Tag Archives: Joel Ewanick

GM Moves Chevy to McCann, Starts Caddy Review

Well, it was probably the worst kept secret around.

And General Motors finally confirmed it, announcing late in the day today (March 14) it was consolidating Chevrolet’s global account at IPG’s McCann Worldwide. Strangely, GM distributed the statement, which was attributed to McCann.

Whatever.

The bottom line is this: Omnicom’s Goodby, Silverstein & Partners is out.

Goodby won the Chevy account in 2010 without a review shortly after the arrival of Joel Ewanick as CMO. Ewanick had worked with Goodby during his years heading Porsche marketing and also for a while at Hyundai.

Shortly before Ewanick was forced out last year, GM pushed Goodby into that silly 50-50 venture with McCann to handle Chevy, called Commonwealth. I predicted it was a bad idea to try to get 2 holding companies to work together.

http://autoadopolis.wordpress.com/2012/03/28/is-chevys-global-creative-solution-a-good-idea/

GM should have known better since it had tried it before on the media side… and it flopped.

Most AutoAdOpolis readers know I have not been a big fan of most of Goodby’s work. I don’t put all the blame on the agency because it has done some great work for other clients.

The smoke signals for Goodby’s demise really started billowing late last year when GM’s Alan Batey, interim CMO, (pictured below) moved oversight of the crucial Chevy Silverado launch to Publicis’ Leo Burnett.

aLANBatey

Burnett  also has GMC and Buick and one could certainly argue that work for those two brands hasn’t exactly been setting the world on fire.

So one has to wonder why Batey chose to only fiddle with the agencies for only 2 of 4 GM US vehicle brands, essentially giving Burnett a free pass.

But even more curious is Batey’s timing.

After all, Tim Mahoney will start April 1 as GM’s newly-hired global CMO for Chevrolet. Mahoney, on vacation this month after leaving VW of America, will also be global GM marketing operations leader, indicating he’ll also oversee other car brands. He’ll report to Batey.

GM has been mum on whether Batey, also VP of sales and service in the US, will remain interim global CMO. So Mahoney could well be Batey’s successor. So, if Batey wanted to make some big moves and undo most of what Ewanick did, he knew he had to hurry.

But why not wait until Mahoney arrives?

Batey’s marketing power plays would have had to have been okayed from the top, since Batey reports to GM Chairman-CEO Dan Akerson.

This entire mess doesn’t portray GM in a very positive light.

What the hell are you guys thinking?

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On Twitter @jhal2001

Honda’s US Ad Agency Pitch: Rigged??

American Honda Motor Co. has called a review for both its Honda and Acura brands in the USA, encompassing creative, media buying and planning.

The surprise isn’t that a review has been called. It’s that it has taken this long to happen.

Other than a few bright advertising stars in recent years, including the boffo Super Bowl commercials for both Honda and Acura in 2012, the work hasn’t exactly set the world on fire.

I don’t place all the blame on the incumbents: Honda’s longtime agency of record, RPA in Santa Monica, and rp&, its sister arm on Acura. The clients, after all, kept approving their work year in and year out. An example of the industry adage : a client getting the work it deserves. The incumbent agencies will defend their biggest accounts.

But it doesn’t look good for the home teams. There’s already some skeptics – not at the incumbents- grumbling that the review is a set-up. The skeptics posit that   giant Japanese ad agency Dentsu, which  handles Honda in its home market there, will manage to steer the account to its McGarryBowen agency network.

It’s never wise to discount the pull an agency has with the client at the mother ship. The marketing brass at the corporate offices of many a global car company are close to the execs at their shops in the mother land and they also, from time to time, like to flex their brass muscles to make sweeping worldwide moves.

Dentsu’s Tokyo office won a Cyber Lion in Cannes in June for the work it did for Honda in Japan. Think THAT doesn’t impress the mother ship?

This summer, Dentsu’s McGarryBowen office in London managed to win the pitch for Honda’s  pan-European launch of the CR-V, besting 5 other shops, including Wieden & Kennedy in the UK. The huge win was the agency’s first since parent Dentsu changed the name of its European offices from Dentsu to McGarryBowen earlier this year. Dentsu acquired the 6-year-old McGarryBown agency in 2008.

