Dennis invites celebrity friends to speak at Jalen Rose Leadership academy

Stellantis Adds Detroit Firm Led By Archer Jr. To Its Marketing Roster

Stellantis NV on Thursday announced it has added Ignition Media Group, a Detroit-based boutique marketing and consulting firm led by Dennis Archer Jr., to its roster of outside marketing agencies.

The transatlantic automaker will work with Ignition’s Soundcheck practice, which will “serve as a sounding board and multicultural thought partner, to assist in shaping and fortifying Stellantis’ media and marketing strategies,” according to a news release. Ignition’s work will focus on Stellantis’ North American brands, including Alfa Romeo, Chrysler, Dodge, Fiat, Jeep and Ram.

“The addition of Ignition Media Group to our strategic marketing partner roster will help us provide a smarter, more comprehensive and cohesive approach to our media and marketing strategies, providing us with more candid assessments to consumer facing work overall,” Marissa Hunter, vice president of marketing for Stellantis North America, said in a statement.

“Through this newly formed alliance with Ignition Media Group,” she added, “our commitment to minority-owned economic empowerment also continues to evolve and take shape, ensuring that we are both audience aware and culturally inclusive across our multi-brand portfolio.”

In a statement, Archer Jr., the son of former Detroit Mayor Dennis Archer, said his team is “ecstatic to be working with Stellantis and to join them on their path toward ensuring their marketing messaging is representative of their current and desired consumer base.”

The partnership between Stellantis and Ignition grew out of a long-standing relationship between the two companies, Archer told The Detroit News. Ignition had worked with Stellantis’ predecessors over the years, and the marketing firm most recently helped the automaker on its DEI strategies and messaging.

“Stellantis, like many companies around the country, began to take a closer look at how they were addressing or managing through their DEI efforts as a result of being triggered in large part by George Floyd,” Archer said, referring to the 2020 murder of an unarmed Black man by a Minneapolis police officer. “Stellantis, like others, had efforts in place, but they wanted to take another look at it.”

Ignition provided feedback on the automaker’s internal and external messaging, hiring efforts and advertising campaigns, Archer said.

Now, under a longer-term agreement, “We’re there to make sure … that the messages resonate with as broad of audiences as possible and that consumers feel welcome to the Stellantis brands,” he said. “Our role is to support the internal infrastructure that they have and to work alongside their external agencies to collectively ensure the messaging is inclusive, effective and still impactful.”

Stellantis recently has bolstered some of its other DEI initiatives. Earlier this year, for example, the automaker announced it was partnering with the National Business League to create a one-stop solution for Black suppliers across industries to obtain training and access to capital and contracts with Fortune 500 companies and the federal government.

Development of that program came as executives from several Black-owned media companies launched a campaign criticizing corporations, including some in the automotive industry. The executives, including Bryon Allen, owner of The Weather Channel and other outlets, took out prominently-placed newspaper ads claiming General Motors Co. CEO Mary Barra refused to meet with them. In response, GM said it would double its commitment for spending with Black-owned media to 4% by 2022, with a goal of reaching 8% by 2025.

In addition to serving as CEO of Ignition Media Group, Archer is the president and founding partner of Archer Corporate Services. He also has a hospitality holding company, works in real estate development and has served on the boards of numerous civic, philanthropic and business organizations. He was appointed by Barra to serve on GM’s Inclusion Advisory Board.

Dbusiness daily update: Stellantis signs Ignition Media Group to assist with Marketing Strategy

Our roundup of the latest news from metro Detroit and Michigan businesses as well as announcements from government agencies, including updates about the COVID-19 pandemic. To share a business or nonprofit story, please send us a message.

Detroit’s Rebel Nell Makes List of 100 Corporate-ready Social Enterprises

Detroit-based Rebel Nell, which repurposes meaningful materials into wearable art while providing jobs, equitable opportunity, and support for women with barriers to employment, is included in Accumen and IKEA’s list of the top 100 corporate-ready social enterprises.

The list is part of a report titled “Corporate-Ready: How Corporations and Social Enterprises Do Business Together to Drive Impact,” which has a goal of supporting increased access to corporate value chains for social enterprises, and to learn what it means for social enterprises to be corporate-ready.

“With conscious consumerism on the rise and demand for businesses to affect positive change in the world, it’s more important now than ever to show your commitment to change and demonstrate your company values in all aspects,” the report quotes Rebel Nell. “Rebel Nell is the answer! We offer high-quality gifts that are thoughtful and have an impact.

The social enterprises on the list are a subset of the “many incredible organizations that were nominated and that responded to Acumen’s corporate-readiness survey,” according to Acumen. “The list offers a glimpse into the transformational impact and value that is created when social enterprises and corporations do business together.”

