GM hands Saatchi & Saatchi Astra relaunch

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FRANKFURT -- General Motors Corp.'s German subsidiary Adam Opel has gone outside its roster and asked Saatchi & Saatchi Worldwide, Frankfurt, to handle the crucial Astra relaunch in its home market. Traditionally in Europe, GM has relied on two networks owned by The Interpublic Group of Companies--the Lowe Group in Germany and the U.K., and McCann-Erickson Worldwide in the rest of Europe.

In December, however, GM awarded its European (except Germany) account to relaunch the Astra to a small London agency, Rainey Kelly Campbell Roalfe. GM later asked the London hot shop and three Frankfurt agencies to pitch for the account in Germany: the German incumbent Lowe & Partner, Saatchi & Saatchi and McCann-Erickson. In addition, Hamburg startup Hoffmann & Schnakenberg pitched.

The estimated $50 million Astra win is a major victory for Saatchi's Frankfurt office, which last April nearly beat incumbent DDB Needham Worldwide for the Volkswagen account in Germany

Saatchi is restricted from working on car accounts outside Germany because it works for Toyota Motor Corp. in some European markets and in the U.S. It also works for Renault in Spain and Italy.

Opel has not been satisfied with Lowe's output recently in Germany. Earlier this month, Opel moved all of its advertising in Germany, except for the Astra, to five-month-old Hoffmann & Schnakenberg. Lowe will hold a minority stake in the agency, which is being renamed Lowe Hoffmann & Schnakenberg.

Copyright January 1998, Crain Communications Inc.

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