Ewanick Puts Mark on Cadillac -- by Preparing to Move Account

GM Marketing Chief Readies Shift of $270 Million Business From BBH; New Agency Home Unconfirmed

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NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- Like a nitpicky interior decorator who shakes his head disdainfully at what was done before he arrived, General Motors Co. VP-Marketing Joel Ewanick is making another change to suit his style.

Joel Ewanick
Joel Ewanick
Multiple industry executives have told Advertising Age that Mr. Ewanick is relieving Bartle Bogle Hegarty, New York, of creative duties on the $270 million Cadillac business and shifting the account to another agency.

It is unclear at this point where the account is being moved, only that Publicis Groupe-backed BBH is apparently out.

When asked to comment, General Motors spokesman Pat Morrissey said, "We do not comment on speculation." BBH didn't return calls for comment.

As to the mystery of where the account will end up, several executives said Mr. Ewanick, despite being given virtual carte blanche by the Detroit-based automaker, is under some pressure not to make yet another dramatic move. The Cadillac account, they said, could remain under the Publicis Groupe umbrella but at a different agency or a yet-to-be-determined holding company.

Publicis has already lost the biggest piece of GM's business. Last month, less than a week after taking over at the automaker after his surprise departure from Nissan, Mr. Ewanick shifted creative duties on the $600 million Chevrolet account to Omnicom Group's Goodby, Silverstein & Partners only weeks after it was consolidated at Publicis.

That decision did not sit well with Publicis, and it's likely this one may ruffle some feathers, too. But at least BBH had a half a year with Cadillac. GM awarded the Caddy business to the agency in January after a review that began last October. BBH replaced Boston-based Modernista, which had the account for three years.

BBH's first work debuted in early May, just before Mr. Ewanick took over, though it was created under the auspices of former GM marketing chief Susan Docherty. The 30-second spots carried a new tagline, "Mark of Leadership," which replaced Modernista's "Life, Liberty and the Pursuit." Mr. Ewanick is said to dislike the BBH tagline since the time of his arrival at GM.

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Contributing: Rupal Parekh

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