2: Mark LaNeve

VP-North American vehicle sales, service and marketing, General Motors Corp.

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POWER PLAY: Mark LaNeve, who cut his marketing teeth at GM, orchestrated some smart moves this year as the auto giant's North American operations had its back against the wall. In January, he announced a "permanent repricing" strategy across most of the carmaker's lineup, admitting the auto giant's practice since fall 2001 of national, multibrand umbrella incentive ads had given GM vehicles a reputation for always being on sale. Its biggest brand, Chevrolet, was directed to first advertise the new pricing with an ad blitz that urged viewers to visit independent auto site Edmunds.com and compare Chevy product and prices directly to competitors. As gas prices skyrocketed, Mr. LaNeve, 47, used online and mainstream ads to get the word out on its E85 ethanol-capable models. He was integral in formulating GM's new expanded warranty and roadside assistance plan, introduced in early September to help build consumer confidence in vehicle quality.

DOWNSIDE: While there are some positive signs GM's 2006 strategies are working, the carmaker isn't out of the woods yet. Critics say GM still has too many brands, which are very expensive to feed with new products and support with advertising. The marketer's newer models are selling better than the ones they replaced, but GM is still too dependent on its big pickups and SUVs at a time of uncertain gas prices.

AD BUDGET: $4.35 billion


* Interpublic Group of Cos.' Campbell Ewald, Warren Mich.; Deutsch, L.A.; Lowe Worldwide, N.Y.; McCann Erickson Worldwide, Birmingham, Mich., Mullen, Wenham, Mass.

* Interpublic-backed Accentmarketing, Coral Gables, Fla.

* Omnicom's Goodby, Silverstein & Partners, San Francisco

* Publicis' Arc Worldwide, Detroit; Leo Burnett Detroit, Troy, Mich.; GM Planworks, Detroit; Starcom USA, Chicago

* A Partnership, New York

* Digitas, Boston

* Modernista, Boston

* Carol H. Williams Advertising, Oakland, Calif.
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