The report was led by Acumen and supported by IKEA Social Entrepreneurship, developed in collaboration with members of the World Economic Forum’s COVID Response Alliance for Social Entrepreneurs.

Coppercraft Distillery Releases Honolulu Blue in Partnership with the Detroit Lions

Coppercraft Distillery in Holland, southwest of Grand Rapids, has released its exclusive, limited-edition, Honolulu Blue premium canned cocktail crafted in partnership with the Detroit Lions.

The blue raspberry lemonade and vodka-based cocktail pays tribute to the history of the NFL franchise both in name and with its color. The release of Honolulu Blue expands the Holland-based distillery’s popular ready-to-drink portfolio to eight products and will be sold at select Michigan retailers, at Ford Field, and within Coppercraft Distillery’s tasting rooms in Holland and Saugatuck.

“We’re excited to offer the perfect tribute to ever-faithful Lions fans in the Motor City and across Michigan,” says Brian Mucci, CEO of Coppercraft Distillery. “Our team is grateful for the opportunity to partner with the Detroit Lions franchise on this special release and to continue crafting spirits with widespread appeal among sports fans everywhere.”

The new product’s moniker is one of the Detroit Lions’ official team colors. Honolulu Blue was developed for former owner George Albert Richards. Richards purchased the Portsmouth Spartan football team in 1934 and moved it to Detroit, renaming the franchise the Detroit Lions. Honolulu Blue was inspired by the waves off the coast of Hawaii and was chosen by Richards and Glenn Presnell, a member of the first Detroit Lions team.

Stellantis Signs Ignition Media Group to Assist with Marketing Strategy

Stellantis in Auburn Hills has hired Detrroit-based Ignition Media Group to the company’s media and marketing agency roster.

Ignition’s Soundcheck practice will serve as a sounding board and multicultural thought partner to assist in shaping the automaker’s media and marketing strategies across its brand portfolio.

“The addition of Ignition Media Group to our strategic marketing partner roster will help us provide a smarter, more comprehensive and cohesive approach to our media and marketing strategies, providing us with more candid assessments to consumer-facing work overall,” says Marissa Hunter, vice president of marketing for Stellantis North America. “Through this newly formed alliance with Ignition Media Group, our commitment to minority-owned economic empowerment also continues to evolve and take shape, ensuring that we are both audience aware and culturally inclusive across our multi-brand portfolio.”

Dennis Archer Jr., CEO of Ignition Media Group, says, “We are ecstatic to be working with Stellantis and to join them on their path toward ensuring their marketing messaging is representative of their current and desired consumer base.

“The Stellantis leadership is adamant about making certain talent attraction, marketing and advertising creative, and philanthropic strategies are reflective of an evolving domestic and global marketplace. The makeup of our team, to include advertising, consulting, and philanthropic professionals, aligns well with their goals, and we look forward to working with them and alongside their agency and other external partners.”

Ignition Media Group will focus on the Stellantis’ North America brands, including Alfa Romeo, Chrysler, Dodge, FIAT, Jeep, and Ram.

“As we continue to strengthen our corporate diversity, inclusion, and engagement strategies, our newly formed partnership with Ignition Media Group will help play a significant role in these efforts,” says Lottie Holland, director of diversity, inclusion, engagement, and EEO compliance for Stellantis North America. “Our commitment to creating a diverse network of partners across all facets of our business, representing our workforce, our customers and our community, is a critical building block in shaping our collective future.”

U-M Health-West Becomes First Health Care System in State to Deploy AI-Powered Patient Documentation

University of Michigan Health-West in Wyoming, south of Grand Rapids, is the first system in the state to pilot automated documentation in the exam room, allowing health providers to focus on the patient rather than the computer.

The AI-powered Nuance Dragon Ambient eXperience (DAX) is an ambient clinical intelligence solution that captures and contextualizes every word of the patient encounter and automatically creates clinical documentation.

The pilot at University of Michigan Health-West began earlier this year with 13 providers, throughout primary and specialty care settings.

“We have already discovered multiple advantages to suggest that Nuance DAX could become a transformative innovation for our organization,” says Dr. Lance M. Owens, chief medical information officer for U-M Health-West, who is leading the pilot. “This technology captures documentation automatically and removes the computer as a barrier between providers and their patients and enables better patient-provider engagement. It is yet another way we are relentlessly pursuing our vision to deliver innovations that change care and care that changes lives.”

