GM would like to blame all its sales and marketing woes on former CMO Joel Ewanick - but maybe it needs to point elsewhere, says columnist Bernstein.
The advertising business is loaded with cliches but perhaps the most pertinent is, “An agency is only as good as the client lets it be!” Yet, when the ads aren’t working it never turns out to be the clients fault, it’s always the agency’s. Ha! It is the client who establishes the marketing goals and objectives, often in a vacuum of reality, understanding and experience.
And then there’s the wonderful phrase, “We have a strong agency – client relationship!” Double-Ha! That’s the kiss of death. There is no such thing as a long lasting agency/client relationship. At best it is confrontational, more likely acrimonious and seldom harmonious.
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The ad agency news this week emanating from General Motors’ Renaissance Center headquarters makes the political mess in Washington seem almost trivial, doesn’t it? The rather nasty innuendos and evil repercussions are intended to put the blame on one person, Joel Ewanick, which is a crock. True, as global Chief Marketing Officer, Ewanick had plenipotentiary powers bestowed on him by the CEO and board of directors. But the marketing ship was already floundering with its sails and rudders gone and no captain. And it’s unclear anyone really wanted Ewanick to do what was necessary to make GM’s marketing operations ship-shape.