What other agencies have won at Cannes for Honda?

Well Wieden, natch, whose most memorable  Honda work in Europe has to be this UK spot called  “Cog,” which won a Gold Lion in Cannes in 2003

RPA’s last Cannes win for Honda? Anyone?

Other than this year’s Super Bowl commercials, one of my favorite Honda spots in recent years from RPA was for the Element in 2006, featuring that delightful crab named Gil, who later ended up with a big life all his own in social media

This work was perfect for the Element’s young target audience and cut through the clutter.

It’s never a good time for an agency review and is going to cause lots of stress for the folks at RPA and rp&, especially during the holidays. Best of luck!

MAKING TRACKS: Joel Ewanick lands at Fisker Automotive as the acting head of global marketing and sales, while the car company looks for a full-time replacement. Not surprised to see him land so quickly. He was pushed out of General Motors in the summer after a little over 2 years at the automaker as global CMO. Ewanick succeeds Richard Beattie, who retired from Fisker after a long career in the car business with stints at Jaguar, Mazda and Ford.

Find me, Jean Halliday, on LinkedIn, Facebook and Forbes.com

On Twitter: @jhal2001

Who Should Be GM’s Next CMO?

AutoAdOpolis is wondering who General Motors will tap as its new CMO after the automaker unceremoniously forced Joel Ewanick to resign as VP-global CMO.

It will take a while for GM to get to it, which will give this red hot story a chance to cool down and get the media’s attention looking elsewhere. But GM SHOULD find a successor by the end of the year. It needs a strong-willed CMO to pull things together, streamline the ad approval process and improve advertising- fingers crossed on that one.

For now, GM named a sales and ops insider, Alan Batey, as interim chief.

The Brit, who joined GM in 1979 as a mechanical engineering apprentice, had held several key management posts overseas. Batey was only just moved in May to the newly-created post of GM VP for US Sales and Service from the same post at Chevrolet in the US. Nothing in his bio offers any hints at his marketing expertise. But not to worry, since the buzz is that GM will find a new CMO.

 Note to GM and its CEO Dan Akerson: Please don’t pick a sales guy or gal for your new CMO. We’ve been down that road with GM before- and let’s just say it didn’t exactly work out. Also-engineers and finance experts need not apply. GM needs another change, which translates to an outsider.

But what if GM opts to hire back one of its “grads,” now outsiders again? There are several interesting possibilities.

When I first heard about Joel’s ouster, the first name I thought of as a successor was Mark LaNeve, who left GM in 2009 shortly after the automaker emerged from bankruptcy and not long after he was moved to VP-sales from a four-year stint as VP-sales, service and marketing in North America.  But just as GM’s CMO fiasco was exploding, LaNeve was preparing to join Ford Motor’s ad agency, Team Detroit in Dearborn, as COO. Timing is everything, eh?

One of my sources, a former GM ad agency exec, suggested W.W. Brent Dewar, another GM alum. Dewar retired from post-Chapter 11 GM in early 2010 as ChevroletVP-general manager and global co-ordinator. Dewar, a 31-year vet of GM, was one of those execs either loved or not loved by insiders. According to Dewar’s Facebook postings, he certainly seems to be enjoying his times and travels with his family.

What about GM grad Mark-Hans Richer, who left in 2007 to join Harley-Davidson as senior VP-CMO? Richer has the right experience, having worked at DDB Needham Worldwide in Chicago before joining GM in 1998 as ad manager of  Chevy trucks. He has international experience too; he was director for Latin America on the McDonald’s account at DDB.

Richer is willing to take risks, having helped orchestrate a watershed media stunt as Pontiac’s marketing director to give away new G6 cars to the entire audience of Oprah Winfrey’s in September 2004.

His launch of Pontiac’s sexy, Solstice roadster should be a text-book case study. Under Richer’s baton, Pontiac won a slew ad of awards, including two Cannes Gold Lions, Gold Effies and a Super Reggie.

But I don’t think the odds are very good for a Richer return — even if GM would make make him an offer. He’s back in his home town of Milwaukee working on an iconic brand. I really think he’s having too much fun at Harley. Richer spent a week in China earlier this month to ride the Tibetan Plateau on a Harley to help kick off the brand’s 110th anniversary.

