The shift, expected to be announced in the next 24 hours, is further proof that Deutsch is on the rebound after a miserable 2005. The Interpublic Group of Cos. agency last year reconnected with two former clients, Ikea and DirecTV, and is began a relationship with General Motors that is blossoming.
Mike Sheldon, president of the Los Angeles office, didn't return phone calls. An agency spokeswoman referred calls to the carmaker.
Mike Jackson, GM's VP-marketing and advertising in North America, could not be reached for comment. A GM spokeswoman wouldn't comment.
Goodby, part of Omnicom Group, won the account five years ago and is only Saturn's second creative agency. When Goodby assumed the account, Saturn was struggling from a lack of new products. But the brand's model pipeline started flowing last year and it is currently expanding its offerings.
Goodby, with about 350 full-time employees, has about 70 people working on the account, about half of them in Saturn field offices. The agency would not comment.
Saturn built its brand on the concept of customer care; its first tagline, from Hal Riney & Partners, was "A different kind of car. A different kind of car company," ran from its earliest days until Goodby modified it to "It's different in a Saturn." The tagline changed in 2004 to "People First" and again last year "Like always. Like never before," which was meant to hearken back to its customer-service heritage while looking forward to new models.
Saturn sold 226,375 vehicles last year in the U.S., up 6% from 2005, according to the company. Mr. Jackson told Advertising Age earlier this month that Saturn's ad budget would increase from 2006 to promote its new models. From January to September 2006, GM spent $125 million on Saturn's national advertising.
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Alice Z. Cuneo contributed to this report.