Online Exclusive: Account Action

GM $3.5 Billion Media Account Goes in Review

Incumbent Interpublic Group of Cos. Units Invited to Defend

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DETROIT (AdAge.com) -- General Motors Corp., the nation's second-largest advertiser in 2004, has put into review its $3.5 billion national and regional dealer group media-buying account, according to the company.

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The $3.5 billion includes nearly $2.8 billion in GM's own advertising; the rest is for dealer association media buying, also in review.

The spokeswoman said the national and regional incumbents -- Interpublic Group of Cos.' General Motors Mediaworks of Warren, Mich., and New York, and LCI of New York, respectively -- have been invited to defend. A decision is expected in two months, the spokeswoman said. An internal team will conduct the review, and no search consultant has been hired.

Mediaworks vs. Starcom
Mediaworks, GM's dedicated buying agency, which was formed in 1994, will do battle against Publicis Groupe's Starcom MediaVest. In 2004 Starcom won GM's out-of-home account, which Mediaworks had handled.

Starcom's sibling, General Motors Planworks, Detroit, has been the automaker's dedicated media planner and researcher since its formation in late 2000.

Richard Sirvaitis, president of Mediaworks, was on a plane from Detroit back to New York at press time and unavailable to comment, his assistant said. Dennis Donlin, president of Planworks, declined comment and referred calls to GM.

'Competitive landscape has changed'
When asked why GM is conducting the review, the spokeswoman replied: "The competitive landscape has changed so much that it's time to take a fresh look at things."

GM has been losing market share in the U.S. due to increasing difficulties moving its vehicles, even with steep incentives.