The high-speed pace of automotive reviews that characterized the last few years gave way to some straight shifting of accounts in 2006. In June, Cadillac CMO Liz Vanzura started moving that brand’s $240 million duties from Leo Burnett to Modernista!, and GM roster shop Deutsch/LA added an estimated $60 million chunk of corporate work on the company’s new warranty offer in September, working its connections with Mike Jackson, GM’s vp of marketing and advertising. Most recently, Audi launched a review in September. Overall, new-business activity plummeted 76 percent to $900 million. As for the auto business itself, big vehicles were brought down by historic gas highs: With rare exceptions, sales of large and midsize SUVs and big trucks slowed (down 10 percent through October). And car sales were flat through October (6.5 million units), but down 6 percent (to 7.4 million units) on light trucks, per Car Concepts. Ad spending often followed suit: Once a $270 million a year advertiser, Mitsubishi went practically dark for the entire first quarter. Through September, total automotive ad spending (excluding aftermarket) of $18.6 billion was up only 1.3 percent over the same period last year, per Nielsen Monitor-Plus.
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