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GM assigns Buick, GMC ads to Leo Burnett

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GM assigns Buick, GMC ads to Leo Burnett

Jamie LaReau

DETROIT -- As General Motors consolidates Buick, Pontiac and GMC dealerships, it also is combining those brands' advertising work, sources familiar with the move say.

In a surprise development, GM told dealers Monday that it has fired longtime advertising agencies McCann-Erickson and Lowe Lintas & Partners Worldwide, New York from the Buick and GMC accounts, respectively.

GM is consolidating all advertising for the three brands within Pontiac's advertising agency, Leo Burnett Detroit. The change is effective October 1.

"They said it had nothing to do with the quality and capability," says a dealer familiar with the news, who asked to not be named. "They want to streamline their approach by using one agency."

McCann-Erickson and Lowe are longtime agencies for Buick and GMC. McCann-Erickson has done Buick's advertising for nearly 50 years.

Last week, GM chief marketer Mark LaNeve indicated that Buick would focus its ads more on product and less on the brand's celebrity endorser, golfer Tiger Woods.

LaNeve, vice president of North American vehicle sales, service and marketing, has shaken up GM advertising. Last June, he fired Leo Burnett Detroit from the Cadillac account and gave it to Modernista. Burnett had held the account since 1935.

Last year, Chevrolet's ad agency, Campbell-Ewald, lost a piece of its business to Deutsch, of Los Angeles. Deutsch handled negotiations for Chevrolet's 2006 Major League Baseball and motorsports ad campaigns.

A Buick-Pontiac-GMC spokeswoman declined to comment.

Sources say GM also told dealers that the last Pontiac Grand Prix will be built in November and that a "major portion" of the final production of the vehicle will go into rental fleet sales.

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