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How Jeff Goodby Explained the Chevy Loss to GSP Employees

Read Memo to Staff About General Motors' Move to Nix Shop From Commonwealth Structure

By Published on . 10

Jeff Goodby
Jeff Goodby
Yesterday GM finally admitted that it was redoing the less-than-a-year-old Commonwealth structure -- a partnership between Goodby Silverstein & Partners and McCann that it not long ago dubbed historic. The result is to eliminate GSP from the 50-50 joint venture based in Detroit, and give all global ad responsibilities for Chevy to Interpublic Group of Cos.' McCann.

Those staffers hired by GSP, numbering about 200, now have to move to McCann or seek employment elsewhere. In this internal note obtained by Ad Age, GSP founder Jeff Goodby urges his staff to go, and says he's been proud of the work they did. But he also admits the loss is a highly emotional one.

From: Jeff Goodby
Date: Thursday, March 14, 2013
To: Agency Announcements
Subject: From Goodby Re: Detroit

To everyone in Detroit:

I am sorry I am not there today. Things began to happen quickly while on the flight back to San Francisco.

You have probably read about GM consolidating the Chevy account at a Commonwealth owned only by McCann. This is indeed happening.

Why? Well, actually for a couple reasons. Okay, three.

First, it was Chevy's feeling that Commonwealth had to be simplified.

Processes can perhaps be a little more streamlined this way.

Second, cooperating with this wish and working to make this inevitable transition easy and powerful will save jobs. To me, that is simple and important. We are an accomplished, thoughtful thing, here at Commonwealth, and I am so proud of what you guys can and will do. I want to keep things intact.

As you will see in the press release, McCann and Chevy have promised to offer everyone at Commonwealth a chance to stay in his or her job.

You will come to work in the same place, and work with the same people, for the foreseeable future. This is good.

Finally, I am proud of the work we have done together, the success we've shared for three years now. And I thank everyone from both sides of Commonwealth for creating a campaign look, feel, and line that will last for decades, I hope. The edifice of this important and beautiful campaign -- with all the aesthetic and procedural decisions that it entailed -- will endure.

I wanted to make sure Commonwealth wasn't simply closed down, goodbye and good luck. We have kept that from happening and that is a good thing.

When it all sank in, though, I started get a little emotional. I think this is why:

Everything and everyone here was a carefully considered decision. You are here because you are the right person for what you do, the best we could find. Opening in downtown Detroit was a BIG decision. And then there is this place and the things in it.

All these terrific decisions will stay in place, but the energy and great execution that went into them will be turned over to another company. All that work and thinking. And that part saddens me a lot.

I will come see everyone in Detroit in the next couple weeks. We will go out together. Until then, if you have any questions, please don't hesitate to ask Todd or me.

And of course, thanks so so much.

JG

P.S. In Detroit, we'll be getting everyone together in the next hour or so. In San Francisco, it will be tomorrow, Friday morning, at 10:00.

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