GM Media Partners Summit Seeks More Bang for $4.4 Billion Marketing Spend

This Week's Meeting with Industry Titans Pushes Integration

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DETROIT (AdAge.com) -- A who's who of media titans -- likely armed with reams of ideas and plans -- will descend on New York's Lincoln Center this week to court the company that wields $4.4 billion in marketing spending.
GM Chairman-CEO Rick Wagoner is expected to stress to media industry leaders the automaker's desire for deeper and broader integration in the content of various media platforms.
GM Chairman-CEO Rick Wagoner is expected to stress to media industry leaders the automaker's desire for deeper and broader integration in the content of various media platforms.

Media summit
The invited guests to General Motors Corp.'s first Media Partner Summit include executives from Time Warner, Viacom, Universal, Walt Disney Co., Google, NBC Universal and Hearst Corp., who will meet with GM Chairman-CEO Rick Wagoner; Mark LaNeve, VP-vehicle sales, service and marketing; and Mike Jackson, VP-marketing. One goal of the three-and-a-half-hour meeting is to forge more cross-media deals and integrated, multiplatform marketing opportunities.

"We want to be more than the biggest spenders," Mr. Jackson said. "We're all about building relationships with our key media partners."

In-show ads
GM is expected to ask attendees for more programs such as one recently inked with Viacom: Chevrolet was the official vehicle of the "MTV Video Music Awards," E85 flexible-fuel models provided on-site transportation for talent, and in-show ads sent viewers to reduceuruse.com to create videos and learn about E85.

Michael Clinton, exec VP-chief marketing officer and publishing director, Hearst Magazines, said GM execs "want to brief their media partners on how they would like to work with us in the future ... and the role of integration of media platforms moving forward."

Focusing on what's efficient
Jeremy Anwyl, president of auto site Edmunds.com, said he couldn't fault GM's practice of historically pushing for good media deals. "But so many times you get good deals that may be cheap but not a smart buy," he said. "GM is focusing now on what's efficient." He credited the carmaker with trying to better connect with the media world.

One invited media executive who asked not to be named said, "GM's going to be ... asking for help from media companies that go beyond the transactional and ... focus on GM's needs."

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Abbey Klaassen and Nat Ives contributed to this report.
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