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GM Looking At New Ad Agencies For Chevrolet


General Motors, facing criticism that it may not be moving fast enough to stir new conversations around its brands, is about to start hearing new pitches from new ad agencies.

As first reported by Jean Halliday in Ad Age, it does not appear that long time ad agency Campbell-Ewald, Warren MI is facing a firing. But the automaker is finally doing what this blogger has been advocating for years—-it is opening itself up to hearing great ideas to push the Chevy brand down the field to a better place.

For a long time, politics and personal relationships have kept the Chevy/Campbell-Ewald relationship bound together as if by Crazy Glue; even when the advertising and thinking that produced it was terrible. The agency has been Chevy’s agency since 1922.

1922!!!!!!!

That was then. Chevy IS General Motors. It used to be that Chevy was just one of eight brands at GM in North America. Going forward, it is one of four. But in fact, it is the whole show. If Chevrolet does not increase market share and improve perception, it’s not going to matter what happens at Buick, GMC and Cadillac.

New Chevy chief Brent Dewar obviously knows this.

Campbell-Ewald is expected to keep doing the bulk of work on the account. It is a huge account with lots of moving parts. And it requires that GM maintain continuity to keep the trains running on time. But new ad agencies will be invited to become roster agencies so that C-E is always challenged, not only on the ideas themselves, but regarding the talent they bring to bear for Chevy.

Why should the creative talent pool be restricted to people willing to live in Southeast Michigan?

There are going to be some “retirements” at Campbell-Ewald, I am guessing.

Dewar clearly understands, finally, that it is nuts not to have hungry, creative agencies, whether they are in Minneapolis, Los Angeles, Miami, Brazil, Romania pitching Chevy ideas that will stir the conversation anew.

Finally….Religion has arrived at Chevy!!

The problem right now is that there are so many car accounts in review that it is taxing some of the better shops trying to respond.

Chrysler’s brands have been in review. Volkswagen is in review, and will be decided after October 20. Cadillac is now in review. Now Chevy.

Deutsch, which is pitching Volkswagen right now, will be expected to pitch either Chevrolet or Cadillac if they should lose. Perhaps, they can pitch both—Cadillac from its LA office perhaps and Chevy from New York. Nike agency Wieden & Kennedy is pitching VW too, as is Goodby Silverstein. Those are two agencies I would love to have creating ideas for Chevy if I am Dewar.

Another terrific agency, Fallon, Minneapolis is pitching Chrysler. The Martin Agency (Geico) is available, and will most certainly be asked to pitch Caddy and Chevy. New York’s Strawberry Frog is handling Indian automaker’s Mahindra & Mahindra’s launch in the U.S. Could they also pitch for a Cadillac model that doesn’t compete?

Because C-E is expected to keep working on Chevy, GM has the luxury of tapping all kinds of small shops for ideas that don’t have to be full-service ad agencies. Agencies in St. Louis, Kansas City, Texas.

The company should have done this a decade ago at least.

Politics is the only reason the company did not do it before. Funny, that it took U.S. government ownership of GM to get rid of the politics.

GM is advertising a campaign with the theme, “May The Best Car Win.”

As far as Chevy’s advertising goes…now, it’s “Let The Best Idea Win” no matter where it comes from.


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