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By Published on .

Interpublic Group of Cos. has formed a dedicated unit to handle sports and event marketing for General Motors Corp., strengthening its ties to the auto marketer.

GM EventWorks was created out of Kaleidoscope Sports & Entertainment, a 3-month-old joint venture between Interpublic and Kaleidoscope Media Group, New York. Kaleidoscope Sports & Entertainment, 51% owned by Interpublic, will continue to work with other clients.


The new shop will work on the GM umbrella brand and filter deals down to GM's vehicle divisions, said Phil Guarascio, VP-general manager of marketing and advertising for GM's North American Operations.

"We hope this will create a more powerful resource to deal with integrated marketing situations that are fundamentally anchored in the GM brand and then create a resonance for our vehicle brands," he said.

GM had been working with several different sports marketing resources, he added, "which wasn't the best way to do it."

Mr. Guarascio said the deal won't immediately affect shops such as Frankel & Co., Chicago, which became promotional agency earlier this year for GM's Oldsmobile division. But, he added, "Long term, there may be opportunities for EventWorks to do work for the divisions."

Compensation to GM EventWorks will be based on an annual fee, with additional payments for activities popping up during the year.

WORTH $10 MIL IN '97

The account is expected to grow from about $10 million this year. GM has been intensifying its use of non-traditional media to reach consumers over the past several years. Kaleidoscope Sports' projected 1997 revenues, from its formation since mid-April, are about $20 million.

GM EventWorks has begun working with GM on organizing its WNBA sponsorship; improving its New York showroom; and tie-ins with with Sony Corp. of America, Professional Golfers' Association and the Test Track ride and exhibit, opening this fall at Walt Disney World's Epcot Center.

The carmaker has worked with Kaleidoscope Media and its predecessors for the past decade. Kaleidoscope's People & Properties arm has been running Buick's PGA program for 10 years; Kaleidoscope Media worked with GM on its sponsorship and promotions for the 1996 Summer Olympics.


GM gets 1 million unsolicited proposals annually for events or sports tie-ins, said Ray Volpe, CEO of Kaleidoscope Sports. GM EventWorks' responsibilities will be to review those proposals, analyze them, coordinate negotiations, create new events GM can own and oversee and/or produce the events.

The shop will open a Detroit office but maintain dual headquarters in Detroit and New York, Mr. Volpe said.

Bruce Albert, exec VP-chief operating officer of Kaleidoscope Sports, becomes president of GM EventWorks.

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