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Cadillac Goes Rogue

Maker lines up new agency for nearly $250 million account.

by on Jun.12, 2013

Rogue will have the challenge of making sure Cadillac's new CTS line is a success.

Cadillac is going Rogue – the Detroit-based luxury maker lining up a new agency by that name to handle nearly $250 million in annual spending as it struggles to regain its former grandeur in a luxury market today largely dominated by German competitors.

GM has struggled for several decades with declining sales directly related to its stodgy and outdated image. The maker has been trying to attract a younger, more upscale audience with a combination of new products and hipper advertising such as the “Cadillac v The World campaign” it ran to introduce the new ATS during last year’s Olympics.

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But it now plans to part ways with Fallon, the agency it had been using since 2010, in favor of Rogue, a new firm that actually brings together three separate different agencies that operate under the Interpublic Group banner. That includes Hill Holiday, Lowe and Partners and Campbell-Ewald. It is, in fact, an especially sweet victory for the latter firm, which recently moved its headquarters from the suburb of Warren, Michigan to downtown Detroit.

Caddy's old agency, Fallon, produced the "Cadillac v the World" ad campaign.

Campbell-Ewald nearly collapsed a few years ago when it lost the $600 million Chevrolet account it had held for 91 years. While it will now have to share Caddy, which reportedly billed $244 million last year, it’s still an important addition to the portfolio for the firm.

The choice of Rogue followed the requisite shoot-off between ad agencies, though there has been a buzz for more than a month that Campbell-Ewald would likely have some role – underscored by the firm’s decision to move back downtown.

Suggesting all the agencies vying for the account had “demonstrated a high level of thinking,” Cadillac’s global boss Bob Ferguson stressed that, “We selected Rogue because its strategic insights, creative vision for Cadillac and strong luxury and automotive experience were the best match for our global growth plan.”

The word, global, is critical in the equation.  While Cadillac has long billed itself as the “standard for the world,” it has really been limited to the North American market.  And while it was long the number one luxury brand in the U.S. it was eclipsed more than a decade ago by German marques Mercedes-Benz and BMW, and Japan’s Lexus – the numbers one, two and three in American sales for the calendar-year-to-date.

The Germans, in particular, have a significant advantage in that their global presence brings higher sales and revenues that can better fund product development programs.

Cadillac has struggled to develop a presence in Europe, though after a decade it still has relatively little to show for that effort. It is meanwhile pressing hard to gain a solid foothold in China where it is just launching production of the big XTS sedan. Parent General Motors is the second largest maker in that booming Asian nation, behind Volkswagen – whose Audi brand is China’s best-selling luxury car marque.

Michael Roth, the chairman of the Interpublic Group, emphasized the global nature of the new account by promising the three-agency team would bring together talent and knowledge “domestically and around the world.”

Cadillac already has other agencies it works with beyond U.S. borders but Rogue is expected to take the lead, especially in terms of developing coordinated messaging worldwide.

The account will be managed out of Campbell-Ewald’s new Detroit headquarters but Hill Holiday will oversee creative work.

The agency switch may be particularly frustrating for Fallon on the losing end. The agency’s ads may have taken some hits from media critics but it has also been able to point to a marked upturn in Cadillac’s performance in the car market. The GM flagship brand’s sales surged 40% in May, among the strongest upturns in the industry.

Of course, it helps to have major new products such as the big XTS and the smaller ATS – the latter named North American Car of the Year last January by a jury of 50 U.S. and Canadian auto writers.

But the switch also comes at a critical juncture for Cadillac. An even more new product, the completely redesigned CTS, will go on sale later this year. The sedan has been Caddy’s best-seller and the maker has high hopes for the new, third-generation model that will be more directly aimed at such critical competitors as the Mercedes-Benz E-Class, BMW 5-Series, Audi A5 and Lexus GS. Cadillac will need a strong ad message to stand out in such a daunting crowd.

Ewanick Legacy “Gone,” GM Marketing in Turmoil

Caddy and Chevy accounts shift; will Buick-GMC follow?

by on Mar.14, 2013

Tippett Studios, which created the fantasy world in Jurassic Park, now helps Buick's Encore dodge dinosaurs in a new ad campaign.

General Motors’ marketing operations are a step short of chaos, according to sources close to the maker, with two of GM’s most important brands set to review – and likely make major changes to – their ad agency partnerships.

Chevrolet is the latest to be looking for new talent after a disappointing effort to turn to an unusual partnership between two of the advertising industry’s largest agencies. The largest of the GM brands is also getting a new global marketing chief of its own next month. As previously reported, Cadillac also is switching ad agencies.

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The reported moves mean that the legacy of former GM global marketing czar Joel Ewanick is largely “gone,” according to an industry veteran. Ironically, it appears that the latest shake-up involves a game of musical chairs, some of the agencies coming back to GM having had long associations with the maker in the past.


