Behind the Cadillac Review and Interpublic's New Agency 'Rogue'

GM Marketer Says the Pitch Was Run Fair and Square

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The move of Cadillac's creative account from Publicis Groupe's Fallon in Minneapolis to a new Interpublic Group of Cos. team dubbed Rogue has prompted numerous questions.

How will a structure that's spread out across multiple cities work for GM? Why the name 'Rogue' for the agency? And did Interpublic -- which has been expanding its presence on the automaker's roster -- have an inside track all along? We spoke to General Motors to get some answers.

"All of the invited agencies demonstrated a high level of thinking and clearly worked very hard during the review process," said Bob Ferguson, vice president of Global Cadillac, in a statement. "We selected Rogue because its strategic insights, creative vision for Cadillac and strong luxury and automotive experience were the best match for our global growth plan."

Craig Bierley
Craig Bierley

Tuesday's decision came after a review that pitted incumbent Fallon against joint-agency teams from IPG and Publicis, plus Omnicom Group's DDB Chicago. The contenders were asked to create a campaign launching the new CTS sedan.

Though critics charged Campbell Ewald had the inside track due to the shop's former work on Chevrolet, and the recent move of ex-Campbell Ewald executive Steven Majoros to the client side at Cadillac fanned those flames, Craig Bierley, Cadillac's advertising director, dismissed those criticisms in an interview Tuesday.

Advertising Age: Let's put our guns on the table. Did IPG have an advantage here? Was this business moving to them all along?

Mr. Bierley: I reject the premise of that. … I was driving the process in this. It was truly transparent. It was truly open. We gave everyone the same opportunity. At the end of the day, we went with who did the best job and who we thought could deliver the best work. … What was rumored previously was that it was going to go to Campbell Ewald. This is not just Campbell Ewald. This is the creative resources of Hill Holliday, the account leadership and digital of Campbell Ewald and global coordination with Lowe.

Advertising Age: So what did Rogue do to win this business?

Mr. Bierley: Everybody did a nice job. Everybody had consumer insights that kind of centered around the same area. We evaluated it based on the chemistry of the team and the creative. We think Lance Jensen is a tremendously talented creative guy. And the work stood apart. All the work was good. It was just a matter of assessing which one was best. At the end of the day, it's about who we think can get us where we want to go. We have really big global aspirations to grow this brand into an iconic luxury brand. We think they're the best team equipped to get us there.

Advertising Age: How did the losing agencies react?

Mr. Bierley: My boss [Mr. Ferguson] made those calls. I'm sure everyone was disappointed. …They brought it. They all brought a level of intensity and dedication to try to get this business. It makes it hard to say, "One guy won and the other three didn't."

Advertising Age: Does Campbell Ewald get any piece of the creative?

Mr. Bierley: Campbell Ewald has some of the digital creative. But the creative lead is Lance Jensen based in Hill Holliday in Boston. A significant amount of the resources is aligned with him.

Advertising Age: With three cooks in the kitchen, does this have the potential to turn into a chaotic mishigas?

Mr. Bierley: We're confident we can work through the "mishigas."…We're confident in our ability to execute it. We spent a considerable amount of time understanding how this would work, how this organization would be structured. We think there's a great leadership team that can make this work.

Advertising Age: If Lance is leading creative, who'll head up business on the account side?

Mr. Bierley: They have not made an announcement on that yet.

Advertising Age: When will we see the first work from Rogue?

Mr. Bierley: This fall. There's two principal pieces of creative we'll produce this fall. One is a spot for the XTS. A new XTS spot. Most importantly, an all-new launch campaign for the all-new CTS…All the work we evaluated was in the context of, 'How would you launch CTS?'

Advertising Age: What do you think of this name, "Rogue"?

Mr. Bierley: That was their choice. We didn't give them any feedback on it. It's a perfectly fine name. It speaks to the challenger character that we think we need from an agency. We need to be aggressive…We need to trigger a reappraisal and make people think differently about Cadillac. The team at Rogue embodies that spirit.

Advertising Age: Will Rogue launch a global creative campaign for Cadillac?

Mr. Bierley: Not imminently. But that's something we have to work our way through.

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