Finalists Fight for Chevy's $35M African-American Account

Carol H. Williams Defends as GM Shakes up Multicultural Advertising

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DETROIT ( -- Carol H. Williams Advertising, Oakland, Calif., is defending Chevrolet's estimated $35 million African-American-advertising account in presentations here today. The incumbent is competing against four other shops, a General Motors Corp. spokeswoman said.

She declined to reveal the other contenders, but in addition to Williams Advertising, the finalists are: E. Morris Communications, Chicago; Sanders/Wingo, Austin, Texas; Translation Consultation & Brand Imaging, New York; and an undisclosed agency that already has an auto account, according to executives close to the matter. A decision is expected shortly.

The consultant for the review, Hasan Ramusevic, Raleigh, N.C., did not return calls.

Chevrolet has a relationship with Translation, headed by Steve Stoute; it has used the agency mostly for consulting and relationship building. For the brand's most recent major launch, for the redone 2008 Malibu last fall, Chevrolet tapped its general-market shop, Interpublic Group of Cos.' Campbell-Ewald, Warren, Mich., for the African-American work.

Major strategy shift
Chevrolet began the review late last year in a major strategy shift for multicultural advertising by six of GM's eight vehicle brands. Chevy is the only one of the six brands that is holding a review.

Cadillac and Hummer moved African-American advertising to the brands' general-market agency, independent Modernista, Boston, on Jan. 1, from Williams Advertising. Williams Advertising also lost GMC, which the shop won in a 2002 review when GM consolidated its African-American accounts.

Vigilante Advertising, New York, under the umbrella of Publicis Groupe's Leo Burnett, has assumed duties on GMC. Vigilante already had the African-American accounts for Buick and Pontiac. Burnett will manage the accounts, the spokeswoman said.

Burnett also has started managing the Hispanic accounts for Buick-Pontiac-GMC via its Lapiz, Chicago, sibling. Accentmarketing, Miami, was the incumbent on the Hispanic accounts for Pontiac and GMC. Buick had no Hispanic agency.
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