $1.3 billion in measured media in the United States last year, but just $128 million abroad.
Mercedes spent $208 million outside the United States in 1996, Competitive Media Reporting said.
Dodge Division agency BBDO of Southfield set up Pentacom as a subsidiary dedicated to handling all Chrysler Corp. media planning and buying, plus regional dealer group buys for Dodge. Chrysler has been considering giving Pentacom the media business for Chrysler, Plymouth and Jeep dealer ad groups, now handled by Bozell.
Mercedes' U.S. media buying could go to Pentacom if GM does not force Lowe to resign the account.
Carol Krol, Dagmar Mussey, Pat Sloan and Laurel Wentz of Advertising Age contributed to this report