GM’s in a Korean State of Mind

But can it give Cheil the win on Chevy's creative?

When General Motors' ongoing review for Chevrolet's creative began, one choice on the agency list, Cheil Worldwide, had people scratching their heads.

But the addition of Korea's largest ad agency alongside GM's roster of holding company giants in fact makes perfect sense. Cheil is based in a country of increasing importance to GM. Korea is both its lead engineering center for small cars and the largest manufacturing location for Chevrolet outside of America. It produces one-quarter of Chevy's cars sold globally.

And this month, Korea becomes the first overseas market for Chevrolet's Malibu, a brand positioned as the cornerstone for Chevy's global growth.

As for Cheil, it already does work for GM on what was previously GM Daewoo, which has been rebranded in Korea as Chevrolet.

Last week, Cheil's global chief strategy officer, Bruce Haines (formerly Leo Burnett London's group CEO), addressed the agency's ambitions beyond corporate parent Samsung, telling, "We are very much hoping to grow [with] Chevrolet."

But Cheil is still a long shot. GM's review includes a focus on network size—a major obstacle for the shop in that it has a patchy footprint. Despite having operations in Chevy's three largest markets—the U.S., Brazil, and China—its 31 offices in 26 countries pale in comparison to those of the big guys. 

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