Chrysler Review Group Widened

DaimlerChrysler’s Chrys- ler Group expanded the review committee overseeing its $50 million multicultural marketing account to include minority dealers and other minority business leaders, partly due to pressure from activists who are scrutinizing the process, sources said.

The review began March 28 with an all-white committee of marketing executives: Jim Schroer, George Murphy, Jeff Bell, Jay Kuhnie and Julie Roehm. Two weeks later, the committee grew to 20 people.

A Chrysler representative de clined to comment on the changes.

Rev. Al Sharpton met with Schroer, evp of sales and marketing, on April 15 to discuss the review, a Chrysler representative confirmed. Sharpton had contacted Chrysler prior to the meeting and the makeup of the committee was among his group’s concerns, said Rev. Horace Sheffield, president of the Michigan chapter of Sharpton’s National Action Network.

Sheffield said the group would continue to monitor the review, despite reassurances from Chrysler that only minority-owned agencies are being considered.

Finalists in the review are five alliances, consisting of 15 agencies with a wide variety of backgrounds and connections to the automaker.

The incumbent, GlobalHue, the recently formed partnership between Don Coleman Advertising and Montemayor y Asociadoes, plans to add an Asian-target agency to the partnership, executives said. GlobalHue is 49 percent owned by Interpublic.

An alliance called Array includes three New York agencies, two of which have handled Mercedes-Benz work in the past: Omnicom’s Footsteps (African American) and Admer asia (Asian). Hispan/America is the Hispanic-focused entity in the group.

Cooperative is made up of three independent New York shops: A Partnership Inc., Concept Farm/La Finca Creativa and PFI Marketing.

PASS Urban Powertrain includes Omnicom-owned PASS, New York, an African-American-focused agency co-founded by recording-industry executive Steve Stoute and Peter Arnell, whose Arnell Group works with Chrysler. The alliance also includes Cultura, Dallas; Osmosis Media Lab and L3, both in New York.

Finally, SIP includes Sanchez & Levitan, Miami, owned by Publicis; Prime Access, New York, and the IW Group, Los Angeles, which recently produced TV work for Chrysler.

The ad review now moves to the credentials phase, during which members of the review committee will visit the agencies. The top three agency groups will be invited to make presentations next month.