Nearly two years after tapping Bartle Bogle Hegarty, New York, to help it shed the tarnished GMAC name, Ally Financial is now seeking new creative ideas. According to people familiar with the review, the Publicis-backed ad agency will defend the business.
"Ally Financial Inc. has made a request for proposal to several agencies for future Ally advertising work," a spokeswoman told Ad Age via email. "We regularly evaluate our marketing efforts and are taking this opportunity to invite other agencies to present concepts and strategy." She added that " BBH is included in the RFP but because we're early in the process it's not certain how that agency relationship, or others, will be impacted."
Requests for comment from Bartle Bogle were not returned by press time. The agency began working with Ally in 2009, helping communicate a new, more transparent identity for the financial brand with a major ad campaign that highlighted unfair banking practices through the lens of children.
The potential loss of Ally could deal another serious blow to the U.S. arm of the Bartle Bogle micro-network. The biggest account that Bartle Bogle's New York office has ever had, the $270 million Cadillac business, was yanked suddenly last year under GM marketer Joel Ewanick. He moved it to Publicis' Fallon.
Ally spent between $80 million to $90 million in domestic measured media in 2010, down slightly from $90 million to $100 million in 2009, according to Kantar.
The New York office has also has lost several key executives. Chief creative officer Kevin Roddy departed in September and has yet to be replaced. His exit came on the heels of the departures of BBH Labs' head Ben Malbon, who went to Google, and office Chairman Steve Harty, who has moved on to consulting.
For the agency that picks up Ally as a new account, it will be working with a marketer that is in turnaround mode. It continues to try and distance itself from the GMAC trademark that it licensed from General Motors and reduce its mortgage exposure. For full-year 2010, Ally reported net income of $1.1 billion, compared to a net loss of $10.3 billion in 2009. "2010 was a transformational year for Ally as we successfully achieved our strategic objectives and restored financial performance," Ally CEO Michael Carpenter said last month while announcing the company's earnings.