- Stellantis North America, the automaker behind brands including Jeep, Chrysler and Dodge, has appointed TKT & Associates as its first agency of record (AOR) for reaching Black audiences, according to a press release.
- The partnership will be led by the TKT Collab creative division, which boasts a focus on emergent technology and tapping into social trends. TKT & Associates will report to Kim Adams House, Stellantis North America’s head of merchandising and licensing, whose role has expanded to oversee multicultural marketing.
- Stellantis joins others in the auto category in shaking up its approach to reaching diverse consumer groups. The move comes as the marketing industry at large has been put under pressure in recent years for failing to realize inclusive strategies.
Stellantis is making a firmer commitment to develop marketing that is tailored to Black consumers through the TKT & Associates AOR appointment, the first of its kind for the Ram and Alfa Romeo owner. The announcement was made at the second annual Stellantis African Ancestry Network Diaspora Gala in Detroit, Michigan, where some of the company’s brands are headquartered.
The TKT & Associates partnership follows several years where diversity, equity and inclusion became a bigger discussion point in the advertising industry, with automotive rivals pursuing similar agency relationships following pushback from major media figures. In 2021, Hyundai Motor America named Culture Brands, a minority- and women-owned firm, as its first African American AOR. That year, General Motors pledged it would double its spending with Black-owned media, with a goal of delegating 8% of its annual ad budget to those channels by 2025.
Founded in 2006, Louisville-based TKT & Associates is also Black- and women-owned. TKT Collab, a full-service division within the agency that specializes in areas including creative, public relations and social media, will help Stellantis refine its efforts to engage Black audiences. At the same time, Stellantis is broadening its internal multicultural marketing purview through an expanded role for Kim Adams House, who previously led Jeep’s brand advertising in North America.
“At TKT Collab, we use our media platforms, cross-generational cultural appeal, and eye for forward-moving technology and social trends to generate culturally authentic and relatable campaigns and content; we aren't your average marketing firm, we are a creative studio specializing in inclusive culture bending strategies,” said Kimberly Bunton, CEO and chief strategy officer of TKT Collab, in a press statement.
Automotive has experienced a bounce back following a disruptive stretch of the pandemic that was marred by supply chain issues. Magna estimates the category has grown its marketing spending by more than 10% in most markets so far in 2023.
Creative and media AOR arrangements, on the other hand, have been the victim of cost-cutting measures and changing advertiser perspectives on agency utility. Such appointments increased in volume last year, but saw their value drop 35%, according to an analysis from consultant R3, which declared the conventional AOR model “dead” in its report.