The first closed-door summit in New York last September generated about 20 proposals, said Mike Jackson, GM's VP-marketing and advertising in North America. Several of the pitches bore fruit, he said, including deals with Time Warner, Yahoo and an undisclosed upcoming ESPN program with GM's Hummer brand, he said. Mr. Jackson declined further comment.
ESPN likely to return
Last year's attendees seem likely to come back. The first summit resulted in "deeper relationships with GM," said Ed Erhardt, ESPN president of consumer sales and marketing, who plans to go again this year. He praised the car company for articulating its strategy and needs; too many marketers undermine their own goals by offering relatively inchoate or partly disclosed strategies.
"As a media seller, it's terrific to be able to hear what GM's goals are and how GM wants to work with you," Mr. Erhardt said.
After the 2006 session, GM invited ESPN execs to Detroit to present a broad look at the Walt Disney Co.'s offerings and how the properties connect. Ad teams from GM's vehicle brands attended that meeting last fall, Mr. Erhardt said.
The objectives of GM's first summit, outlined in the invites, were three-fold: to provide insight into GM's vision; to build and foster relationships with GM's media partners; and to communicate expectations for 2007 and beyond.
No. 2 U.S. advertiser
The automaker was the second-largest advertiser in U.S. measured media last year, spending $2.29 billion or nearly 24% less than 2005, according to TNS Media Intelligence. GM has disputed the drop, saying it was only 10%.
Jeremy Anwyl, president of Edmunds.com, also plans to attend the summit again.
Mr. Anwyl said that at last year's summit, GM gave out personal e-mails for all its dozen executives in attendance, and a two-hour reception following the 90-minute presentation allowed for a lot of networking. "That sort of access is unusual in this business."