In its second major creative assignment shift in as many months, General Motors is moving chores on Cadillac to Fallon after just five months at Bartle Bogle Hegarty, sources said.
Cadillac's media spending totaled about $250 million last year, and nearly $75 million in the first four months of 2010, per Nielsen. Those figures don't include online spending.
To add the business, Fallon is severing ties to Chrysler, for which it creates ads touting sedans, vans and trucks, sources said. Major media spending on Chrysler-branded vehicles totaled nearly $150 million last year, and topped $75 million in the first four months of 2010, per Nielsen.
Fallon in Minneapolis is owned by Publicis Groupe, which holds a 49 percent stake in BBH.
Cadillac is among the brands that new GM vp of U.S marketing Joel Ewanick manages. The others are GMC, Buick and Chevrolet. Last month, GM sifted Chevy to Omnicom's Goodby, Silverstein & Partners from Publicis. (That move reversed a decision by Ewanick predecessor Susan Docherty to consolidate the business at Publicis.)
Fallon execs did not return calls. A Cadillac rep declined comment.
A Chrysler representative declined to comment on talk of Fallon splitting with the nameplate, saying only, "To date, Fallon is the lead agency or the Chrysler brand."
BBH New York CEO Greg Andersen acknowledged the agency's split with GM in a statement this morning.
"We were extremely surprised to learn via the press yesterday that Cadillac has decided to move its advertising business elsewhere. That aside, we're pleased to have been a part of helping turn Cadillac sales around over the last several months," Andersen said. "Incredibly strong sales like we've seen recently are exactly why we love doing what we do. We wish this iconic American brand the best and look forward to future partnerships in this dynamic category."
BBH landed Cadillac in January after a review and last month launched its first campaign, which introduced the tagline, "Mark of leadership."
BBH was hired by Bryan Nesbitt, the former chief of North American design at GM, who was named Cadillac general manager last summer. Nesbitt chose BBH because of the strong sense of design in the work shown to him during the review, sources said. In early March, Nesbitt was shifted back into a design role at GM.
Cadillac marketing is now led by U.S. marketing vp Don Butler and executive director of advertising and sales promotion Kim Brink. Those two execs were unhappy with BBH even before Ewanick's arrival, and pushed the agency to hire a more traditional automotive creative lead and agency point person in Detroit, sources said.
"They felt BBH didn't have an idea for the brand," said one source.
Once onboard at GM, Ewanick quickly agreed with Cadillac's new marketing chiefs. "No one had any more patience; BBH was just too slow to change," said the source.