GM Wants More Efficiency Out Of Its Ad Agencies

The Wall Street Journal reports that GM, in dire straits, is looking to its ad agencies to pinch pennies:

In its latest attempt to save money, General Motors has asked its advertising agencies to slash their fees by as much as 20% this year and next, according to several people familiar with the matter.
The owner of Cadillac and Chevrolet works with dozens of agencies around the country, including Publicis Groupe’s Leo Burnett and Interpublic Group’s McCann Erickson and Campbell-Ewald.
GM declined to give details on its request that agencies lower their rates, but a spokeswoman says the car maker has “asked our agency partners to work with us to eliminate low-value work and find creative solutions to go to market more efficiently.”

That’s not gonna be good. I worked for a brief time in Detroit, and what I saw was quite illuminating. I won’t get into it now, but the whole system of marketing and selling cars, particularly for the Big-and-Shrinking 3, needs to be blown up and reworked. Unfortunately, these fee cuts aren’t going to change that, they’ll just put some hard-working ad people on the street. The real problems and problematic people will still be there.



About Dan Goldgeier

Dan Goldgeier is a Seattle-based freelance copywriter with experience at advertising agencies across the U.S. He is a graduate of the Creative Circus ad school, and currently teaches at Seattle's School of Visual Concepts. Dan is also a columnist for and the author of View From The Cheap Seats and Killer Executions and Scrubbed Decks.