Last Friday, a Fiat Chrysler spokesperson told us that the auto brand had not yet completed the latest stage of its ongoing creative review.
AdAge, however, talked to sources which may or may not have included CMO Olivier Francois in preparation for this week’s Detroit Auto Show. They learned late Friday evening that the carmaker will (allegedly) hand the creative lead for its Jeep and Fiat brands to FCB while bringing DDB onboard to handle the American relaunch of the Alfa Romeo model. According to those sources, the Chicago* offices of FCB and DDB will be working on the business.
We heard about FCB early last week, though the DDB win did come as a surprise…as did the claim that Translation will be working on global Jeep campaigns.
Doner and The Richards Group were selected to promote the limited-edition Alfa Romeo last March, and the former launched the U.K.-based “Made of Red” campaign in June; it would appear, based on this most recent development, that FCA (Fiat Chrysler Automobiles) has even more ambitious plans for the Romeo in the United States.
Last March the Jeep brand officially parted ways with GlobalHue, which made its Bob Dylan-starring Super Bowl ad in 2014, after four years together. After the split, GlobalHue abandoned all Detroit operations, relocated to New York and (we hear) laid off a significant number of staffers.
While Francois implied at the time that FCA was no longer interested in the creative AOR model, the brand did confirm in August that it was looking for agencies to play lead on Jeep and Fiat. In October the company completed a separate review of its digital business, moving a share of work away from incumbent SapientNitro and adding Huge to its roster. (The IPG shop followed with a soft opening for its forthcoming office outside Detroit.)
We hear that a large group of agencies pitching Alfa Romeo included GS&P and Wieden + Kennedy in addition to DDB.
So far, it doesn’t seem that any shops will lose significant business due to this latest decision by FCA. W+K remains the creative lead for Chrysler/Dodge brand work, and Doner/The Richards Group will continue working with the client (which also recently hired 72andSunny for project-based Jeep work) on various projects.
We’ve reached out to Fiat Chrysler again today but have yet to receive a response. We do, however, know that an Alfa Romeo ad will run during the Super Bowl. Francois also told AdAge that FCA will be “more prolific than ever” in promoting Jeep this year and that he will continue to avoid naming an AOR for any of his company’s brands.
Jump-ball pitches forever, then.
*Not Detroit, obviously. We made a typo.