Ewanick Steers Caddy, Agency Down New Path

Cadillac SRX

Joel Ewanick, General Motors' new marketing VP who is overseeing Buick, GMC, Chevy and Cadillac, wants to take the latter brand down a different road, and he's asking the division's agency to come along for the ride.

Ewanick has already shifted the $600 million Chevrolet account from Publicis to Omnicom's Goodby, Silverstein & Partners, which is based in San Francisco.

Bartle Bogle Hegarty (BBH), in which Publicis holds a 49% stake, won the Cadillac account in January, replacing Boston-based Modernista. The agency this month offered its first major work for the brand, "Mark of Leadership."

A source tells Marketing Daily that Ewanick isn't thrilled with that theme, and has already let Cadillac and BBH know he wants a new creative platform. "He has told them that the brand idea of 'Mark of Leadership' isn't really the direction he wants to take the brand in terms of the theme line."

The insider says that Ewanick has been having "extensive talks" with Cadillac and with BBH, which handles the $270 million account out of its New York office. "I will say he has talked to them about what his expectations are for the brand," says the source.

The "Mark of Leadership" campaign focuses on product features, with voiceover-free TV spots shot at a frenetic pace, featuring quick cuts between zooming CTS and SRX vehicles, drivers' faces, and things like the control cluster, shifter, and moon roof set to electro-pop music.

But, says the source, Ewanick is definitely working with the agency. And he says the agency is "working hard" to come back with suggestions on how to adapt and move, and that "this will be something that's probably going to be an ongoing conversation that will last for a while, so nothing pressing is going to happen."

The source says Ewanick has basically told BBH that the "Mark of Leadership" theme doesn't have legs long-term, and they need to find a much more relevant brand positioning that can be sustained as a long campaign.

Ewanick is reportedly giving more work on Chevrolet to hometown agency Campbell-Ewald. Word has it that Goodby will open an office in the Motor City to service Chevy.

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2 comments about "Ewanick Steers Caddy, Agency Down New Path ".
  1. Mike Einstein from the Brothers Einstein , May 26, 2010 at 9:18 a.m.

    It's obvious weakness aside (i.e. no mention of the product), "The Mark of Leadership" is actually very close conceptually to a branding position that Cadillac already owns and should resurrect ASAP.

    I refer to a campaign from years past that made Cadillac a household word. Those old enough to remember this clever branding strategy will appreciate why the CTS should henceforth be known as "The Cadillac of sport sedans". The Escalade as "The Cadillac of luxury SUVs... and so on...

    Retro is undeniably cool, and here's a way for GM to cash in on its own equity for a change.

  2. Fraser Elliott from Opinions expressed herein are solely my own , May 26, 2010 at 4:15 p.m.

    CP&B have had a string of apparent successes in harkening back to brands' retro positions that still hold huge equity. They're not wrong in doing it, and neither are you for identifying an ownable, equity-filled position for the Cadillac brand. I don't think anybody else has the stones to do it, they'll all scoff that it's derivative or unoriginal.