Goodyear Shifts Creative to GSD&M Idea City, Names Digitas Interactive Agency

Move Marks Another Account Loss For McCann

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NEW YORK ( -- Tire manufacturer Goodyear is shifting creative duties to Omnicom Group's GSD&M Idea City after a four-year run at Interpublic Group of Cos.' McCann, while adding Digitas to its roster as its first interactive agency of record.

Scott Rogers, Goodyear's chief marketing officer of just over a year, said the change represents the conclusion of an internally run agency review that began last fall. In consideration were about eight shops that were a mix of creative and interactive agencies.

"We needed to select the right partners going forward," Mr. Rogers said, declining to identify what wasn't working about the relationship with McCann. "We asked [McCann] to participate in the review and they did." McCann representatives declined to comment on the shift.

The changes do not affect Havas' MPG, Goodyear's media agency of record.

Measured-media spending for Goodyear has fallen in recent years, from more than $60 million a few years ago to $25 million in 2009. The company's marketing budget is currently largely devoted to brand advertising rather than on products and service centers, according to Kantar Media data.

Mr. Rogers said the company chose Austin-based Idea City to be its new brand steward because it has an "outstanding track record of working with some of the world's best known-brands" and because "they showed great knowledge of [Goodyear's] business."

Duff Stewart, Idea City's president-CEO, noted the win was also partly due to knowledge of the brand culled from its 2001 pitch for Goodyear (in which Goodby Silverstein & Partners prevailed) as well as a relationship with Goodyear's Mr. Rogers from his prior marketing post at Norwegian Cruise Lines.

Regarding Goodyear's appointment of Publicis Groupe's Digitas, Mr. Rogers said Goodyear was eager to have one shop that could handle work across "the total interactive gamut." Previously a number of smaller agencies handled digital work.

Goodyear is its 14th year as the exclusive tire supplier for Nascar, and in addition to brand and interactive work, respectively, both shops will pitch in on marketing duties for that sponsorship relationship.

Mr. Rogers said a new brand campaign will break in the back half of 2010, with the aim of reaching different demographics, and earlier on in the purchase cycle, which for the tire category is about every three years. The goal is "reaching consumers vs. shoppers," he said. Going forward, Mr. Rogers added, Goodyear's media mix will evolve from its current focus on TV and print to "better utilize all the channels that are out there better than we do today."

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