The Pitches for Chrysler AOR Have Begun

By Matt Van Hoven 

Request for qualifications are just what they sound like, but in the case of Chrysler/Fiat, which just took meetings from four agencies, many questions remain: who will be the next AOR? What’s up for bid? Who is pitching for it? We’ll answer all that, as best we can, below.

Sources close to the agencies involved tell AgencySpy that each of the major brands under the Fiat nameplate are up for grabs (Chrysler, Ram, Dodge, Fiat &#151 and everything beneath that). We don’t know for sure if that means AOR status or not, but a source claims that the client hasn’t decided what to do yet &#151 one AOR or many, or a couple, to share the work. Here’s the details, which you won’t find anywhere else.

The client’s contract with BBDO ends in January, 2010 &#151 that’s not new information. But when you put out an RFQ, it signals a few things:

&#151 the client wants to know what else is out there
&#151 the client knows something better must exist, somewhere
&#151 the client might not realize what it has
&#151 the client [fill in the blank]

Fine. Moving along, you probably want to know who is involved. One source informs us that Crispin, Wieden, Hal Riney and Global Hue are in the mix. They pitched earlier this week, one after another. There may be others, but we haven’t heard.

Next: what’s up for bid? Pretty much everything, potentially.
&#151 General Market
&#151 Millenial
&#151 Multi-cultural
&#151 Social media
&#151 AOR status

Organic, who currently handles social media and whose contract also ends soon (this year, if memory serves), is allegedly in need of some help.

Advertising can’t solve everything. Example: name a Chrysler minivan for me, without Google’s help. So, Crispin has the advantage there &#151 their branding skills are in check. However, their size doesn’t compliment the breadth of work *potentially* up for grabs. Then again, if the work is parsed out among several shops &#151 which could save the brand some money &#151 branding duties could go one way, etc. But for AOR, my money is on none of them. Spreading things out seems the most likely given their unhappiness with BBDO’s 360 coverage (including CRM, dealer training, local market adaptation, call centers et al).

General Market could be anyone’s game, though we feel some have better capabilities than others (I’d go into detail here, but that would risk a source, so you’ll have to wait on that. Actually, there’s a lot I can’t tell you right now. Sorry.).

Multicultural is obvious.

Millenial: no idea who has the best chance here, as this is one of those amorphous blobs that the economy seems to be preventing anyone from pinning down right now. Nonetheless, the pitches happened.

As for the client not taking an RFQ meeting with BBDO: well, either they already know what BBDO can do or don’t care. We’ll probably never know, but it’s certainly a slap in the face to the shop that has a 60-year relationship with the company, oh, and who stuck with Chrysler through bankruptcy. But the trades seem to think it’s over between BBDO and Chrysler/Fiat. Whatever, with four different owners in ten years, who’d want to work for them anyway?

Crispin doesn’t comment on new business. Chrysler is in the dark until Sergio gets his stuff together. BBDO referred calls to the client while Wieden, Global Hue and Riney didn’t respond soon enough. They can’t really say anything anyway, as Chrysler are total hard-asses about new business and, well, blogs in general. They’ll probably give AdAge and AdWeek something by Monday, so check with them later. Here’s some background from Crain’s on the alleged BBDO split (would have linked to AdAge, but it’s behind their snazzy pay wall. I guess it’s all the same to them in the end).

More:BBDO, Chrysler to Call it a Day in 2010?