Exclusive: Campbell Ewald’s Jeff Scott…Canned Or Couldn’t Take It Anymore

By Matt Van Hoven 

Jeff Scott, 21-year Campbell Ewald’s managing director, board member, and finance and executive committee member is no longer with the company. I was unable to confirm whether his departure was forced or voluntary, but my source tells me it was the former.

Speculation abound, I’ve put together my own thesis that might explain Scott’s departure…voluntary or otherwise.


Beginning in 1987, Scott helped bring clients like Alltel Wireless, the American Heart Association, Farmers Insurance Group and OnStar (also a GM partner) into market prominence. CE is has also been Chevrolet’s AOR since 1919 &#151 and we all know how they, and parent company GM, are doing. Here’s a note from April on CE and Chevy’s slow, painful chasm-formation.

So when GM announced, yesterday, that it’s cutting 20 percent of its workforce and production of 300,000 fewer vehicles, CE SVP Mark Benner told newsmaker Crain’s Detroit Business, “We read the news, too.” Ouch.

But that’s not the only reason Scott’s head may have been on the proverbial chopping block. Tribble could have predicted the agency’s downturn, since CE only began using paid search in January, according to AdWeek. On that note, AdWeek’s Andrew McMains writes, “Using paid search to market brands is so fundamental that it’s self-evident. However, that’s not necessarily the case when it comes to building agency brands.”

So we’re not the only ones who think so.

Fundamental business operations aside, clientele confidence appears to be down at CE. They’ve been losing business like rats swimming away from a sinking ship, which may also have helped push Scott out of his near quarter-century employment. In early June, AgencySpy reported CE’s loss of the Michelin account to TBWA NY. More on that agency later today, and a lot more about Mr. Scott after the jump.

Another big loss for CE was the Popeye’s account, which we told you the agency was pitching back in May.

Finally, the Navy Times reports that the Navy’s contract with CE comes up for bid at the end of this year &#151 another big potential loss which seems likely given the defense agency’s announcement that it’s pulling out of its NASCAR sponsorship.


CE reps were not available for content mid-morning, and were unwilling to provide Scott’s personal contact information. No word, then, as to what he’ll be doing in the near future. Hopefully, whatever he does will include learning about SEO/SEM, and search marketing in general. Meantime, the agency itself must be scrambling to find work, since their Popeye’s loss was the only bid they’ve been in for awhile. WIth Michelin gone and the Navy (potentially) up for grabs, things aren’t looking good for the Detroit based shop.

Jeffrey J. Scott is President, Managing Director at Campbell-Ewald, responsible for assisting national marketers including Alltel Wireless, the American Heart Association, Farmers Insurance Group, the University of Michigan Health System, and Wyndham Worldwide. He is a member of the Campbell-Ewald Board of Directors and the agency’s finance and executive committees. During his agency tenure, Jeff helped OnStar become a ubiquitous brand name, even though it may not have a home for much longer. He also assisted in launching category leader XM Satellite Radio, which is in current talks to be bought out by Sirius Satellite Radio…Hmm. Finally, he oversaw the Continental Airlines account during turbulent reorganizations. Maybe CE just picked a bunch of bad eggs without realizing it? He also has helped grow the agency’s communications capabilities including launching Campbell-Ewald Digital in 1994 (yeah, by digital I think they meant not analog) and leading the agency’s contact management transformation to help clients compete more successfully in today’s cluttered media landscape. Jeff also oversees Campbell-Ewald Health, helping additional clients such as Amgen, Shire Pharmaceuticals and Meijer.

One last note about Mr. Scott’s departure. Some research revealed that he provided a donation in the sum of $500 to Sen. Carl Levin (D-Mich), and Rep. John Schwarz (R-Mich) this year. As they say, you’ve got to pick a side, sooner or later, or someone will pick for you. In this case, CE did the choosing.