Six Months After Firing NMS, Chrysler Picks a Social Agency

Chrysler Group has once again consolidated its social media activities with an agency partner, six months after an errant tweet led to the sacking of previous social agency New Media Strategies.

The company named Ignite Social Media as lead social agency following a review. The assignment includes strategic planning, development and production of social media initiatives for its Ram Truck, Dodge, Chrysler, Jeep and Fiat brands.

In response to the win, Ignite plans to hire approximately 40 new staff in Detroit and Raleigh, NC, where it’s based. Desired skill areas include account services, social monitoring, community engagement/management, art direction, and copywriting.

The assignment brings closure to a mini-drama that started in March, when an NMS staffer mistakenly tweeted an unfortunate message from the @ChryslerAutos account. The tweet said, “I find it ironic that Detroit is known as the #motorcity and yet no one here knows how to fucking drive.”

The agency apologized and fired the employee but the gesture did not placate Chrysler, which had staked its newest advertising, including its 2011 Super Bowl spot, on Detroit pride. It sacked NMS.

“So why were we so sensitive?” the company wrote in a blog post. “That commercial featuring the Chrysler 200, Eminem and the City of Detroit wasn’t just an act of salesmanship. This company is committed to promoting Detroit and its hard-working people.”

Since then, Chrysler’s brands have managed their social media activities independently.

In a statement today, Chrysler marketing chief Olivier Francoi had this to say: “Social media continues to play an integral role in our marketing and advertising efforts as it connects each brand directly to their consumer and enables us to develop a relationship with them. Carried out in the right manner social media can engage the consumer to the point where they want to not only participate in the conversation but to lead it and encourage others to do the same.”

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