Yikes! General Motors agencies shiver as Joel Ewanick takes global marketing job

General Motors chief marketing officer in the US Joel Ewanick has been promoted to global CMO, surely heralding, if not a reign of terror, surely a frisson or three among its agencies in Europe and elsewhere.

Ewanick joined GM in the summer after just a few weeks at Nissan (prior to that he won his spurs boosting Hyundai in a declining US car market) and promptly fired newly-appointed agency Publicis from Chevrolet in favour of Goodby Silverstein (his old Hyundai agency) and Bartle Bogle Hegarty from Cadillac.

Cadillac then moved to Publicis-owned Fallon after Publicis Groupe boss Maurice Levy threatened to carpet bomb Detroit (we’re not sure if this is the literal truth).

In the UK and Europe GM’s main account Opel (Vauxhall in the UK) appears to be handled by German agency Scholz and Friends although the company, in line with many others these days, likes to cherry pick from a roster that also includes DLKW Lowe, McCann Erickson and cross-border specialist Amsterdam Worldwide (formerly StrawberryFrog).

WPP ‘brand activation agency’ G2 (marketing agency to you and me) G2 handles Chevrolet brands in Europe which are small but making progress as the falling dollar makes them price competitive.

Ewanick’s favourite agency San Francisco-based Goodby Silverstein does not operate in Europe although its much larger Omnicom siblings BBDO, DDB and TBWA do. These handle Mercedes-Benz, Volkswagen and Nissan respectively, which may or may not concern Ewanick.

Goodby Silverstein has however opened an office in Detroit following its win of $600m Chevrolet so a move to Europe at least looks possible, which would shake things up a bit.

And shaking things up is Ewanick’s trademark.

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