Sister Hill, Holliday Looks to Leverage IPG Ties to PR Agency
BOSTON--Weber Public Relations Worldwide has introduced its newest client--the e-commerce division of General Motors--to sister shop Hill, Holliday, Connors, Cosmopulos.
Weber last week was tapped for public relations by e-GM after working on a project basis to help launch the unit in August. After the debut of the Web site (www.gm.com), Weber introduced Hill, Holliday Interactive to GM executives in what one source described as "advisory meetings."
Both Weber and Hill, Holliday are owned by New York-based Interpublic Group of Cos., which has ties to the Detroit automaker through various holdings. Whether the talks between Hill, Holliday Interactive and GM will lead to an ongoing relationship could not be determined at press time.
How the site will be brought to market is under discussion, sources said.
The GM unit works with its own in-house agency, called Cyberworks, as well as other agencies. Boston-based Strategic Interactive Group is believed to be handling both content creation and interactive marketing chores for e-GM. Its parent company, Bronnercom, handles direct marketing for several GM divisions.
Also having a hand in GM-related Web initiatives is Mullen in Wenham, Mass. It created a site that was shut down by government officials before it became operational in Texas, where it was to have been tested.
Weber was one of several undisclosed agencies invited by GM's Tony Cervone, general director of corporate public relations, to pitch the assignment in late July.
Cervone said in statement that Weber was selected because of its experience helping brands "build a meaningful presence on the Internet and their proven ability to successfully leverage technology to communicate key messages."
The client formally launched e-GM via Webcast on Aug. 10. Scott MacIver, vice president of Internet communications at Weber, said the agency had just six days to help coordinate that event, which included top GM executives as well as guest speakers George Colony of Forrester Research and Sun Microsystems CEO Scott McNealy.
Also called to pitch the assignment won by Weber was Cone in Boston. It turned down the opportunity, however, because of the short turnaround time, sources said.
Even so, Cone expects to make a formal announcement of its own relationship with GM, most likely involving a cause-related marketing initiative, sources said last week. Cone president Jens Bang declined comment.