Ewanick’s Latest Moves

General Motor’s advertising and marketing officials under new vp-marketing Joel Ewanick are probably more jittery this week.
Ewanick is bolstering the team he inherited when he arrived at GM in mid-May as vp-marketing with an outside hire- someone he knows from his gig as Hyundai. AND- a key brand ad director was moved out of that position.
Ewanick tapped Liz Boone for an undisclosed strategic planning job at GM from Innocean Worldwide Americas. She she was group account director on Hyundai’s passenger cars there since May 2009. Her last day at Hyundai’s in-house shop in Huntington Beach, Cal was Wednesday, June 30.
Also on June 30, Steve Rosenblum was pulled as director of advertising and promotions at Chevrolet after four months in the job. He’s apparently still at GM.
The move is surprising since Steve is one of the few folks at GM with actual ad agency experience plus he did such a bang-up job during his long tenure as ad director of GMC.
He arrived at GM in 1996 as a Cadillac brand manager from Grey Advertising in LA, where he was an account planner on Pan-American. Before that Steve toiled at Bayer Bess Vanderwarker, in Chicago, and Interpublic Group, New York.
Liz Boone has tons of auto ad agency experience. Before she joined Innocean, she worked on Mazda at Doner for two years as group account director. She also spent a couple of years at JWT as an account leader on Ford.
Is it a co-incidence Boone was a key member of the team at the now-defunct D’Arcy aka chemistri in Troy, Michigan (now Leo Burnett Detroit) that launched Cadillac’s first Escalade suv for GM and the “Break Through” blitz with Led Zeppelin for the brand?
Ewanick is moving Cadillac’s ad account (see last week’s blog).
His first order of business upon his arrival at GM was moving Chevy’s national creative account without a review to Goodby, Silverstein & Partners, San Francisco from Publicis, which had won it before his arrival after a formal pitch.
Ewanick worked with Goodby & Co. when the agency had Porsche and he was general marketing manager at the sports car outfit, then later when Goodby had Hyundai.
There’s nothing sinister about a new CMO changing agencies or hiring new people- happens all the time.
Make no mistake, Ewanick is a change agent for GM.
Like other car companies GM rotates their rising stars through marketing – my BIGGEST beef about the car biz. So GM has its share of in-bred marketeers. Need evidence? Take a look at the advertising that’s come for the company’s 4 remaining vehicle brands in the past year. Shows that big change is needed – like YESTERDAY.
T he rest of the industry isn’t standing still and waiting for GM to get its act together. The company’s slicker, improved products deserve much better messaging.
We’re counting on Joel to lead the way.
More changes coming? Bet the farm on it.

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