Which candidates should GM consider? Please take this quick poll

 

Thanks for your input!

MAKING TRACKS: Congrats to Dan Riley, promoted to VP at Time Inc. from group ad director in Detroit since November 2008. Dan joined Time in 2001 as ad director of People.

Follow me, Jean Halliday, on LinkedIn and Facebook.

On Twitter: @jhal2001

GM Kicks Off Global Soccer Deal After Budget Review

Detroit-General Motors, which spends some $4.5 billion annually in advertising globally, is betting on soccer- or football, depending on where you live, to boost the image of its volume Chevrolet brand around the globe.

In one of the world’s worst-kept secrets, GM announced today its Chevrolet brand inked a 5-year global deal with the UK’s Manchester United, one of the world’s most popular soccer teams.

GM’s volume brand will first activate the Manchester United deal in China, where the team will play in July’s Chevrolet China Cup against Shanghai Shenhua FC and another yet-to-be-named team.

Joel Ewanick, global CMO at the automaker, said at GM’s Detroit headquarters today that McCann Erickson and IPG sibling Jack Morton Worldwide will work with Chevrolet in China to give away game tickets to fans and invite them on the field during practices, as well as advertise during TV broadcasts of the games. Popular Manchester player Park Ji-Sung, a South Korean native, will represent Chevrolet.

In the U.K. at home games, Chevrolet’ owners will be able to park their cars in a special lot close to the stadium, Ewanick said. Chevy’s name and logo will be on swanky red chairs the players and coaches sit in during games and a spot frequented by cameras during TV broadcasts. There’s TV ads too, natch.

Why soccer and Manchester United?

The sport’s and the team’s numbers are pretty impressive. Ewanick said of the world’s population of 7 billion, 3.5 billion of them consider themselves soccer fans. Manchester has 659 million followers worldwide and more than 25 million Facebook fans. Meanwhile, the NFL has 100 million fans globally. While the 2012 Super Bowl attracted 125 million viewers, a recent, televised  Manchester match had an audience of 400 million. And Forbes ranked Manchester United as the most valuable sports team from 2007 through 2011.

Pretty impressive stats, eh?

The genesis of the deal wasn’t from one of GM’s agencies. Ewanick said the seed germinated at an ad conference last fall in San Francisco, when he met and chatted with Manchester United’s Commercial Director Richard Arnold. “The more we talked about Chevy and where we are strong and they want to grow and where they are strong and we want to grow it was easy to see there were ways for us to work together.”

As part of the Chevrolet’s new sponsorship, it is donating 1.5 million indestructible soccer balls over the next three years to the One World Futball Project. The non-profit will distribute the balls to children in war zones, disaster areas and disadvantaged communities, including in the U.S. Chevy introduced its partnership with this two-minute video featuring Sting

Lisa Tarver, co-founder and COO of One World, said 30 million children globally will benefit from these 1.5 million soccer balls and bring them hope for a better future. Here she is with Ewanick today (He’s holding the durable Chevy-branded ball, while she’s got a so-called “rag ball,” made from rags and leaves by kids in many parts of the world)

The news comes in the wake of GM’s very public, recent move to pull out of the Super Bowl and yank its $10-million annual ad spending from Facebook. Other than 2009 and 2010 in the wake of GM’s post bankruptcy reorganization, the automaker had a major, longtime presence as a Super Bowl advertiser. Chevrolet had 5 ads in both the 2011 and 2012 games, plus  one in both post game shows when it awarded new Corvettes to the MVPs. This year, it gave away 20 new Chevy vehicles and  made a huge digital and mobile play, along with an MTV music video and several online sponsorships.

(SEE AUTOADOPOLIS CHEVY-2012 SUPER BOWL BLOG HERE BOWLhttp://autoadopolis.wordpress.com/2012/01/26/chevys-multi-media-super-bowl-blitz/

Ironically GM raved about the results of its Super Bowl effort after the game.

Ewanick said today that NBC wanted too much of an increase for the carmaker to re-up for the Big Game in 2013. “This time every year we evaluate every line item in our media budget,” he said. Although GM found a great return on its investment, next year’s “significant” hike for the Super Bowl was just too expensive.

