Goodbye Chrysler says Fallon and Publicis Groupe

US car accounts are on the move again with Publicis Groupe’s Fallon agency dumping Chrysler to handle General Motors’ Cadillac, just a week or so after GM’s new marketing supremo Joel Ewanick dumped the Publicis-owned BBH from the account.

This came hard on the heels of newly-appointed Ewanick firing the Publicis agency from GM’s biggest account Chevrolet and moving it to Omnicom-owned agency Goodby Silverstein.

Publicis Groupe boss Maurice Levy seems to have been working overtime, and successfully, to keep some GM business inside his company, apparently offering to set up a new agency just to handle Cadillac.

Ewanick says that Fallon is the obvious home for the luxury marque (even though Fallon is based in Minneapolis) because he once worked with it on Porsche. Is there any car brand this man hasn’t handled? Mini Metro possibly.

The losers in all this (apart from the reputations of apparently fickle car marketers and ad agencies) are BBH, which finds itself car-less and, of course, Chrysler, the number three carmaker.

But Chrysler, even in good times, spent only a fraction of the amount GM spent. It currently spends about $600m across all its brands through a number of agencies whereas Cadillac alone is worth $270m.

The move by Publicis may also indicate that it has doubts over Chrysler’s future. For the most part Chrysler always seems to be hanging on as a viable entity. At the moment it’s effectively being run by Italian carmaker Fiat and its boss Sergio Marchione.

But it’s open to debate whether or not the limited amount of magic Fiat has at its disposal (it doesn’t seem to have any money to put in) will succeed in moving Chrysler into safe territory.

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About Stephen Foster

Stephen is a former editor of Marketing Week and London Evening Standard advertising columnist. He wrote City Republic for Brand Republic and is a partner in communications consultancy The Editorial Partnership.