March 7, 2023

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

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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.

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