"This is the largest media review on the planet Earth," says an executive close to GM. "Maybe there's a larger media review in some solar system, but not this one."
Three agencies will participate in the pitch: Interpublic Group of Cos., led by Lou Schultz, CEO of its Initiative Media Worldwide; Bcom3 Group's Starcom MediaVest Group led by Jack Klues, CEO of the media holding company, and Bob Brennan, its chief operating officer; and Carat North America, led by David Verklin, CEO.
The participants, none of whom would comment, are said to be toiling around the clock for the pitch, which will take place in mid-July. A decision is expected six weeks later. The client brief, according to executives familiar with the review, is to build a new media department for GM.
The planning-only review encompasses all divisions of GM, including Buick and Cadillac, but excluding Saab and Saturn, the spokesman says. Media planning now is handled by 17 agencies, including GM's diversity and interactive accounts, for both national and local work, he says.
Media buying is expected to remain with Interpublic's GM Mediaworks, Warren, Mich. McCann-Erickson Worldwide's Local Communiations will retain spot buying for GM's regions.
For Carat, the stakes are huge. A GM win would double the size of Carat's U.S. operation. Carat has auto accounts in Europe, but none in the U.S. Its billings in North America are just more than $2 billion; the company bills more than $10 billion worldwide, placing it fifth in Advertising Age's ranking of top worldwide media specialists.
Copyright June 2000, Crain Communications Inc.