After several months’ worth of anonymous tips and nearly as many cases of obfuscation, FCA (FIAT Chrysler Automobiles) finally confirmed this weekend that Global Hue will no longer work on the Jeep account in any capacity.
From Chrysler’s corporate communications office:
“Global Hue’s position as the agency of record (AOR) for the Jeep brand has ended.”
Global Hue first won global project work for the Jeep brand back in September 2009; prior to that date, the agency handled multicultural assignments and the launch of Jeep Compass. At the time, our own Matt Van Hoven saw the win as “a litmus test for future assignments and, possibly, AOR responsibility.”
His guess was accurate; the agency officially announced its AOR status in January 2010 after launching the “I live. I ride. I am. Jeep.” campaign and created work for the brand for nearly five years — a period that culminated with Bob Dylan asking Super Bowl XLVIII viewers, “Is there anything more American than America?” (Other recent work included a campaign built around the posthumous Michael Jackson single “Love Never Felt So Good.”)
In early 2014, Crain’s Detroit and others saw the Super Bowl ad as an entry into the world of larger accounts, but we began receiving anonymous tips about tension between client and agency at least six months ago.
You may also recall that The Richards Group produced this year’s Jeep Super Bowl ad, another meditation on the United States set to the words of noted socialist Woody Guthrie (Adweek compared that campaign unfavorably to recent work by Mekanism for The North Face).
According to Chrysler, this pivot from one shop to another reflects FCA CMO Olivier Francois‘ desire to make use all of the agencies on his roster when he sees fit: The Richards Group also created the “Blue Pill” Super Bowl spot for FIAT this year, and Doner created the Diddy-starring ad “Mirage” from early 2014 while Wieden + Kennedy remains global agency of record for the larger Chrysler brand.
In January we reported that the agency was “in negotiations” with FCA regarding the Jeep account, and that may have been technically true — assuming that the contract had not yet expired on that date. When another source told us that A to Si — a multi-lingual agency tied to GH — had lost the English-to-French translation work for Jeep, a spokesperson again implied that GlobalHue would retain its creative role.
Last week’s post about the agency’s plans to relocate from Detroit to New York City also included only half of the story: the reason Global Hue had to fire “quite a few” people in its Detroit office was because it had just lost its largest account. The agency claims to have begun moving executive teams and operations to New York several months ago, so the loss most likely did not come as a complete surprise.
What will FIAT Chrysler do next regarding the Jeep account? Since the company already works with W+K, Richards, and others, it does not necessarily need to look outside its own roster to find a new creative AOR for Jeep.
Here’s a statement from a company spokesperson:
“Olivier Francois and his team are currently working in partnership with the company’s dedicated roster of agencies on behalf of all brand advertising and marketing initiatives, including Jeep brand campaigns. The Company currently works in partnership with multicultural advertising agencies including Lopez-Negrete and Richards Lerma, and is actively reviewing agencies that specialize in African-American marketing and advertising.”
Expect more agency news to come from Chrysler.