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Marty’s Marketing Minutia: Who the Hell is in Charge at GM?

Time to stop blaming Joel Ewanick.

by on Mar.15, 2013

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.

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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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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.

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GM Marketing Czar Ewanick Unexpectedly Resigns

The man who shook things up is latest shaken out.

by on Jul.29, 2012

GM Marketing Czar Joel Ewanick shown during a Chevrolet news conference two months ago.

Joel Ewanick, the agent of change brought in by General Motors just over two years ago to shake up its moribund marketing operations, has unexpectedly resigned.

In a terse statement issued Sunday evening the maker said only that the 52-year-old executive “has elected to resign immediately.” Alan Batey, GM’s vice president of U.S. Sales and Service, will step in as global marketing chief on an interim basis.

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Exactly what led to Ewanick’s sudden departure isn’t clear but it takes even those working close to the marketing czar by surprise.  In fact, it appears to have taken Ewanick himself by surprise.  The former Hyundai marketing chief appeared on the Internet TV show Autoline After Hours barely a week ago and it was clear, “This was not a guy who saw this coming,” said host John McElroy.

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Marty’s Marketing Minutia: Hype, Hope and Hysteria

Score a big win for GM.

by on May.25, 2012

GM marketing czar Joel Ewanick, shown with the Chevrolet Volt.

Hooray for Joel Ewanick! He had a helluva week breaking molds, traditions and profligate spending while making new ad biz rules. He’s gone where few CMO’s have dared to go with the outlandish premise of getting a measurable return on every component of the corporation’s massive advertising budget.

Part 1 was killing GM’s Facebook ads, a media trip into the unknown that was not working: i.e., generating measureable interest or involvement. Feeling good is not a Metrix element of marketing. Results count, right?

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Part 2 was the cancellation of three 30-second commercials on next year’s Super Bowl because they become too expensive. What a bizarre concept. GM not on the Super Bowl. OMG!

But the media buy of $11.4 million based on a price tag of $3.8 million apiece is chump change when one considers the other elements of the major expenses for a traditional Super Bowl package for Gargantuan Motors that could boost the bill by another $10 million or more.

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