Though it officially remains the “agency of record,” Detroit ad agency Campbell-Ewald has just been dealt a devastating blow by Chevrolet, the huge automaker with which it has partnered for eight decades. The decision could cost the agency hundreds of millions of dollars in the next year alone.
Coming out of its bankruptcy, mid-year, GM officials warned they were going to rethink that long-term relationship, which meant CE could lose some, possibly all of an account that has, in peak years, generated business industry insiders estimate at more than $1 billion a year.
After the proverbial “extensive review,” Chevy has notified Campbell-Ewald it will retain the agency of record title, and will continue to handle the giant brand’s retail business, but the most lucrative work, developing, creating and managing Chevrolet’s national advertising campaigns is now up for grabs.
The competing mega-ad agency Publicis has won the bidding for three of Chevrolet’s most important products, the Malibu sedan, and the Equinox and Traverse crossovers. Campbell-Ewald will maintain the work on the Silverado and Silverado HD pickups, but in the current market, and looking towards the future, the truck side of the business is looking to steadily decline, experts note. CE will also do “contextually relevant” work for Chevy’s ad presence during the upcoming Winter Olympics.