GM Hands Publicis Chevy Work for Olympics

Campbell-Ewald to Keep Truck and Eco Assignments During Winter Games

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DETROIT (AdAge.com) -- General Motors Co.'s Chevrolet tapped Publicis to handle the work for three models that will air during the Winter Olympics. The win came after a review that included longtime incumbent Campbell-Ewald, Warren, Mich.; Interpublic Group of Cos. sibling McCann Erickson, Birmingham, Mich.; the Dallas and Seattle offices of Publicis; plus MindMeld, Dallas, a startup by GSD&M founder Tim McClure, according to two executives close to the matter.

Publicis will create work for the Chevy Equinox that will air during the Winter Olympics in February.
Publicis will create work for the Chevy Equinox that will air during the Winter Olympics in February. Credit: GM
A Chevrolet spokesman declined to confirm which agencies pitched or the assignments up for grabs, saying the marketer was in the process of writing a press release on the matter. Representatives at the four agencies either declined to comment or could not be reached.

Although it was not clear at press time which Publicis office will handle the assignment, the agency will be creating new work for three Chevrolet models, the Malibu, Traverse and Equinox, that will air during the Winter Olympics in February and continue into the second quarter, the sources said.

The assignment is a feather in Publicis' cap, as its New York office is among three finalists for GM's entire Cadillac national and regional creative business, as well as its digital account. The shop will present next month against Interpublic's Martin, Richmond, Va., and Bartle Bogle Hegarty, New York. Publicis Groupe's Leo Burnett, Detroit, handles GM's Buick and GMC national creative accounts, and the holding company's Starcom MediaVest Group handles GM's media planning and buying account.

Campbell-Ewald keeps Chevrolet truck advertising for the Olympics, along with the assignment to create Olympic ads for Eco fuel-efficiency vehicles, including the upcoming Volt plug-in electric model due late next year.

Brent Dewar called the review several months ago when he was VP-general manager and global coordinator of Chevrolet. But Mr. Dewar resigned last week and will leave GM April 1 after 31 years at the carmaker. He did not return an e-mail.

GM Chairman and interim CEO Ed Whitacre encouraged Mr. Dewar to invite MindMeld to the pitch, having worked with Mr. McClure and GSD&M during his tenure at AT&T, two executives said.

MindMeld is a virtual unknown. Mr. McClure's LinkedIn page says it will launch in the first quarter of 2010 and describes it as a "virtual alliance of creative solutions companies -- a single source for your most challenging marketing problems."

The pitch didn't get under way in earnest until the week before Thanksgiving and the decision came yesterday, executives said.

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Rupal Parekh contributed to this report.