Come on Joel, make your mind up about General Motors media and Chevrolet

General Motors global CMO Joel Ewanick has been chatting to Ad Age at the important North America International Auto Show in Detroit and he says he still hasn’t made up his mind about the lucky winner of the company’s $3bn global media account (there’ll probably be more than one, if only to save the face of the losers).

He says the process is more complicated than he thought (the company, bizarrely, uses 40 plus media agencies around the world as well as a scarcely less baffling 50 or so creative agencies) and he’s been impressed by the quality of the presentations to the extent that he keeps changing his mind ( “No one out there knows anything. They think they do. But it can change tomorrow. I went to bed last night, and changed my mind”).

It’s just as likely that Ewanick is involved into thumbscrew-like negotiations over cost and, possibly, payment by results as he says the media review is looking at effectiveness as much as price. So, frustratingly, we’ll have to wait a bit for this one: “We need a couple of extra weeks…we hoped to have it wrapped up before Christmas, we couldn’t do it.”

Ewanick is also reviewing the flagship Chevrolet creative account, handled in the US by Goodby Silverstein who he brought in almost immediately on taking charge at GM. This led to the dumping of Publicis (subsequently awarded the consolation prize of Cadillac) and Bartle Bogle Hegarty from Cadillac (no consolation prize).

Goodby’s work has been gloomy in the extreme and much criticised for it.

And if this stuff doesn’t work in America it’s hardly like to drag buyers into the showrooms anywhere else. So Ewanick has a creative problem as well as a media problem, arguably a bigger one as another duff campaign would be more than embarrassing.

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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.

One comment

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    “So, frustratingly, we’ll have to wait a bit for this one”… Didn’t you “scoop” the news on this one and declare Carat as the AOR? (

    Let’s remind ourselves as well that this is more than just a matter of one person rolling over in bed at night counting sheep and thinking, “Well I like THEM better.” I trust that while Ewanick is the final decision-maker, there is a team at GM for decisions just like this one, just as there was a team from each agency who gave presentations that were “… so darn good, it made the decision process that much harder.” (Quoting Ewanick)

    Anyone who will be directly impacted by the outcome of this decision is grateful for interviews like the one Ewanick gave to AdAge. It’s much more satisfying to read that than to read published rumors.