Fiat Chrysler, ad agency Wieden+Kennedy ‘parting ways’

Michael Wayland
The Detroit News

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV and its partner ad agency for several renowned ads since 2010, including Super Bowl spots with Eminem and Clint Eastwood, are “parting ways.”

The automaker and Wieden+Kennedy on Tuesday announced the split via a joint press release with statements from both companies. The Portland-based ad agency was FCA US’ lead ad agency for the Chrysler and Dodge brands but also worked on campaigns for the Jeep and Maserati brands over the last six years.

Most notably, Wieden+Kennedy was the agency behind Super Bowl ads such as the 2011 Emmy-winning “Born of Fire” with Eminem that debuted the tagline “Imported From Detroit,” and the company’s 2012 follow-up “Halftime in America” with actor Clint Eastwood. The company’s last Super Bowl ad with Fiat Chrysler was in 2014 for Maserati.

“Making your mark in the automotive category isn’t easy. But we’re damn proud of the one we made with FCA,” Tom Blessington, managing director of Wieden+Kennedy Portland in a statement. “We’re even more proud of the company’s turnaround. Parting ways is always hard, but sometimes it’s just the right call. We wish FCA all the best.”

Wieden+Kennedy also was partner with Fiat Chrysler on notable ad campaigns for the 2011 Chrysler 300 that featured rapper Dr. Dre, Detroit native fashion designer John Varvatos, and then-Detroit Lion Ndamukong Suh; the 2012 launch of the Dodge Dart; 2013’s Dodge partnership with actor Will Ferrell as character Ron Burgundy; and 2015’s “Drive Proud” campaign for the 2015 Chrysler 300 with narration by Peter Dinklage.

As recently as last month, the agency and automaker aired spots featuring the “Dodge Brothers” as well as a new campaign with actors Martin Sheen and Bill Pullman in honor of the election as well as Presidents Day.

“Since 2010, W+K and FCA have collaborated on memorable campaigns for many FCA brands,” said Fiat Chrysler Global Chief Marketing Officer Olivier Francois in a statement. “It has been a great partnership and as these things do go, it is now the right time for both the agency and FCA to seek other pursuits.”

The company did not announce which ad agency, or agencies, will replace Wieden+Kennedy. However Francois has been known not to rely exclusively on one agency for each brand like many automakers do. He often seeks creative ideas from several agencies.

The two companies are continuing to work together on unfinished business, said a spokeswoman for FCA US.

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