Phil Guarascio, VP-general manager of marketing and advertising for North American Operations at GM, confirmed the program, dubbed Alpha Awards.
"It's to celebrate the best of the best in GM," he said. "It's to rearticulate management's com-mitment to good work."
Mr. Guarascio declined to reveal the judges or the prizes. In addition to creative, and other undisclosed criteria, he said advertising's effectiveness would be part of the scorecard.
Translation: Ad campaigns that boosted specific model sales would fare better than those that didn't.
Executives close to the carmaker said prizes will be some sort of trophies and judges are from within GM, possibly including all or several divisional general managers.
"They are going to use it as a way to evaluate their agencies," speculated an auto consultant, who asked not to be named.
It isn't clear whether newly named Ammirati Puris Lintas is being considered for this round of awards.
GM didn't invent the internal-awards idea. It may be taking cues from two other major advertisers.
Procter & Gamble Co. has a similar program, about which it declined to disclose details.
GM has been trying to emulate P&G since 1995, when the auto giant restructured to a brand management system similar to P&G's under then-board chairman John Smale.
Coca-Cola Co. started its program more than two years ago but "we don't have creative awards," a spokesman said. "We compensate our agencies based on the performance of our brands."
Mr. Guarascio said in early 1996 that GM would adopt a new, standardized agency compensation system in 1997 after testing several different methods. To date,