Chrysler Starts Minority Review

DaimlerChrysler’s Chry sler Group is inviting about two dozen agencies to pitch its minority advertising business, worth an esti mated $40-50 million in billings.

Shops that specialize in marketing to ethnic groups or to gay, lesbian and bisexual groups will receive a proposal request this week, said Chrysler Group representative James Kenyon.

The incumbent for African American work is Don Coleman Advertising in Southfield, Mich. Montemayor y Asociados in San Antonio handles Hispanic advertising.

“We fully expect [the incumbents] to participate vigorously in this review,” said Jeff Bell, Chrysler Group’s vice president of marketing communications, in a statement.

Chrysler has also been working on a project basis with Imada Wong Communications, Los Angeles, for Asian-American-directed work.

Kenyon said the total business generates revenue of $4-6 million a year.

The automaker has not decided whether it will consolidate the business at one agency or maintain several different shops, Kenyon said. The pro jected budget for mino rity and diversity efforts will remain the same, he said.

In his statement, Bell indicated the automaker is looking for a more cohesive strategy that cuts across various targets.

“We are moving away from solely dedicated creative for African Americans, Asian Americans, Hispanic Americans and the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender communities,” the statement read. “Instead, we are moving toward serving those dedicated markets and, at the same time, doing a much better job of urban marketing in general.”

RFPs are due back to the automaker April 15. At that point, the shops will be cut to an undetermined num ber and credentials will be checked, Kenyon said. A second cut will be made for final presentations. A decision is expected June 1.

Chrysler consoli dated the general-market portion of its $2.4 billion ac count at Omnicom’s PentaMark in late 2000. Both Don Coleman and Monte mayor are part of the Interpublic Group.

Kenyon said the two incumbents’ relationship with IPG did not trigger the review and nor will it affect the status of those shops in the review.

Carlos Montemayor said he expects his agency will defend but referred further questions to the client. Don Coleman could not be reached.