Mr Shifter Joel Ewanick at General Motors appoints two new Afro-American agencies

It’s been a while since new General Motors marketing supremo Joel Ewanick hove on to our horizon but he’s been changing agencies again, this time with a semblance of strategy behind it.

This week Joel has appointed Carol H.Williams in Oakland, California, to handle Cadillac advertising aimed at Afro-Americans (about $25m worth) and Spike DDB in New York to do the same job for Chevrolet, worth quite a bit more presumably. Up till two years ago Carol H.Williams did this job for Chevvy so the agency is clearly a known quantity.

GM is on the brink of the arguably the most important event in its history, the IPO to relist the company on the New York Stock Exchange after its embarrassing collapse into Chapter 12 administration and subsequent bail-out by the US government at the height of the credit crunch.

At one time it was the biggest company in the world.

These days a huge proportion of GM sales, and an even bigger percentage of profits, come from outside the US. Its joint ventures in China have been keeping the company’s head above water for years.

And this maybe accounts for Ewanick’s frenetic changes in the company’s marketing and agency line-up. It needs to start selling in the States and fast.

Black Americans are clearly high up the target list, for run-of-the-mill Chevvys and upscale Caddys. We can see the Chevvy argument but wouldn’t you sooner have an Aston Martin than a Cadillac?

Anyway presumably Ewanick has done his numbers. Let’s hope all his new agencies deliver for him.

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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.