DCX’s Due Diligence

The sheer magnitude of the review that pits BBDO against FCB Worldwide for DaimlerChrysler’s $1.5 billion business demands that at least a month be taken to make the decision, even though it’s ostensibly all about numbers, a company representative said.

“We want to be very careful,” said Debra Nelson, DaimlerChrysler senior manager, group marketing, diversity and North American regional communications. “We just want to be certain to make the very best decision that we can on behalf of both our company and the agencies involved. Rather than doing it speedily, we wanted to give ourselves enough time to make a very deliberate decision.”

Outwardly, both shops have expressed confidence. Inside BBDO headquarters, a billboard has been erected that reads, “It’s going to be different, all right,” a play on the agency’s “Dodge. Different,” tagline for the automaker.

At FCB, president and chief executive officer Michael J. Vogel has been using the skills he learned as a U.S. Marine Corps. Colonel to rally the troops.

Said to be poring over presentations made Oct. 5 and 6 at the client, a committee that includes Joe Casola, vice president, global marketing operations; Tom Marinelli, vice president—Chrysler/-Jeep global brand center; Jim Julow, Dodge vice president; Bud Liebler, senior vice president Chrysler group marketing; and Ted Cunningham, executive vice president—global sales and marketing. Company president Jim Holden is not on the committee but ultimately must sign off on its decision.

The automaker’s worldwide Chrysler, Jeep and corporate brand creative is currently handled by Southfield, Mich.-based FCB Worldwide, a subsidiary of True North Communications. BBDO Worldwide, Troy, Mich., a unit of Omnicom Group, handles Dodge creative. Also in play is media buying and planning, currently handled by another Omnicom unit, PentaCom, also in Troy.