Six months after insulting tweet, Chrysler picks another social agency

Chrysler Group hired Ignite Social Media as its lead social agency this week after a review process. Expect the firm to be on its best behavior.

Remember Chrysler's epic, Detroit-promoting Super Bowl XLV ad? New Media Strategies (NMS), Ignite's predecessor, was sacked in March after one of its employees mocked the driving skills of Detroiters with a profane message sent from a Chrysler account. NMS fired the employee, but that wasn't enough to save the account for the agency.

Interestingly, Olivier Francois, president and CEO of the Chrysler brand, noted in a statement about the agency hire that “carried out in the right manner (emphasis mine), 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.”

It wasn't the first time an agency has stepped in it with a negative tweet about its client's hometown. Two years ago, a VP at PR firm Ketchum infuriated client FedEx when he said about Memphis, “I'm in one of those towns where I scratch my head and say, ‘I would die if I had to live here.'”

It goes without saying that neither of these tweets were well-thought out. And it makes me wonder if marketers put agencies through a “common sense test” during the RFP process.

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