News Column

Chevy to Shift Advertising to McCann Worldgroup

March 13, 2013

Nathan Bomey

General Motors is unwinding Chevrolet's advertising merger established by a former chief marketing officer and is considering changes to its Cadillac advertising business.

GM plans to shift most Chevy advertising work to New York-based McCann Worldgroup, which had been handling the brand's marketing in a 50-50 partnership with San Francisco-based Goodby, Silverstein & Partners through a Detroit-based agency called Commonwealth, a source familiar with the matter confirmed.

The Commonwealth agency will continue to operate, but Goodby is out, the source said.

It was not immediately clear what that means for Commonwealth in the Palms Building on Woodward Avenue across from Comerica Park. A year ago, Goodby said it would hire 280 people in Detroit.

Jeff Goodby, founder of Goodby Silverstein & Partners, declined to comment. A spokeswoman for Commonwealth was not immediately available for comment.

The changes come just a month after Chevrolet launched a new global ad campaign called "Find New Roads." The brand is also getting a new global marketing leader, former Volkswagen of America marketing chief Tim Mahoney, who starts April 1.

Chevy is launching 13 products in 2013, including an all-new Silverado pickup, the redesigned Impala sedan and the much-hyped Chevrolet Corvette Stingray.

The decision to remove Goodby from the Commonwealth partnership ends one of former GM Chief Marketing Officer Joel Ewanick's key decisions. Ewanick, who was fired last summer over a European soccer marketing deal, envisioned Commonwealth as a joint venture between competitors Goodby and McCann, who would learn to cooperate and launch an office in downtown Detroit.

GM CEO Dan Akerson has sought to reduce the number of ad agencies the automaker uses and pushed for more efficient marketing spending. After Ewanick's departure, he installed GM Vice President for U.S. Sales and Service Alan Batey as interim chief marketing officer.

Separately, GM plans to consider changes to its Cadillac advertising account, Cadillac spokesman David Caldwell said.

The automaker plans to review whether it should shift business away from Minneapolis-based Fallon Worldwide, Cadillac's current agency.

"Our global growth plan is causing us to look at every way to enhance our marketing efforts; therefore an agency review is being undertaken," Caldwell said.

Crain's Detroit Business reported Monday night that Campbell Ewald was close to winning the deal.

But Caldwell said Fallon is still Cadillac's "agency of record" and could keep the account. GM's staff members, not an outside agency, will conduct the review.

The decision to consider changes for Cadillac marks one of the first significant strategic marketing moves for Bob Ferguson, who became vice president of global Cadillac in October.

Ferguson controls Cadillac marketing, while GM's interim chief marketing officer, Batey, leads marketing for the Chevrolet, Buick and GMC brands.

Cadillac sales rose 32% for the first two months of the year, compared with a year earlier, on the strength of the Cadillac ATS and XTS sedans. GM plans to reveal a redesigned Cadillac CTS sedan later this month at the New York auto show. The CTS will hit showrooms in the third quarter, a redesigned Cadillac Escalade is on the way and the all-new Cadillac ELR luxury electric coupe is to reach dealerships in early 2014.

Fallon created the TV commercials for GM's Cadillac ATS vs. the World campaign, which launched during the Summer Olympics last year.

Source: (c)2013 the Detroit Free Press Distributed by MCT Information Services

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