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Marty’s Marketing Minutia — Behind the Chevy Ad Shake-up

Why there's still baseball, apple pie and Chevy, but no CE.

by on Apr.27, 2010

With performer Dinah Shore, Campbell-Ewald created one of the most memorable ad campaigns in automotive history.

Campbell-Ewald has had one helluva long run as the advertising agency of record for the Chevrolet division of General Motors. An impressive 90 years. 4,680 weeks. 32,850 days. Millions of billing hours. 1,000+ current employees. Thousands of talented and semi-talented alums.

These are more than just numbers, they are representative of the dedication, passion and reliability of the company and the people that shaped and helped make the Chevrolet brand the one-time market leader and the biggest generator of bottom line profits for General Motors.

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From personal experience I can say, without fear of contradiction, “it was a great place to work!”  The hours were good, the pay rewarding, benefits reasonable, liberal vacation time, good expense accounts and for the most part the “C-group” – CEO, COB, CAS, CCO, CFO — of executives were real pros.  Of course there were exceptions.


Chevy Advertising Now Up For Grabs

Campbell-Ewald will now have to bid for each campaign, though it remains official "agency of record."

by on Dec.18, 2009

Campbell-Ewald will have the Chevrolet Silverado ad business, but loses Malibu, Terrain and Equinox, three growing product lines.

Campbell-Ewald will have the Chevrolet Silverado business, but loses Malibu, Terrain and Equinox, three growing product lines.

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.

Marketing Insight!


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.