Where GM sits in Canada’s media landscape

You can bet urgent meetings are being called at media agencies across Canada now that General Motors has put its global media business up for review. According to the company’s quarterly filings, it spent $4.26 billion in 2010 on worldwide advertising with the majority of that figure representing media spending. It’s no wonder there’s buzz […]

You can bet urgent meetings are being called at media agencies across Canada now that General Motors has put its global media business up for review.

According to the company’s quarterly filings, it spent $4.26 billion in 2010 on worldwide advertising with the majority of that figure representing media spending. It’s no wonder there’s buzz around what that will mean for Canadian media agencies. (The review doesn’t include creative agencies.)

“This is a global review and affects every media buying agency we work with at a corporate level,” Jason Easton, corporate communications manager at General Motors of Canada, told Marketing. “Currently we work with over 20, globally, including M2 Universal and Cossette in Canada.”

GM will, according to a company release, request proposals on how to improve “the efficiency and effectiveness of its global operations for purchased media.”
 
Specifics on which global media companies will be issued the RFP were not disclosed, but it will include “all consumer-facing planning and buying operations in support of all media channels including print, digital, broadcast, SEO and social media,” according to the statement.

Company filings show that roughly 67% of GM’s 2010 worldwide advertising and sales promotion money was spent in North America.

GM’s Canadian agencies were unable to provide comment on the implications of this news.

With GM probably looking to consolidate and streamline with a single North American agency, Canada’s media shops are likely providing their corporate parents with their best market research and insights to bolster their inevitable client presentations. Currently, WPP’s Mindshare serves as Ford’s Canadian media AOR, and Chrysler works with Interpublic’s Universal McCann Canada. M2 Universal is also an Interpublic-owned agency and reports to Mediabrands’ North American head office.

Other companies with North American GM media duties are Starcom, which has handled media-buying and -planning duties for GM in the U.S. since 2005, and Carat, which handles GM in Europe. The majority of the Latin American business is run by Universal McCann, and India and China are not included in the review.

The media review follows a period of dramatic shifts in GM advertising since the company emerged from bankruptcy in 2009. Last year, GM moved Chevrolet to Omnicom Group’s Goodby, Silverstein & Partners and awarded Cadillac to Publicis Groupe’s Fallon. The Goodby Silverstein win put Omnicom squarely onto the roster of GM, which long had concentrated its advertising work among agencies owned by Publicis and Interpublic Group of Cos.

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