GMC Brand Up for Grabs as General Motors Issues Creative RFP

By Erik Oster 

Following speculation this spring that General Motors was launching a review for its GMC and Buick brands, a spokesperson confirmed today that the company has issued a creative RFP to “multiple agencies”. The review is exclusively concerned with GMC, however, and the Buick brand will not be impacted.

Both accounts currently reside with Publicis agencies Leo Burnett and DigitasLBi, which will defend in the review. According to Kantar Media, the parent company spent $269 million on measured media for the brand last year.

Leo Burnett was appointed as lead creative agency for Buick and GMC in 2007 without a review and has worked with General Motors in some capacity for over 45 years.

“Expanding the relevance of GMC brand and positioning it for continued success are key priorities,” the spokesperson said. “To support this effort, GMC is inviting multiple agencies to participate in a RFP to develop advertising strategies for the brand. Our current agencies of record, Leo Burnett and Digitas, will participate in this process. This RFP is specific to GMC and does not impact in any way the relationship between Buick, Leo Burnett and Digitas.”

GMC declined to disclose specifics about the review and the new agencies involved aside from the fact that an RFP will be issued within 30-45 days and the review is expected to conclude by the end of the year. Two to incumbent agencies deferred to the client for comment.

Sources told Adweek that Leo Burnett and Digitas were informed of the RFP last week, following the announcement by McDonald’s that it had concluded its own creative/media review by sending its creative account to DDB, thereby ending its 35-year relationship with Leo Burnett and consolidating its account with Omnicom.

Back in June, the Detroit offices of Leo Burnett and Digitas LBi merged to form a new unit called Engage M-1, dedicated to serving General Motors, while retaining separate office spaces and agency brands. 

General Motors has made a few changes to its agency roster in the recent past. In February, General Motors sent creative duties for Chevrolet certified service and Chevrolet commercial vehicles to Commonwealth//McCann nearly a year after sending creative for Silverado to McCann. This year General Motors also sent PR duties on its Cadillac and Chevrolet brands to Kovert Creative and Weber Shandwick, respectively — and the Detroit News reports that the company will issue RFPs for public relations work on Buick and GMC by the end of this year.