NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- General Motors Co. is moving U.S. Hispanic advertising for its biggest brand, Chevrolet, to creative shop LatinWorks, and will soon name African-American and Asian-American agencies to its roster. Chevrolet's Hispanic account had been handled since 1997 by Miami-based Accentmarketing, 49% owned by Interpublic Group of Cos.
This is the second time Joel Ewanick, VP-marketing at General Motors since May, has hired LatinWorks as his Hispanic shop. He picked the Austin, Texas-based agency in a 2007 review to handle Hyundai Motor America's $30 million Hispanic account when he was VP-marketing at the automaker. That was just a few months after he appointed Omnicom's Goodby, Silverstein & Partners as Hyundai's general-market creative agency.
At GM, Mr. Ewanick moved the $600 million Chevrolet account to Goodby during his first week on the job. Omnicom-based LatinWorks' prior experience working closely and amicably with Goodby on Hyundai was a plus in getting the Chevrolet assignment for the Hispanic market."LatinWorks is considered one of the most creative agencies in the Hispanic marketing space," said Mr. Ewanick. "In addition to their creativity, they also have strong strategic talents. They produce results for their clients and we look forward to partnering with them as we tell the Chevrolet story."
LatinWorks, named Ad Age's Multicultural Agency of the Year in January, also works with Anheuser-Busch, Mars and Burger King.
GM car brands are the No. 8 advertiser in the Hispanic market, spending almost $80 million in 2009, a 15% drop from the year before. Chevrolet accounts for the biggest chunk of the Hispanic budget, but other assignments are held by Lapiz, Leo Burnett's Hispanic agency, which will continue to work on Buick and GMC (as does Leo Burnett). Cadillac hasn't had a Hispanic agency of record. Accentmarketing works with GM on assignments like minority dealer development.
Mr. Ewanick indicated that African-American and Asian-American agency assignments will be next. GM car brands haven't had an Asian-American agency of record for several years; independent A Partnership filled that role between 2002 and 2007.
In the African-American market, Publicis' New York-based Vigilante has worked on GM brands over the years along with other black agencies, and is currently the only African-American agency. Vigilante suffered a blow earlier this year when longtime president-CEO Larry Woodward, who was close to the GM business, departed in April to start his own agency Graham Stanley, named after his late father.
There was apparently no official review for the Hispanic account. LatinWorks' Hyundai business had lapsed after the car maker halted its Hispanic spending almost two years ago. The agency's executives put in calls to Mr. Ewanick, among the thousands of messages he received when he joined GM. He didn't return the phone calls from LatinWorks, but a team of senior GM marketers spent time with the shop, probing their understanding of the car category and reviewing their work.
LatinWorks was the most-awarded agency last year at Ad Age's Hispanic Creative Advertising Awards, done in partnership with the Association of Hispanic Advertising Agencies. GM is the agency's third account win this year, following retailer Marshalls and Post cereals.
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Contributing: Rich Thomaselli