GM Hands Saab, Corporate Accounts to McCann Erickson

Lowe, Deutsch Lose Out in Automaker's 'Corporate Alignment' Move

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DETROIT (AdAge.com) -- McCann Erickson, Birmingham, Mich., which was scheduled to lose General Motors Corp.'s Buick account Oct. 1, will assume the automaker's U.S. Saab account and get back GM's corporate account Jan. 1.
McCann's Interpublic Group of Cos. sibling Lowe, New York, handles Saab, while another Interpublic shop, Deutsch, Los Angeles, picked up GM's corporate account without a review a year ago.

A spokeswoman for the automaker confirmed the moves, calling them a "corporate alignment" within Interpublic, but she declined to say who proposed the shift -- GM or the holding company. She said Sweden's Lowe Brindfors, which worked with Lowe, New York, on the account globally since early 2001, will continue to handle Saab in Europe.

A blow to Lowe
The shift is a blow to Lowe, which will lose GM's GMC truck brand Oct. 1 along with Saab. The automaker said in late June it would consolidate its Pontiac-Buick-GMC accounts at Publicis Groupe's Leo Burnett, Chicago. There was no review.

Saab spent just $6 million in U.S. measured media during the first half of 2007 and $53 million in calendar 2006, according to TNS Media Intelligence. TNS figures show GM spent $59 million on corporate advertising in the first half and $263 million in calendar 2006.

The grapevine in Detroit's ad industry had wondered of late why McCann had not laid off a chunk of its estimated 225 staffers at its relatively new, swanky offices in trendy downtown Birmingham. That question appears to be answered now.

Until two years ago, GM had been one of the most stable clients for its ad agencies. But since then, the marketer has moved its corporate, Cadillac, Saturn, Buick and GMC accounts, and had shifted Chevrolet's motor-sports and Major League Baseball work from Interpublic's Campbell Ewald, Warren, Mich., to Deutsch, Los Angeles, for a year. That work has returned to Campbell Ewald.
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