Cadillac’s Ad Account Under Review

Long-time Chevy agency Campbell-Ewald seen as a top contender.

by on Mar.13, 2013

A scene from the Cadillac Versus the World ad campaign produced by Fallon Worldwide.

The game of musical chairs among General Motors’ ad agencies is apparently going to continue, the Detroit maker confirming it has put the account for its flagship brand Cadillac up for review.

GM marketing has been enmeshed in turmoil in recent years as the maker has struggled to come up with the right formula to promote the downsized mix of brands that emerged following the carmaker’s 2009 bankruptcy. The situation has been compounded by a series of management shake-ups that included the hiring and subsequent firing of “change agent” Joel Ewanick.

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The decision to consider the marketing options for Cadillac comes as the maker begins to gain momentum with a new line of products, and as it begins to push beyond its traditional U.S. market boundaries. It could be a severe setback for Caddy’s current agency of record, Minneapolis-based Fallon Worldwide. But it may bring redemption for one-time GM advertising powerhouse Campbell-Ewald.


Tim Allen to be the New Voice of Chevrolet

TV celeb debuts next week in spots. Howie is, well, Long gone.

by on Sep.03, 2010

Cruze is a $17,000 to $25,000 offering that GM hopes will take some sales back from the Toyota Corolla and Honda Civic.

TV and movie celeb Tim Allen will be the voice of Chevrolet starting with advertising for the all-new 2011 Cruze starting next Tuesday.

Allen displaces Howie Long, who is currently running on regional 2010 model year clearance spots and has been a Chevrolet spokesperson since 2004.

The classic Friday afternoon release made no mention of Long.

However, Joel Ewanick, the new vice president, U.S. marketing at General Motors, who recently jumped from Nissan after a brief stint there – literally weeks – following a gig at Hyundai, said, “Tim Allen brings the right combination of a recognizable voice with the credibility, likeability and humor that will connect with viewers.”

The change is indicative of the ongoing turmoil at GM, which is struggling to prove that it can increase its share post bankruptcy with an impending Initial Purchase Offering of stock due in the fourth quarter.


Chevy’s Revolving Door Claims Another Ad Agency

New CMO Joel Ewanick switches agencies...again.

by on May.21, 2010

They’re out. And they’re in. No, they’re out now, too. And they’re in!

New Chevy ad agency Goodby Silverstein will now have to sell sheet metal, not just vitamin D.

If Joel Ewanick’s departure from Hyundai – spending a brief minute and a half at Nissan before becoming  CMO of General Motors — made waves, then his latest move is setting off a tsunami.  No, Ewanick seems entrenched at GM, but one of his first moves has been to swing the ax at Publicis Worldwide – which was the Chevrolet agency of record only about as long as Ewanick was at Nissan.

Instead, he has appointed Goodby Silverstein Partners to handle the mega million dollar Chevy account, a decision of epic proportions.

The fact that GM CEO Ed Whitacre relinquished some of his very tight marketing managerial reins to Ewanick amounts to more than a transfer of plenipotentiary powers to a proven automotive marketing executive: it evidences a genuine concern for the demands of proven professional marketing counsel to supervise the plans and programs for GM’s largest and most important brand.

Ewanick’s marketing chops have been well detailed, documented and discussed (Click Here for more on his move to GM and background at Hyundai), but how much has been revealed about the new agency over the past day or so? Not much … until now. Following is a bit of information gathered from their website and various industry publications:

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GS&P History

The new Chevy agency was incorporated in 1983 as Goodby, Berlin & Silverstein by co-founders Jeff Goodby and Rich Silverstein who had worked together at Ogilvy and Mather in San Fran with then freelancer Andy Berlin. The agency started with limited funding yet landed prestigious accounts. In 1992 Omnicom, Inc. purchased the agency, in 1993 Berline left the agency and in 1994 the name was changed to Goodby, Silverstein & Partners, and just ten years later in 2004 Jeff Goodby and Rich Silverstein were inducted in The One Club Hall of Fame for Advertisers.


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.

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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.


Marty’s Marketing Minutia

Ceco, communicate, comment.

by on Oct.16, 2009

The bow-tie brand has come undone.

It looks like Campbell Ewald, Ceco, if you prefer, may have lost the revolution.

It looks like Campbell Ewald, Ceco, if you prefer, may have lost the advertising revolution.

For almost a century Campbell-Ewald Company (Ceco) has been the custodian of the Chevrolet brand, the creation and production of all its advertising and the spending of billions of dollars in various media.

For much of this time the Chevy-Ceco partnership set the gold standard in an agency/client business relationship. And there has been some extraordinary advertising along the way.

But the past several years have not been the best for the Chevy brand and its advertising agency.

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Recent work, including the most recent and insipid “American Revolution” ad campaign was not revolutionary, but ordinary and tepid, at its best. But in all fairness Ceco had little or nothing to work with.  The cars were not revolutionary, but ordinary and tepid at their best.