The plan apparently has surfaced at the senior levels of GM and with the company's powerful Media Council, which coordinates - but does not actually place - all GM national media spending.
'There have been discussions about the pros and cons of consolidation,' said one senior-level exec with knowledge of the plan. 'I expect those discussions will intensify in the next few months.'
It's expected that GM marketing's brain trust - Philip Guarascio, general manager/marketing and advertising for the company's North American Operations; and Mike Browner, general director of media operations at GM - will consider the idea in earnest after network TV upfront negotiations are completed.
Neither Guarascio nor Browner could be reached for comment late last week.
But one GM divisional exec confirmed that the plan has been discussed: 'The corporate people are looking at it,' he said. 'But nothing has taken hold yet.'
Whether the newly-created company would be part of General Motors or a subsidiary of a GM agency could not be determined. If GM went the agency route, it would shadow a recent move by Chrysler Corp. to house its media with PentaCom, a wholly-owned subsidiary of agency BBDO Detroit. But, unlike PentaCom, GM's version likely would not include media planning.
'I can't imagine planning ever being taken out of the divisional level,' the senior-level exec said. 'The marketing objectives of GM's divisions are much too far apart.'
Guarascio has been outspoken in the past about GM's desire to consider anything to improve the company's media efficiencies. He recently said 'no option is too drastic' when it comes to re-thinking GM's planning and buying.
Copyright Adweek L.P. (1993)