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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 TheDetroitBureau.com 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.

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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.

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