26 July 2000

General Motors, the world’s largest carmaker and America’s biggest-spending advertiser, has handed its $2.6 billion consolidated national media planning account to Starcom MediaVest, the media wing of the Bcom3 Group.
Trumpeted as the largest single advertising prize in history, the account was put up for grabs in June [WAMN, 28-Jun-00] with two other contestants jostling with Starcom for the business: Interpublic Group and Carat North America. Previously, the work had been split among seventeen local and national shops.

Starcom will now set-up a dedicated unit, GM Planworks, handling media planning for the Chevrolet, GMC, Pontiac, Oldsmobile, Buick, Hummer and Cadillac brands across the United States. Detroit-based, the unit is expected to be up and running by the first quarter of 2001, with upward of 150 staff compared with the 200-plus currently employed on GM media planning.

Says GM’s general manager of brand marketing John Middlebrook: “We do expect efficiencies here. We expect to reduce the total resources involved in the activity. The key to us is the effectiveness of our planning that this will provide."

Media buying remains in the hands of GM Mediaworks, while spot buying for GM’s global regions stays with McCann-Erickson Worldwide Local Communications. Both shops are Interpublic-owned.

The New York Stock Exchange appeared indifferent to the news, with GM shares drifting up $3/16 to $59-1/2 by early afternoon yesterday.

News source: Financial Times