Warning shot for Publicis Groupe as Big Fuel is first victim of General Motors ad reviews

Most of the agency world is on tenterhooks to discover which agencies are going to be the winners and which the losers in General Motors’ two massive ad reviews – creative for its flagship Chevrolet brand and the whole $3bn global media pot.

Publicis Groupe has a stake in both camps but stands to lose the most on media with its agency Starcom handling the bulk of GM’s global media spend.

Insiders have been convinced for weeks now that the media business is on its way to Aegis-owned Carat (provided they can agree terms of course) and now it has emerged that PG has lost one significant piece of business, GM social media which has dumped recently-appointed social media agency Big Fuel in favour of moving social back into its creative agencies.

PG boss Maurice Levy only agreed to buy Big Fuel in July, presumably to strengthen PG’s relations with General Motors. GM’s global CMO Joel Ewanick (pictured) had appointed Big Fuel a few months before after working with the agency in his previous stint at Hyundai.

So his decision to dump the agency, which former Kirshenbaum Bond partner Jon Bond bought into at the start of this year, comes as an unpleasant surprise. Levy and a few thousand PG staff will hope it’s the only one.

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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.