Not to worry. Another carmaker will gladly pick up the slack. And although Ewanick said “right now that door is closed” for Super Bowl advertising, “we can always change out mind.”

Ditto for Facebook, where Ewanick said GM spent $30 million a year creating content in addition to the $10-million ad buy. “We’ll continue our conversations with Facebook over the summer.” He said Facebook users found GM’s ads “a little bit distracting” and that the automaker had unsuccessfully proposed to Facebook more than a dozen new ways to try to make the ads less intrusive, more engaging and relevant.

GM won’t spend less on advertising in the U.S. and will spend more outside the U.S. as the automaker tries to grow its volume brand. “We are reapplying the Super Bowl dollars for our 2013 launches” in the U.S., (including the crucial next-generation Chevy Silverado and GMC Sierra pickups), said Ewanick. “It’s not like we’re cutting in North America.” Although his 2013 ad budget  hasn’t been finalized, he said he’s trying to keep it “up a little bit every year.”

Ewanick estimated that GM and its brands spend roughly a third of their total annual ad expenditures here in the U.S. and the rest outside this country.

GM needs to improve its global marketing, said Ewanick, adding “this is something we have not done well.” For example, he wants GM to do better in Brazil and its large Rio de Janiero hub, where GM has a 12% market share. “We should have a 22% share” there, he said. “You’d be astounded by how much Hyundai spends in Brazil.”

MAKING TRACKS: Elizabeth “Liz” Boone, who was hired with much fanfare from Hyundai’s ad agency, Innocean Worldwide Americas in Huntington Beach, California in 2010, has left General Motors, where she had been global director of digital and social engagements. Boone has joined Federated Media Publishing as a VP, leading the auto category. (Ewanick told AutoAdOpolis GM is strongly considering a candidate in Shanghai as her successor)

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And on Twitter @jhal2001

 

Is Chevy’s “Global” Creative Solution A Good Idea?

General Motors’ Chevrolet brand certainly came up with an interesting solution to its so-called “global” creative review by inking a contract with two agencies from different massive holding companies. (as predicted here January 19)

http://autoadopolis.wordpress.com/2012/01/19/gms-global-gambits/

Omnicom Group’s Goodby, Silverstein and Partners in San Francisco and IPG’s McCann Erickson in New York formed a new 50-50 joint venture called Commonwealth to shepherd creative for GM’s biggest brand. GM was crowing that this is” the first of its kind” global venture and indeed it is. Hmmm- could there be some reason no other marketer has tried this before?

Let’s be clear on one thing: the account is not truly global, since it doesn’t include China, India or Uzbekistan, which are among the world’s biggest and fastest-growing car markets. GM CMO Joel Ewanick said in the phone press conference this week that China and India, both handled by McCann, “are investigating whether or nor they want to come along” under the Commonwealth tent.

Ewanick touted savings of more than $2 billion over the  next five years as a result of this creative consolidation from 70 shops PLUS GM’s recent global media consolidation to Carat, which is part of yet a third big holding company Aegis (More on that later).

Has the scope of the work really changed here for Chevrolet creative? Even if the same creative idea is used in several different markets around the globe, the ads will have to be reworked in other languages and GM’s legal beagles will have to be more involved. Commonwealth bring complexity, not simplicity, to the mix.

There was lots of happy talk during GM’s phone press conference from the involved agency partners. McCann Worldgroup Chairman Nick Brien, chairman and CEO, McCann Worldgroup, called the new Detroit-based shop “a unique opportunity… that will make sure Chevrolet has a global voice.”

Jeff Goodby,co-chairman and creative chief at Chevrolet’s USA agency, dubbed it “a great collaboration.” Goodby, whose shop was hand-picked by Ewanick for Chevy’s US creative account , admitted during the call that the interests of the top brass of the holding companies can “kind of be at odds with each other.” But, he added , that doesn’t extend down the corporate rank and since he knows all the McCann creatives who will be involved personally, “the egos will be checked at the door.”

Easier said than done. Anyone who has worked for an agency creative chief knows how they can be. It’s great these creatives from different agencies know one another. But that’s personal and this is business we’re talking about. I do think these guys will play well together – for a while at least anyway – for the sake of the client and the account.  But how long will it last if one agency’s work keeps winning? Will the egos stay at the door? Let’s be realistic I think not.