After using Nuance DAX, one U-Michigan Health-West provider saw a decrease in 31 minutes per day in documentation. Another provider saw an average reduction of 5 minutes of documentation time per appointment. One provider decreased time per note from 2 minutes to 1.9 minutes, totaling a decrease in documentation time overall. In addition to helping providers stay on schedule and spend more time with patients, the system improves accuracy and thoroughness of documentation because providers don’t have to divide their attention between patient and computer.

Barton Malow Rolls Out Construction Inclusion Week Activities

Southfield-based construction company Barton Malow is participating in the inaugural Construction Inclusion Week (CIW), Oct. 18-22, offering various opportunities for Barton Malow team members to help build the foundation for inclusion within the company and the construction industry.

CIW is an industry-wide initiative to advance diversity, equity, and inclusion by cultivating psychologically safe and inclusive workplaces that are free of harassment and represent team members from all aspects of society.

“We’re really looking forward to the opportunity to participate in the inaugural Construction Inclusion Week,” says Lisa Tolbert, director of human resources at Barton Malow. “Our commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion is at the forefront of everything we do, so we’re happy to bring our expertise and resources to the table with other industry leaders dedicated to securing an inclusive future within the building professions.”

Barton Malow’s CIW agenda will begin with a video message to team members reaffirming Barton Malow’s commitment to D, E + I from Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer Chuck Binkowski, and will include a series of learning and development opportunities; a webinar featuring Barton Malow team members and representatives from the National Minority Supplier Business Development Council; and a session spotlighting Barton Malow’s engagement in a client initiative that aims to foster a more inclusive environment on construction projects.

Barton Malow will conclude the week with a special, second episode of its industry-focused podcast, Said Differently. Episode 2, titled “Hot Starts, Golden Arms, Can’t Lose,” will profile women ironworkers at Barton Malow and the nonprofit Detroit-area training program where they cut their teeth, Women Who Weld.

Holocaust Memorial Center Host Virtual Screening of “We Shall Not Die Now” Oct. 18

The Holocaust Memorial Center in Farmington Hills is hosting a virtual screening of “We Shall Not Die Now” and a talkback with the filmmaker at 7 p.m. on Oct. 18

Ashton Gleckman created the documentary when he was 18 years old. It explores the tragedy and lessons of the Holocaust and the resilience of its survivors. Filmed through the country of Poland at all of the major concentration camps, landmarks, and cities, and features more than 25 survivors, liberators, and scholars.

The movie can be viewed here through Oct. 18.

Gleckman, now 21, is a composer, producer, and filmmaker from Carmel, Ind. In addition to “We Shall Not Die Now,” he has released five albums, written and directed five short films, composed scores for a number of productions, and has produced more than 30 hours of online video tutorial content.

To register for the Zoom program, visit here. A $10 donation is encouraged.

National Council of Jewish Women Offers Free Event on the Rise in Hate Speech Oct. 27

The National Council of Jewish Women, Michigan (NCJW|MI) will be offering a free virtual program at 7 p.m. Oct. 27 highlighting the threat of hate speech and hate crimes and how all Michiganders can take steps to combat the threat.

“Fall Focus 2021 – Hate is Hate: We Are All At Risk. What Can We Do Together?” offers perspectives from four panelists who will discuss the effects of hate-motivated behavior on their communities and will provide ways to working together to empower communities to fight back. Panelists are:

“We want our audience to come away with the feeling that they are not victims, but that they are inspired to take action and do something about this form of prejudice,” says Mina Feldman, co-chair of Fall Focus 21.

Rabbi Asher Lopatin says there was a disconnect between people who believe that they are “good people” who are not racist, and the expressions they might use in relation to Jews, Muslims, or other minorities. “They might use anti-Semitic tropes or Islamophobic tropes, without truly thinking about what they are saying. We can’t be afraid to call this racism out and report it to groups such as the AJC or ADL,” he says.

To register for the free Fall Focus 2021 program, visit here.

Award-Winning Comedian Rocky LaPorte to Headline Furniture Bank’s Comedy Night Nov. 4

Rocky LaPorte, a finalist on NBC’s “Last Comic Standing” Season 8, will headline Furniture Bank’s Comedy Night, 6-9 p.m. Nov. 4 at Mark Ridley’s Comedy Castle in Royal Oak.

The evening will include a comedy show, full buffet dinner, 50/50 raffle, and live auction with proceeds going to the Furniture Bank of Southeastern Michigan.

“Our October referrals have doubled since last year and we just don’t see the pace slowing,” says Rob Boyle, executive director of the Furniture Bank. “That’s why this fundraiser supports metro Detroit kids and families who’ve been through floods, evictions, or other critical life challenges. Our goal is to make sure they have beds to sleep in, tables to eat on, and other basic comforts so they can better rebuild their lives.”

