As if to echo the blog yesterday, Ad Age reports Chrysler Group won't be back as the automotive sponsor for the second season of NBC's popular reality show The Apprentice, according to several executives close to the car industry. Although other automakers were approached, none stepped up to the plate to succeed Chrysler because the asking price was too high -- at least $50 million. Over at News Corp's Fox, Ford Motor Corp. said no to a third year as sponsor of a commercial-free premiere of 24.
GM, DaimlerChrysler and Toyota Motor Sales USA were among six leading automakers that spent more in national broadcast network TV in the first quarter vs. a year ago, according to TNS Media Intelligence/CMR. GM's tab rose by only $7 million from a year ago to $215 million, while DaimlerChrysler increased to $103 million from the $74 million it spent in the first quarter of 2003, according to CMR. Toyota and its luxury brand Lexus spent $9 million more.
American Honda Motor Co. cut its presence on the broadcast networks by $8 million to $21 million in the first quarter. Nissan North America's spending dropped by $12 million vs. a year ago, according to CMR. Ford Motor Co. spent $120 million in the first quarter, $4 million less than a year ago.
Ford not only is passing as sole sponsor of 24, it also gave up prominent product placement in the show. But the marketer returns as a sponsor for the network's popular American Idol. Jon Nesvig, Fox president of sales, says the premiere won't be commercial free.