New BBDO Unit Is Born: 3 Detroit Shops in PentaMark Serve Chrysler

DETROIT-BBDO Worldwide is creating a new subsidiary named PentaMark to oversee BBDO Detroit, Ross Roy Communications and PentaCom, which service Chrysler Corp. almost exclusively.
BBDO Detroit, with offices in Southfield, Mich., handles Dodge car and truck advertising and all Dodge Dealer Association work; Standard Federal Bank is its lone non-Chrysler client.
Ross Roy, in Bloomfield Hills, Mich., handles a wide variety of integrated services for all Chrysler brands and their dealers, including direct marketing, merchandising and interactive work.
PentaCom, in Troy, Mich., created in 1993, handles all Chrysler national media planning and buying, worth more than $500 million.
“If you extend the philosophy of PentaCom, you naturally end up at PentaMark,” said Jim Holden, Chrysler’s executive vice president of sales and marketing.
“I believe there are a lot of efficiencies that can accrue to all the agencies and us and make the whole system more efficient,” he said.
Chrysler’s increased use of direct marketing necessitates more collaboration between the agencies so that merchandising programs are in line with advertising, Holden said.
“It has to be an integrated marketing plan for it to work,” Holden said. “An awful lot of what we do is with our partners at Ross Roy. And I’m not trying to steer business one place or the other, but I want to make sure I’ve got an integrated marketing network that pretty much covers all fronts.”
The three agencies, which will continue to operate as stand-alone units, have reported to Tom Clark, BBDO Worldwide vice chairman and chairman of BBDO Detroit.
Clark will add the role of chief executive officer for the PentaMark unit. The remainder of the PentaMark executive team-about 10-will be named within 60 days. The three units maintain their names, offices and top management.
“We knew what we were doing when we acquired Ross Roy in terms of the way the world is going, with increasing [the] importance of below-the-line services,” Clark said.
“It was a natural for us and for Chrysler. But we may have been too casual in thinking, ‘We’ll make it all work together and have [the units] report to one guy.’ It worked a little.”
But perhaps not well enough, he said. The three agencies worked truly in unison for the first time on the recent launch of the Dodge Dakota. They meshed, but the process was “imperfect,” Clark said.
“We think there’s a better way,” he added. “With a small group with oversight [for all three agencies], we think things will coalesce better and make improvements for us and
for Chrysler.”
Bozell Worldwide’s Southfield, Mich., office handles corporate advertising for Chrysler and the Chrysler/Plymouth and Jeep/Eagle divisions. BBDO parent Omnicom’s recent bid for Bozell was turned down.
Any thought of pressuring Bozell to reconsider a unification of the Chrysler account was “not part of the equation” in creating PentaMark, Clark said.
PentaMark’s single-focus dedication to integrating Chrysler’s advertising poses no threat to Bozell’s relationship with the automaker, Holden said.
“Are there political boundaries between agencies? Certainly there are. There always have been and will be,” he said. “But we’re trying to make sure that we get all of our agency partners, including Bozell, to utilize some of the central services that make it more efficient. That’s all it’s about. And I think Bozell will be fine with it.”