Tickets are $75 each and can be purchased online, by contacting the Furniture Bank at 248-332-1300 x206, or emailing

American Cancer Society Unveils Detroit Discovery Ball Events

The American Cancer Society in Southfield has announced more details about its Nov. 12 Detroit Discovery Ball.

Featured at the event’s auction will be a 2021 Corvette Stingray, donated by Chevrolet and enhanced with a wrap featuring the artwork by Detroit artist Mike Han.

“The American Cancer Society is extremely fortunate to have a compassionate, corporate partner like Chevrolet,” says Chad Creekmore, senior executive director of ACS. “The donation of the 2021 Corvette Stingray to the Detroit Discovery Ball is a testament to the brand’s continued and growing commitment to the ACS mission of saving lives, celebrating lives, and leading the fight for a world without cancer.”

The auction and the Detroit Discovery Ball will raise funds for life-saving cancer research, advocacy, and patient programs and services.

Bidders from across the country can participate in advance of the event by submitting a bid online. The auction will open for bidding Nov. 8. All bids will be considered during the live event.

The ball, which will take place from 6:30-10:30 p.m. at Eastern Market’s Shed 3, features a VIP reception, strolling supper, entertainment by NUCLASSICA, and both a silent and live auction.

Tickets are on sale here for $250 and are all inclusive. The dress is creative black tie or city chic Attire. All appropriate health and safety precautions including proof of COVID vaccination will be in place.

The American Cancer Society also will be the beneficiary of a radiothon next month in partnership with Beasley Media. The radiothon will be live Nov. 4 on The Praise Network.

Higher Hopes! Continues Thanksgiving Turkey Meal Program in Detroit

For the eighth year in a row, Higher Hopes! will be providing 1,000 Detroit area families full Thanksgiving meals through its “1,000 Turkeys, 10,000 Smiles” program.

The kits contain everything from the turkey to all the sides and dessert, and provide enough food to feed 12 to 16 people. Giving families the ability to celebrate the holidays with loved ones in their own home is at the core of the Higher Hopes! mission.

In addition to the Thanksgiving meal program, Higher Hopes! continues to support 1,000 families with monthly meal kits, each containing 35-45 pounds of fresh, nutritious foods. These go to families who have children enrolled in Early Head Start child care programs. The kits contain proteins such as chicken, pork, or beef, fresh, frozen, canned fruits and vegetables, grains like pasta and cereal, milk, eggs, fruit juice, and more.

Stellantis taps Dennis Archer Jr.'s Ignition as ‘multicultural thought partner'


Stellantis has hired Dennis Archer Jr.'s media consulting firm to help shape the automaker's marketing strategy.

Detroit-based Ignition Media Group has been tapped as a "sounding board and multicultural thought partner" of Stellantis, whose North American headquarters are in Auburn Hills. The partnership is aimed at shaping broader inclusivity at the company and furthering its goal of economic empowerment for minority groups, according to a Thursday news release.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed. A spokesperson for Stellantis declined to comment on the financials or length of the contract.

"The addition of Ignition Media Group to our strategic marketing partner roster will help us provide a smarter, more comprehensive and cohesive approach to our media and marketing strategies, providing us with more candid assessments to consumer-facing work overall," Marissa Hunter, vice president of marketing for Stellantis, said in the release.

Ignition Media will work with the automaker's North American brands, including Jeep, Ram, Dodge, Chrysler, Fiat and Alfa Romeo on marketing strategies ranging from TV commercials and traditional ad campaigns to social media, according to the company. "The Stellantis leadership is adamant about making certain talent attraction, marketing and advertising creative, and philanthropic strategies are reflective of an evolving domestic and global marketplace," Archer said in the release.

The announcement comes amid pressure on companies to make good on diversity, equity and inclusion commitments made in the wake of George Floyd's death last year, which sparked protests around the nation, including Detroit.

In March, a group of prominent Black-owned media executives, including Detroit-born media mogul Byron Allen, who owns the Weather Channel, made a splash with an ad campaign accusing General Motors Co. of shutting out Black-owned media from its ad spending. The automaker responded by announcing it would double its spending with Black-owned media to 2 percent in 2021 and 4 percent in 2022, with a goal of reaching 8 percent by 2025.

As part of its diversity efforts, Stellantis rolled out in June a Black-owned suppliers development initiative in partnership with the National Business League. Companies in the pilot program include former Detroit Piston Isiah Thomas' Isiah International LLC and fuel supplier Ace Petroleum.

During a Detroit Homecoming panel session last month on corporate DEI initiatives, Archer said Black-owned businesses need to be given the chance to thrive. "Let us in the room and allow us to compete," he said.