DETROIT - The Chrysler group last week selected five semifinalists for its multicultural advertising account. Most of the semifinalists are alliances of minority agencies that have been formed to bid for the account. The semifinalists - and the alliance partners - are:
1. Array - Footsteps Group, Admerasia Inc., Hispan/America LLC.
2. Cooperative - A Partnership Inc., Concept Farm/LaFinca Creativa, PFI Marketing.
3. GlobalHue - formerly the incumbents Don Coleman Advertising and Montemayor y Associados.
4. PASS Urban Powertrain - PASS, Cultura, Osmosis Media Lab, L3 Advertising.
5. SIP - Publicis Sanchez & Levitan, Imada Wong Communications Group Inc., Prime Access Inc.
Chrysler put its black and Hispanic advertising accounts into review March 28. Instead of targeting ethnic groups, the winning alliance of agencies will focus on urban marketing. Urban ads include whatever is trendy, such as music and fashion, combined with references from various cultures in an effort to reach consumers of all ages and colors.
The review has drawn critics, including the Rev. Jesse Jackson and the Rev. Al Sharpton. They fear Chrysler will abandon multicultural agencies. Racial minorities own at least 51 percent of all the agencies within the five semifinal alliances, according to Chrysler.
George Murphy, Chrysler's senior vice president of global brand marketing, said the Chrysler group will increase its multicultural marketing budget substantially from the approximately $40 million it spent last year - the most in the automotive industry. Murphy would not give a figure, but some sources at Chrysler said it could represent 25 percent to 30 percent of the group's $1 billion ad budget.
Chrysler plans to select three of the five alliances as finalists. They will make pitches in May, and the winner will be chosen June 1.