DETROIT -- Chrysler LLC, which just got a $4 billion federal bridge loan to keep it afloat, is moving the Jeep account back to BBDO, Detroit, effective immediately.
Chrysler shifts Jeep advertising account back to BBDO
BBDO lost Jeep's national and regional creative account almost two years ago to Omnicom Group sibling Cutwater, San Francisco, after Chrysler invited several of the holding company's shops to bid for the business.
It was Cutwater's first account and followed a year in which Chrysler had spent $330 million in measured media on the Jeep brand. But Jeep's ad budget was slashed in 2008, the worst U.S. new-vehicle sales year for the industry since 1992.
Chrysler spent only $108.6 million in U.S. measured media on the brand in the first 10 months of 2008 vs. $244 million during the same period in 2007, according to TNS Media Intelligence.
The marketer made the move "to maximize our efficiencies and effectiveness of our efforts going forward," said Steve Landry, senior vice president of North American sales and marketing, in a statement. Chrysler told select dealers about the shift this week.
Cutwater founder Chuck McBride declined to comment, as did a spokesman for BBDO.
Even with a broadened lineup, the all-SUV brand sold 333,901 units in the U.S. last year, about a 30 percent drop from a year earlier, according to the Automotive News Data Center.
Chryslers total sales of Jeep, Dodge and Chrysler vehicles also fell 30 percent, the biggest decline of any automaker in a year when industry sales were down 18 percent.
Jeep's peak year was 1999, when it sold more than 544,000 vehicles and there were fewer SUV competitors. Jeep suffered last year when record high gasoline prices drove consumers from large and midsize SUVs.