Chrysler Group, in the midst of shuffling advertising agencies after swallowing a 36 percent drop in U.S. sales last year, today said it will use Wieden + Kennedy as the agency for its Dodge brand.
The Portland, Ore., ad agency is famous for Nike’s “Just Do It” campaign.
Chrysler also made official the names of the agencies handing creative work for its other brands:
Chrysler: Fallon in Minneapolis, a Publicis Groupe agency.
Jeep: Global Hue in suburban Detroit.
Ram: The Richards Group in Dallas.
The moves are part of a major shift at Chrysler Group under the management of Sergio Marchionne, CEO of both Chrysler and Italy’s Fiat.
Marchionne restructured Chrysler Group along brand lines, with each brand responsible for its own profit and loss. He appointed bosses for each brand and gave them responsibility for that brand’s advertising and marketing. Fiat is structured in the same way.
The agencies have their work cut out for them. Chrysler brand sales plunged 47 percent in 2009, while Dodge fell 33 percent and Jeep dropped 31 percent. Total industry sales plummeted 21 percent.
The change in ad agencies spelled the end of Chrysler’s long relationship with BBDO Detroit, whose contract ends this month. BBDO and agencies affiliated with its parent Omicom Group had handled all of Chrysler’s brands and media buying.
All of Chrysler’s media planning and buying in the United States, Canada and Mexico will be handled by UM, or Universal McCann.
“To establish a distinct identity and build upon the current brand equity, it is important that the Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep and Ram brands retain individual agencies that fit with the brand direction,” said Olivier Francois, Chrysler Group’s head of marketing.