Myhren Trades Infiniti for GM Brands

LOS ANGELES Tor Myhren is moving from Omnicom’s TBWA\Chiat\Day, where he was lead creative director on Infiniti, to Publicis Groupe’s Leo Burnett, to become evp and executive creative director on the Chicago agency’s GM brands Cadillac, Pontiac and Mr. Goodwrench, Myhren confirmed.

Myhren replaces Gary Topolewski, former chairman and CCO at Chemistri, who left for BBDO in May. Myhren said the position is different in that he will be in Chicago while he works with the Burnett-allied Chemistri in Troy, Mich., deploying creative resources from both offices.

“The ability to combine the creative resources of Chicago and Detroit will help us take the next step,” said Myhren. “These are classic American brands that actually mean something to people. Cadillac’s on the rise; Pontiac has great new products in the pipeline; and Goodwrench has a unique position in the market that we can build on.”

“I applaud Burnett on their taste because Tor has done an outstanding job on Infiniti,” said Rob Schwartz, executive creative director at TBWA\Chiat\Day, Playa del Rey, Calif. “But while we’re in a good place on the brand, as it is ascending, I think there is an opportunity to take it to a great place.”

Schwartz said that in the last year he’s added two key creatives to the Infiniti team: Brad Beerbohm, a former creative director from Interpublic Group’s Deutsch/LA who had been freelancing, and Craig Crawford, who came from Publicis Groupe’s Team One on Lexus. He added that a search for a new lead creative director for Infiniti is currently underway.

Myhren joined Chiat\Day in July 2002 from WongDoody. His recent work included the “Impossible to ignore” campaign for the Infiniti FX, G35 coupe relaunch and QX56 introduction (“Surround yourself”).

Nissan’s Infiniti sales are up 7 percent for the year, according to Car Concepts in Thousand Oaks, Calif., to more than 107,000 units through October.

Infiniti spent $210 million advertising in 2003 and $160 million through October 2004, per Nielsen Monitor-Plus.

GM spent $205 million on Cadillac in 2003, $160 million through October 2004; $165 million last year on Pontiac, $115 through October; and $55 million last year on Mr. Goodwrench, $40 million through October, all per Nielsen Monitor-Plus.