Ewanick on GM Media Review: 'Should Have Done This Many Years Ago'

Quality as Well as Efficiency Drove Decision

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General Motors' Joel Ewanick insists that it wasn't only money but quality that drove his decision to place GM's $3 billion global media-buying and -planning account with Aegis' Carat agency.

Joel Ewanick
Joel Ewanick
"We scrutinized the presentations" during the review process, which began months ago, said Mr. Ewanick, GM's global chief marketing officer. "I really want to compliment Carat . I went back and forth on this in the past nine weeks. At the end of the day, it was definitely about finding efficiencies, but at the same time we wanted to raise the quality.

"We saw ways to grow with Carat , and we're willing to establish a new culture," Mr. Ewanick said. "We probably should have done this many years ago, and that became painfully clear during the presentations." The consolidation reduces the number to one from 50. Still, he said, "it's going to take a couple of years for this to seed in."

The other shoe in the agency review, which formally began last August and involved Chevrolet creative globally, will not drop for several weeks, Mr. Ewanick said. "The creative side is even more complicated than the media," he said. As of now, Goodby Silverstein & Partners handles North American creative duties for Chevrolet.

Mr. Ewanick said his attention for the immediate future is focused on ad buys for the Super Bowl. He said that this past Sunday he decided to air a 30-second version of a contest-winning, consumer-generated Camaro commercial called "Happy Grads." It ran during that night's NFC Championship game on Fox.

The company plans five spots for next week's game. "It's almost like running a political campaign," Mr. Ewanick said.

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