Though GM executives have not confirmed the European launch, agency sources said the review will definitely go forward in the next few months after a series of fits and starts.
The card, which was formally launched in the U.S. last fall, has been a subject of great consternation among GM shops for the last year or so, as GM has divvied up the billings for the project.
A source at one contending agency said GM will internally review its agencies to see who would do the best job on a credit card in Europe. 'They don't want a war between their agencies,' said the source. 'They will study the issue and then just give the account to somebody.'
McCann is agency of record for the GM Card, which has a reported first year ad budget of $70 million. Though before the card launched, McCann had lost the estimated $25 million direct marketing portion to The Atkinson Group, St. Louis. Earlier this year, GM surprised its agencies by parking the GM Gold Card at DMB&B, Bloomfield Hills, agency for Cadillac and Pontiac, without benefit of a review.
Agency sources with extensive experience in Europe say that DMB&B's experience with the GM Gold Card and Cadillac would be a plus in its favor since the high-end market in Europe is very similar to the U.S. If GM decides to target the middle class, McCann's experience on the regular GM cards would be tougher to cash in on since the middle class is fragmented and diverse on a country to country basis.
Copyright Adweek L.P. (1993)