McCann Out of Running for Cadillac Account

Rumored Front-Runner Not Among Contenders for GM's Luxury Auto Business

By Published on .

DETROIT ( -- Cadillac has narrowed the list of agencies in the hunt for its national creative account, and McCann Erickson has not made the cut.

General Motors Co.'s luxury brand said the contenders are: Publicis Groupe-backed Bartle Bogle Hegarty, New York, and Publicis, New York; two Interpublic Group of Cos. agencies, Gotham, New York, and Martin Agency, Richmond, Va.; Omnicom Group's DDB, Chicago; and independent McKinney.

The automaker said it will hold meetings with the agencies in Detroit before Thanksgiving, and finalists will pitch in January. Executives familiar with the pitch said GM, in searching for an agency for its Cadillac brand, concentrated only partly on prior car experience; another crucial skill-set was experience with luxury brands.

Ark Advisors is managing the search, for which General Motors invited McCann, Birmingham, Mich., a major GM agency globally, that also handles Saab and GM's corporate account in the U.S. Dentsu's McGarryBowen, New York, was also invited, according to executives close to the matter. McCann is also pitching GM's Chevrolet project for the launch of the small Cruze car.

There was talk that McCann was a shoo-in for the Cadillac account because of the close relationship between Steve Shannon, exec director of marketing at the brand, and Garry Neel, president-CEO of McCann's Detroit-area office -- a claim Cadillac and GM's Bob Lutz, vice chairman-marketing and communications, vigorously denied.

Incumbent Modernista, Boston, opted not to defend the account.

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