Goodby had been in the pitch for the anticipated $100 million-plus Ion launch next fall, but was awarded the entire account, executives familiar with the situation said.
The win is a major victory for Goodby, which long has been interested in adding another car account since parting ways in 1998 with Porsche after a five-year relationship. The agency will continue to work with American Isuzu Motors, owned in part by GM.
The move is a major blow to incumbent Publicis Groupe's Publicis & Hal Riney, San Francisco.
Other finalists in the
The fall launch of the new Ion small car will replace Saturn's mainstay S-Series.
Jeff Goodby and Rich Silverstein, the agency's co-chairmen, worked with Hal Riney early in their careers and broke away from Ogilvy & Mather when Mr. Riney headed that office. Mr. Riney subsequently won the Saturn account in 1990 after setting up his own independent shop.