When Goodby Silverstein & Partners won a large chunk of Chevrolet business last year, it became essential for them to staff a sizable Detroit office.
As The Detroit Free Press reports, they’re not the only ones:
Big Fuel, a 7-year-old New York social-media agency, has chosen Detroit for its first satellite office, becoming the latest advertising agency to follow General Motors marketing chief Joel Ewanick’s encouragement to put employees in downtown Detroit.
The firm plans to employ about 30 people in Detroit by the end of January in an office that opened last month on the 31st floor of Tower 300 at the Renaissance Center, CEO Avi Savar said.
Eventually, the Detroit office, known internally as Big Fuel Heartland, could employ hundreds in another building. Big Fuel will likely move some of its Midwest accounts, like Chicago-based McDonald’s, to the Detroit office, Savar said. A West Coast office is next, he said.
Clearly it’s a good sign for Detroit, which needs all the employment it can get right now. But it also speaks to the nature of the advertising business as we cross into 2011: While you can do work from anywhere for clients around the world, proximity to the client, face time and relationships still matter.
Plus, it’s also interesting to see an agency like Big Fuel stake its claim to GM’s social media agency of record, including for Chevy. Goodby’s intentional ramp-up of its digital efforts over the last several years is well-known. I wonder if they’ll pursue the same growth efforts in social media to get that piece of the marketing pie as well.