General Motors and Publicis Groupe have confirmed that Publicis is adding the Chevrolet business leaving longtime Chevy shop Campbell-Ewald. Revenue on the creative account exiting that shop is estimated at $30 million.
Previously, Publicis handled lead creative duties on Chevy sedans and Interpublic Group's C-E handled creative chores on trucks, sponsorships and retail ads.
In a one-sentence statement released this afternoon, the holding company said that General Motors' Chevy brand has decided to consolidate all its U.S. ad duties at Publicis.
In a separate statement, Jim Campbell, U.S. vp, marketing at Chevrolet, said: "We thank Campbell-Ewald for their many years of dedicated and loyal service on the Chevrolet brand and for the many campaigns such as 'See the USA in your Chevrolet,' the 'Heartbeat of America,' 'Like a rock' and 'American revolution.'"
He added: "Over the coming months we will transition the business to Publicis Worldwide, which has recently been handling our car and crossover brands."
The shift is a major blow to C-E, which has worked on the brand since 1919.
"We are committed to continue as one of GM's family of agencies and look forward to even more opportunities to demonstrate the breadth and depth of our capabilities," said Bill Ludwig, chairman and CEO of C-E. "From an overall business standpoint, we will continue to diversify our non-Chevy brand accounts which currently make up 75 percent of the agency's business. We proudly serve 34 non-Chevy clients of which more than 20 of them are headquartered outside of Michigan."
Ludwig confirmed that Chevy was the agency's largest client. C-E will continue to work with OnStar and has GM CRM business, which it shares with IPG's Mullen. Also, C-E's Velocity unit handles Chevy dealer business spanning 3,000 dealers in 105 markets.
C-E has 1,100 employees across Detroit, L.A. and (its new) San Antonio office.
No determination has been made about layoffs "because we have dedicated staff on Chevrolet and others who work on Chevy business plus other accounts," Ludwig said.
The move comes four months after GM shifted lead creative duties on Chevy sedans out of C-E and into Publicis. The previous shift came after a pitch. (Publicis broke a high-profile national campaign for Chevy in February. Those ads tied relaunched models like the Malibu and Equinox to the people who use them.)
C-E parent IPG, in a statement of its own, said it was "sorry to see the Campbell Ewald/Chevrolet relationship in the U.S. end after all these years."
IPG added, however, that it remained "committed to General Motors and to the role that we can play in their success. We are experiencing growth with a number of their brands internationally and in key areas such as digital marketing and they continue to be an important client."