Cadillac narrows list of ad agency candidates to 6 - McKinney

Cadillac narrows list of ad agency candidates to 6

November 5, 2009

General Motors Co. said today it narrowed down its list of candidates to handle advertising for Cadillac to six agencies, a month after announcing it was dumping the luxury brand’s longtime ad partner.

The Detroit automaker said it will hold visits with the candidates in Detroit before Thanksgiving, with finalists making presentations to company executives in January. Cadillac spokesman Nick Twork declined to comment on whether the company has a deadline for making a final pick.

The agencies on the short list are BBH in New York, DDB in Chicago, Gotham in New York, Richmond, Va.-based The Martin Agency, McKinney in Durham, N.C., and Publicis in New York.

Twork declined to say why GM has short-listed those firms.

GM announced in early October was ending its partnership with the boutique agency Modernista!, ending its nine-year partnership with the Boston firm.

Modernista! was the brains behind some well-known Cadillac ads, including several attention-grabbing spots for the Cadillac CTS starring actress Kate Walsh. The company, a boutique firm with about 130 employees, also had done ads for GM’s Hummer brand. Hummer is being sold and its partnership with the firm ends in the winter.

Modernista! said at the time that the companies were parting ways over creative and strategic differences. GM CEO Fritz Henderson said Cadillac could do better and wanted to take its ads to another level.

Cadillac’s search for a new agency comes as the automaker overhauls its advertising, with a big marketing push toward the end of the year as it looks to recoup sales. GM used Chairman Edward Whitacre Jr. in ads to launch its May the Best Car Win, campaign, which promises consumers the option to return GM cars within 60 days if they are dissatisfied.

Cadillac has been a bright spot for GM in recent months. GM said on Tuesday that Cadillac sales rose 22 percent in October, with the DTS sedan and Escalade SUV posting big gains.

Sales at GM as a whole rose 5 percent year over year, its first year-over-year sales gain in 22 months. Sales were flat industrywide.