Fallon on Caddy Decision: 'An Outcome We Do Not Deserve'

Staff Memo from Publicis Groupe Agency Leader Defends its Work on Car Brand

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All agencies know what it's like to get that phone call: the one with bad news on the other end telling you a big account is walking out the door.

That's what Fallon went through today when General Motors informed the shop that after three years, it was being replaced by a trio of Interpublic Group of Cos.' shops: Hill Holliday in Boston, Campbell Ewald in Detroit and Lowe. Together, they form an offering dubbed "Rogue."

In explaining the automaker's decision to staff, Mike Buchner, CEO at the Publicis Groupe-owned agency in Minneapolis, said it was undeserved and defended the agency's work. General Motors declined to comment on the memo.

The memo:

Today we were officially notified that we are no longer Cadillac's agency of record. This is an outcome we do not deserve, but the decision has been made. So we move on.

However, before we close this chapter in our history, I want to thank each and every one of you who touched this account. We created an impressive body of work in a little less than three years, including the highly acclaimed "ATS vs. The World" effort.

Additionally, the business and brand results our work has generated for Cadillac have been nothing short of phenomenal:

  • Cadillac's 2013 year-to-date sales are up 38% (the brand's largest YTD sales gain since 1976!)
  • May was the 12th consecutive month of year-over-year retail sales gains for Cadillac Driven by our launch work for ATS and XTS, sales of Cadillac luxury sedans are up 109% compared to models the brand was selling a year ago
  • More than eight in 10 ATS buyers traded in something other than a Cadillac, with most non-GM trade-ins coming from BMW, Audi and Lexus
  • The "ATS vs. The World" launch was awarded an EFFIE for marketing effectiveness in arguably one of the most competitive categories
  • In less than a year, ATS is already the #4 vehicle in the all important compact luxury segment

The fact of the matter is that we took a brand that was emerging from bankruptcy, gave it a differentiating positioning, brand identity and voice, and made Cadillac the fastest growing major car brand in the United States.

It's an amazing turn around story and we helped write it. Be proud of that fact.

Also, it's no coincidence that FORBES named Cadillac the luxury brand with the "Most Momentum" in 2012. Through our unique consumer insights, our smart brand positioning and highly effective creative work that drove cultural relevance, Cadillac is now in the luxury automotive conversation and consideration set with the likes of BMW and Mercedes. This is a huge accomplishment because that definitely was not the case three years ago!

I want to thank you again for what all of you gave to Cadillac, one of the great iconic American brands of our time. This isn't exactly the way we thought this chapter would close, but rest assured, it's not the end of our story.

There are a lot of great luxury brands out there who could use our passion, strategic smarts and creativity to generate the same kind of exponential economic returns that we delivered for Cadillac.

On to the next one!


Contributing: Michael McCarthy

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