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Stacey Vanek-Smith: The L.A. auto show is taking place this week, and carmakers are unveiling their latest creations. This year, plug-in hybrids are looming large. It’s been a rough couple of years for that industry, though — carmakers have slashed jobs, budgets, factories, even advertisers. Ad agency BBDO has done ads for Chrysler for decades, but no more, as Alisa Roth reports.
Alisa Roth: The Web site for BBDO’s Detroit office still has a link for people who want to work there. Good luck applying — the company says it’ll close its Detroit office soon, and almost 500 people will lose their jobs.
John Wolkonowicz: They’re trying to sort of start fresh, if you will.
It’s not just Chrysler and BBDO. All of the car companies are shopping around for new ad agencies.
John Wolkonowicz follows the auto industry at the consultant firm IHS Global Insight:
Wolkonowicz: People want to create a new situation. They want to try something new because clearly the old didn’t work.
Even so, the market for would-be Don Drapers is tough, because the auto advertising business follows the auto industry itself.
Kip Cassino tracks auto ads for Borrell Associates:
Kip Cassino: This coming year, 2010, will be a better year than last year, but that’s not saying much.
He says he doesn’t know what’ll happen to the BBDO employees who get laid off. But Chrysler’s already moved on. On Friday, the company said an agency in Minneapolis is working on its new commercials.
I’m Alisa Roth for Marketplace.