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Chrysler Reviews Media Biz

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NEW YORK Chrysler has put its media assignment into review, according to sources.

Like many automakers, Chrysler has cut its ad spending sharply in the last couple of years. It spent $840 million in domestic measured media last year, way down from $1.8 billion in 2007, per Nielsen. The carmaker's spending totaled $270 million this year through August.

The incumbent is Omnicom Group's PHD; it could not be immediately determined if the shop would defend. Sources said that Chrysler defines PHD as a "tier-two" vendor, because it supplies media services through the agreement the client has with sibling agency BBDO, the client's lead creative shop.

Thus, just as BBDO's contract with Chrysler is set to expire in January 2010, so does PHD's contract to provide media services.

Sources said the client has preliminarily reached out to the incumbent as well as Aegis Group's Carat and Interpublic Group's Universal McCann. Carat has previous experience in the category, having handled the Hyundai/Kia account.

It wasn't clear if UM's BMW win earlier this year would prevent it from going after Chrysler. Sources said UM could try to persuade BMW that there isn't a conflict because BMW targets higher end consumers. According to Nielsen, BMW spent about $150 million on domestic ads in 2008. The UM assignment also includes an estimated $50 million in additional dealer chores.

The agencies either couldn't be reached or referred calls to the client. A Chrysler rep declined to comment.

Separately, Chrysler is also undertaking reviews for various fourth-quarter creative assignments.

See also:

"Executive Shifts Muddy Chrysler Review"

"Carmakers Change rules of the Game"

"Chrysler Awards Jeep Project to GlobalHue"