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NINETY EIGHT REGENCY

GM hands $270 million Cadillac account to Bartle Bogle Hegarty

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GM hands $270 million Cadillac account to Bartle Bogle Hegarty

With its first auto client, New York shop likely to take brand in new direction

Rupal Parekh

Advertising Age -- January 8, 2010 - 3:36 pm ET

NEW YORK -- General Motors Co. said today it has chosen Bartle Bogle Hegarty, New York, as its new Cadillac creative agency after a review that began in October.

The shop succeeds Boston-based indie Modernista, which worked on the account for three years.

"BBH was awarded the Cadillac business for their combination of passion for the Cadillac brand, deep insight into the luxury automotive target customer and outstanding creativity," Cadillac General Manager Bryan Nesbitt said in a statement today.

The final round of the pitch was a three-way battle between Publicis Groupe-backed BBH, Publicis, New York, and Interpublic Group of Cos.' Martin Agency. GM evidently made a decision quickly, as final presentations have been taking place over the last two days. BBH and Publicis are said to have made presentations on Wednesday, while Martin Agency was the last to pitch, just yesterday afternoon.

Consultancy Ark Advisors in New York was tapped by GM to manage the agency review.

Modernista was invited to re-pitch the account -- the agency's largest -- but declined, citing "creative and strategic differences."

Earlier in the process, Omnicom Group's DDB, Chicago; Interpublic's Gotham; and independent McKinney, Durham, N.C., also pitched ideas, but were eliminated before the finals.

GM increased domestic measured-media spending behind its Cadillac brand for full year 2008 to nearly $270 million, according to TNS Media Intelligence.

This is the first auto account for BBH, New York, which works with other brands such as Ally Bank and Google, and the shop is sure to take advertising for GM's luxury brand in a new direction from that established by Modernista.

The outgoing agency had created campaigns that tried to bring an erotic, youthful allure to the brand, with celebrities such as Kate Walsh and music from modern bands like Phoenix.

GM has been making a flurry of changes related to its advertising initiatives -- both internally within the marketing suite and externally with the agencies it works with.

Just last month, it shifted half of its Chevrolet creative account from Interpublic Group's Campbell-Ewald to Publicis in Seattle and Dallas. Publicis was tapped to handle Olympics work for three models, the Malibu, Traverse and Equinox.

Bartle Bogle was a finalist in Audi of America's review in 2006, and the agency's London office handles Audi in the U.K. In the Audi of America review, the agency pitched against incumbent McKinney, which had held the account from 1993 to 2006. The account is now with Venables, Bell & Partners.

Read more: http://www.autonews.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20100108/RETAIL03/100109916/1295#ixzz0c3v3T2Kq

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Maybe we will see something other then lameduck GM commercials.

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