Chevy to Name Omnicom, Interpublic Venture Agency of Record

Holding Companies Join Forces as Commonwealth to Handle GM Brand

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Two competing holding companies, Omnicom Group and Interpublic Group of Cos., have formed an entity called Commonwealth, which General Motors is set to announce later today, to service global creative advertising duties for Chevrolet.

Chevy is expected to announce Commonwealth, which was established months ago to pitch the account, as its agency of record later this afternoon. Specifically, creative talent within the entity will be composed of executives from Omnicom's Goodby, Silverstein & Partners and Interpublic's McCann Erickson.

Omnicom and Interpublic have equal ownership of Commonwealth, but profit will be distributed based on geography. While agency companies have long teamed up to service business, especially on an international scale, such a cooperative approach is unusual for landing new business.

The agency review, under way since October, is part of GM's plan to cut expenses across the company and drastically reduce the number of agencies it had to deal with. In January, GM awarded its media buying business to Aegis' Carat.

GM has projected that it could save as much as $2 billion on the Chevy account though the next five years by streamlining agency work. Global CMO Joel Ewanick said earlier this year that he should have done the review "years ago" and that he wanted the Chevy brand to project a consistent image across the world.

Chevrolet has recently been aggressive in targeting younger buyers, dialing in social-media components to raise awareness of its new subcompact, Sonic. The brand's marketers recently put together a second alliance with Klout, the site that ranks a person's "social influence" and places products in the hands of the digital influential. Among the "perks" on Klout's agenda are three-day loans of a 2012 Sonic. Participants are urged to share their experiences behind the wheel -- positive notices, Chevrolet hopes -- in their blogs and social-media outlets.

A global board of eight people will run Commonwealth based on hubs around the world, including McCann creatives Linus Karlsson, Prasoon Joshi and Washington Olivetto and Jeff Goodby. Headquarters will be in Detroit.

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