Chrysler Plans to Cut Spending

Financially ailing Dai-mlerChrysler will cut ad spending by at least $100 million in 2002 for its Chrysler Group brands, a top marketing executive said.

Jim Schroer, executive vice president of global sales and marketing for the Chrysler Group, said he wants to spend just enough on marketing to maintain Chrysler’s market share from the fourth quarter of last year. “We owe it to our shareholders to get back into the black,” he said.

The marketing cut would follow lowered spending last year, when Chrysler spent $860 million during the first three quarters, a 15 percent drop from the same period a year earlier, according to CMR.

Chrysler’s lead agency is PentaMark. In addition to Schroer, Chrysler Group executives who put together the budget are Jeff Bell, vice president, marketing communications, and George Murphy, senior vice president, global brand marketing.

The automaker is at-tempting to concentrate spending cutbacks on production, which would continue a trend. The Chrysler Group produced 38 Dodge ads in 2000 but only 16 last year, with plans for 16-20 in 2002, Bell said.

Chrysler also plans to cut back on its upfront media buying in an effort to get better rates by buying what’s available later. Additionally, the company intends to fine-tune its Internet approach, Bell said.

Chrysler plans no corporate advertising in 2002. “All of the individual brands need to add value,” Schroer said. Corporate campaigns muddle the messages, he said, and they end up with “brand salad.”

Separately, the auto-maker has signed a multiyear partnership with Hypnotic, an entertainment and marketing services company. The firm will fashion an integrated marketing program for the 2002 Chry-sler Million Dollar Film Festival, a national contest for aspiring filmmakers.

The competition, which awards a $1 million feature-film production deal as its top prize, features distribution from Universal Pictures as part of the package.