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Q&A: GM Global Marketing Chief Joel Ewanick

$3 bil ad deal part of bigger changes underway throughout GM.

by on Jan.24, 2012

GM Global Marketing Chief Joel Ewanick.

In a move of the significance seldom seen in the advertising world, General Motors has named Carat, part of the giant Aegis group, its global media and planning agency – a deal worth $3 billion annually, and perhaps significantly more in the coming years.  The move comes after a shoot-out among four major agencies, including Publicis Group’s Starcom, which had been handling media duties in North America, where two-thirds of GM’s advertising budget was traditionally tallied.

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The global realignment is just the latest in a series of steps that have been taken since former Hyundai Motor America marketing chief Joel Ewanick relocated to Detroit nearly two years ago. But the 51-year-old Ewanick, in an exclusive interview with, says it’s not about to be the last big change.  Among other things, he confirms the results of a review of Chevrolet’s creative account will be announced in the coming weeks, with other big moves to follow.

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Ewanick also stressed that the marketing and media changes are just part of a broader shake-up within General Motors designed to create a leaner, more nimble manufacturer that has clearly defined its brands and is now rolling out the appropriate products to keep its momentum going.  Considering GM last year regained its perch as the world’s largest automaker, that’s no easy challenge.

Here’s what Ewanick had to say about the latest developments and what they mean for GM longer-term:


GM Again Shakes Up Ad World

Names Carat its global media planning and buying agency.

by on Jan.24, 2012

The Chevy creative budget is also up for review.

The long-staid world of automotive advertising has been undergoing some seismic shocks in recent years as manufacturers long willing to ride out slumps are now more willing than ever to quickly toss an agency aside if it doesn’t get the results it wants – immediately.

And only a couple years after walking away from long-time agencies, such as Chevrolet’s eight-decade partner Campbell-Ewald, General Motors is again shaking things up by announcing it will turn to Carat to serve as its global media planning and buying agency.

It’s a big catch for Carat, a specialized unit of mega-advertising group Aegis Media.  GM is expected to spend a collective total of $3 billion this year to purchase media to promote products ranging from the new Cadillac XTS premium luxury car to the Opel Ampera plug-in hybrid.

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“We wanted a media agency partner with the sophistication to leverage global marketing opportunities,” said Joel Ewanick, GM vice president and global chief marketing officer. “Carat has an innovative approach to drive significant marketing value and their service model has been tailored to align well with our global and regional brands. They are uniquely positioned to help us form strong media partnerships and drive significant global efficiencies.”