Bye Bye, Miss American Pie

GM Drives Its Chevy to the Levy, Moving Remaining Work From Campbell-Ewald to Publicis

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DETROIT ( -- General Motors Co. is moving the remaining Chevrolet advertising work away from Campbell-Ewald, Warren, Mich., ending a relationship dating back to 1919. With the shift, the Chevy business will be fully consolidated with Publicis Worldwide.

Campbell-Ewald created such iconic campaigns as 'Baseball, hot dogs, apple pie and Chevrolet' and the 'Heartbeat of America.'
Campbell-Ewald created such iconic campaigns as 'Baseball, hot dogs, apple pie and Chevrolet' and the 'Heartbeat of America.'
"We thank Campbell-Ewald for their many years of dedicated and loyal service on the Chevrolet brand and for the many campaigns such as 'See the USA in your Chevrolet,' 'The Heartbeat of America,' 'Like a Rock' and 'American Revolution,'" said Jim Campbell, U.S. VP for Chevy marketing, in a statement. "Over the coming months we will transition the business to Publicis Worldwide, which has recently been handling our car and crossover brands."

Campbell-Ewald will retain some non-Chevrolet GM work, said Klaus-Peter Martin of Chevy communications. He declined to say what the work is, and could not provide any other details on the agency shift.

The Chevrolet/Campbell-Ewald partnership was the longest-surviving continuous relationship between a Detroit automaker and agency. Frank J. Campbell and Henry T. Ewald opened Campbell-Ewald Co. in February 1911, and the agency landed a project from General Motors' Chevrolet in 1919 and officially won the Chevrolet account in 1922. Campbell-Ewald for a period handled advertising work for all GM brands, including Buick, Cadillac, Chevrolet, Oakland (which later became Pontiac), Oldsmobile and GMC Trucks, according to the Advertising Age Encyclopedia.

Campbell-Ewald created such iconic campaigns as "Baseball, hot dogs, apple pie and Chevrolet" and the "Heartbeat of America." Now, the heart of GM advertising is moving to an agency born in France.

The breakup comes just months after Chrysler ended its contract with Omnicom Group's BBDO. Omnicom shops had worked with Chrysler units since 1926, when Dodge Brothers Corp. hired the Ross Roy agency (acquired by Omnicom in 1995 and folded into BBDO in 2001).

In October, GM said it would entertain pitches for certain Chevrolet assignments, though C-E remained agency of record. Publicis handled the work for three models that aired during the Winter Olympics after a review that included Campbell-Ewald; Interpublic Group of Cos. sibling McCann Erickson, Birmingham, Mich.; the Dallas and Seattle offices of Publicis; plus MindMeld, Dallas, a startup by GSD&M founder Tim McClure.

Last year, GM opened its Chevy work to other agencies, and Malibu, Equinox and Traverse were moved to the U.S. offices of the Paris-based holding company run by Maurice Levy.

The Interpublic agency, which began doing business this year as C-E under new chairman and CEO Bill Ludwig in January, has about 1,100 employees.

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Bill Shea is a writer with Crain's Detroit Business

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