GM has tried this dual-company approach in the past, when it had its massive USA media planning and buying split between IPG and Publicis. At the time, GM’s brass said the holding companies’ two agencies would work well together. But in the end, to the surprise of no one but GM apparently, they didn’t play nice with each other at all. The automaker ended up consolidating its media business at Publicis, which just lost its US account to Aegis’ Carat after a global review.

GM’s dual media agency set up all happened before Ewanick arrived. Still, isn’t history there to teach us lessons, especially when things go wrong? It’s the old “live-and-learn” adage, which really just means we have to learn the hard way.

Adding Carat on media into the mix globally to work with Chevy’s hybrid creative agency owned by two other holding companies certainly has the potential to complicate things further. What are the best mediums to use in each country? And will the creatives and media folks agree? Who’s the referee here? If the bottom line determines the buys, will the creatives be happy?

I AM impressed with the creative firepower Commonwealth has assembled. Jeff Goodby is one of four creatives on the new agency’s board and will serve as Commonwealth’s creative chairman.

The other three are:

–Washington Olivetto, chairman of WMcCann and chief creative officer of McCann Worldgroup across Latin America and the Caribbean. Olivetto has won more than 50 Lions at Cannes in just the film category, elected  Advertising Man of the Century by the Latin American Advertising Agencies and in 2009 was inducted into the FIAP’s Hall of Fame of FIAP (Ibero-American Advertising Festival).

- Swede Linus Karlsson, who joined McCann earlier this year as chairman and chief creative officer of its Manhattan and London offices. Karlsson moved to the US in 1996 to work at Fallon in Minneapolis on brands like BMW and Miller Lite before co-founding the successful, indie New York shop Mother.

-Indian-born Prasoon Joshi, who, since late 2006 has been executive chairman for McCann Worldgroup India along with regional creative director-Asia Pacific. He started his ad career as a copywriter, but is also a Bollywood film songwriter, poet and screenwriter. In 2007 and 2008, he won the Filmfare Best Lyricist Award.

Here’s the foursome

(Left to Right: Olivetto; Goodby; Joshi; Karlsson)

Meanwhile, an interesting duo to watch will be the co-managing directors of Commonwealth in Detroit: Joe Garcia, president of McCann Midwest in suburban Detroit and Todd Grantham, Goodby’s account chief in San Fran, who will relocate to the Motor City.

Believe it or not I am rooting for this whole thing to work. I’d like to see Chevrolet get its act together and do well around the world. But the biggest challenge I see in this whole set is : It up simply flies in the face of human nature.

-Jean Halliday-

Follow me on Facebook, LinkedIn and Forbes.com

On Twitter: @jhal2001


Musical Chairs Again At General Motors’ Marketing

General Motors quietly shifted a couple of marketing execs around in recent weeks.
Chris Perry, named vice president of marketing for all USA brands at the start of 2011, was moved back to Chevrolet, this time to the new position of global marketing and strategy chief. It’s the third position for Perry since he arrived from Hyundai Motor America about a year ago.
Rick Scheidt, who was vice president-marketing of Chevrolet, has been moved to a new product and pricing job under North American GM Prez Mark Reuss, a GM spokesman confirmed to AutoAdOpolis.
So who takes Perry’s place as the head of all GM’s marketing here?
That would be Joel Ewanick, who was named global marketing chief last December.
Perry told me at Chevy’s cool Woodward Dream Cruise event yesterday that he still reports to Ewanick, but Joel is now focusing more on USA marketing.
“We’re going to start managing the brands as brands,” said Perry.
Okay.
The moves all seem to be good news. GM has recognized it has a problem with consistent advertising that is above average.
Now let’s get to it, shall we?

