Chrysler's decision this month to park $400 million in media buying at a new company owned by BBDO won hosannas from many in the industries involved. A note-worthy exception is Phil Guarascio, general manager/marketing and advertising for General Motors' North American Operations: "What they're doing now, I was doing seven years ago. And when you're the second or third guy in on a particular idea, you're not going to be as effective as when you're the first."
Guarascio, in Chicago last week to address the Chicago Advertising Federation, said GM's in-house Media Council--which oversees roughly $1 billion in media--was the first car company to consolidate significant ad dollars.
"You don't have any alternative but to operate that way in this environment," he said, adding that GM's competition for media avails isn't just Ford and Chrysler, but all other blue chip advertisers. "You can't afford to sit still," he said.
During his remarks, Guarascio lashed out at media-buying cooperatives, specifically the cooperative-in-progress being created by Media Incorporated, which recently hired image consultant Roger Ailes.
Guarascio said smaller clients are better off "operating as guerrilla warriors" to achieve their own goals rather than becoming part of a "medium sized organization that's not big enough to be big, but too big to be nimble.
"I have to wonder . . . " he continued. "What does (Ailes) know about media buying?" he asked. "How is he going to compete with Leo Burnett and DDB Needham?"
Copyright Adweek L.P. (1993)