On November 3, 2011, Chevrolet (one of America’s oldest and most beloved automobile manufacturing companies) will turn 100. Needless to say, it will be an occasion worth celebrating, and one that will surely be advertised all over the world. What is interesting, however, is that GM has decided to give that task to New York-based Mother Advertising, rather than Goodby, Silverstein & Partners, who have been responsible for most of Chevy’s advertising campaigns in recent history.
The decision (which was made by newly-appointed GM marketing chief, Joel Ewanick) has caused some controversy in Detroit, and rightfully so. Upon joining GM, one of Ewanick’s first acts was to fire Chevy’s former agency, Publicis, and move the account (worth upwards of $30 million) to GS&P. Now, there are rumors that Ewanick is unsatisfied with the work that is currently being done at GS&P – work that includes the “Chevy Runs Deep” campaign, as well as a tie-in with the latest Transformers film – but GS&P co-founder Jeff Goodby seems surprisingly calm. “It’s a really big account,” he told Noreen O’Leary during his interview with AdWeek, “and it’s not like the old days where agency people hold these accounts so tightly and never let in other light. I’m fine and open about having other good agencies like Mother work on the business.”
Personally, as someone who has had almost no experience with professional advertising agencies, I found this article fascinating on many different levels. For instance, I never realized that a company would (or, for that matter, could) divvy up their advertising campaigns between multiple agencies. When you think about it, though, it makes perfect sense: if you’ve got a primary agency who does most of your advertising for you, but there is another who specializes in a certain area (like Mother does with digital projects, in this case), then why wouldn’t you outsource? Certainly, it may not be the most cost-effective way to do things, but for a company like Chevrolet (who obviously has the money) and an event such as a centennial celebration, you want to build a campaign that people will remember for the next one-hundred years.