GM’s Advertising Is Disappointing

General Motors has had plenty of time to get its advertising house in order.
It’s been more than a year now since the General moved the account for its biggest brand, Chevrolet, to San Francisco’s Goodby, Silverstein & Partnership. And the one-year anniversary of Fallon, Minneapolis, taking over the Cadillac account, is coming up.
Overall, the work has been a huge disappointment, with only a few shining moments.
A shame really, since what better time for GM to really kick their advertising into high gear. GM should have used this time to clearly define each of its four brands, differentiate them and try to win back American buyers with compelling communications in all channels.
And a bigger shame when you also consider how much GM is spending. The automaker shelled out $542 million in U.S. measured media in the first quarter of this year, according to Kantar. That was enough to rank GM as the nation’s third largest advertiser. GM outspent the three other carmakers in the top 10 – #7 Chrysler; #8 Toyota and #9 Ford. GM outspent Ford by $243 million, Toyota by $235 million and Chrysler by $223 mil.
Arguably, at least two of those other automakers are getting more bang for their ad buck.
Now the grapevine is buzzing that Goodby Silverstein is in the hot seat with GM.
And Fallon had an exodus of its Detroit staffers on Caddy, with less than 10 of its original 22 staffers still standing a couple of months ago. Some of them split on their own; others were pushed.
Is there a Chevy or Cadillac ad that impressed any one of you and made you say “I wish we had done that?” I doubt it.
Even Joel Ewanick, GM’s VP of global marketing, seems frustrated.
During a recent interview on Autoline Detroit, Ewanick confessed he’s been hard on all of GM’s agencies, including Leo Burnett USA on Buick and GMC. (Ads for those two brands aren’t setting the world on fire either.) He said the reason he’s tough on them is he’s looking for consistency in the messaging.
While Joel handed kudos to Fallon for “nailing” Caddy’s new ad theme of “red-blooded luxury” in the first TV commercial early this year, he admitted “we had some trouble getting the (other) ads ready,” and those others were “just okay.”
Yeah, like this one- still airing- called “Raindrops” for the CTS-V. Narrator Laurence Fishburne tells us in the spot: “ When you build the world’s fastest production sedan, you consider everything. Like at 190 mph, even a simple raindrop becomes a powerful force. The Cadillac CTS-V, every detail built for speed and performance, right down to the windshield wipers. We don’t just make luxury cars, we make Cadillacs.”

Windshield wipers? Really? And this has exactly WHAT to do with Cadillac? You gotta wonder what they were thinking.
Actually Sherry Weitzman, national ad manager of Caddy, explains in this behind-the-scenes’ YouTube video that the big idea behind the ad is to show the brand’s attention to detail, craftsmanship and excellent engineering.

But is that what the commercial is really doing?  Not even close.
This YouTube video has only gotten 5,500 views in six months- not exactly a viral marketing miracle by any means.
Seems the Fallon guys just wanted to use their fancy camera. And the commercial is too similar to a Cadillac Super Bowl spot about 7 years ago showing a car driving through rain in slow motion.
At least Fallon didn’t propose an ad with sofas driving down the road, as Bartle Bogle Hegarty in New York did during its short tenure on the account. BBH figured just because THEY thought of Cadillacs that way, the rest of the world still did. Hello!
Speaking of Fallon, Ewanick admitted “it’s never the agency’s fault, totally.” (A main truism of the business rarely verbalized by CMOs) So, he said, the client made people changes at both Fallon and inside GM.
Meanwhile, on Chevrolet, Ewanick gave Goodby a grade of “a solid C” overall. (Ouch!) Although he added “thanks to the Super Bowl, it was closer to a B.”
Were we watching the same Super Bowl with all those so-so commercials for Chevrolet?
At any rate, what compelling advertising have we seen for Chevrolet since then? Can’t think of any? Me neither.
Chevy should be in high gear by now with its new messaging and ad tag “Chevy Runs Deep.” But we’re simply not seeing it. That’s a damn shame. Let’s hope Goodby hits it out of the park for Chevrolet’s big centennial communications.
“You’ll see the work get better,” said Ewanick.
Let’s hope so.
* THIS POST IS ALSO MY CURRENT “AD RAP” IN CNW RESEARCH’S LATEST PULSE EDITION OF RETAIL AUTOMOTIVE SUMMARY.

MAKING TRACKS: MARTIN COLLINS has recently returned to Ford Motor Co. as a general sales manager after 4+ years at Group One Automotive, where he was most recently regional VP in the West. He’s moved back to Michigan to work in Dearborn. Marty started his career in 1985 at Ford where he held a variety of assignments within Ford Division including marketing, field operations, franchising, product development and strategy. He also worked internationally, where he was Northern Regional Manager for Ford of Britain for two years. Welcome back, Marty!