Advertising Age - GM Moves $225 Million Cadillac Account to Modernista

The day of the Mega-Agency for Mega-Accounts may be nearly over. Car accounts, once only could go to the largest network agencies, with their large overhead, and even larger expense accounts.

Cadillac left Leo Burnett for upstart Modernista who has handled the Hummer account since it’s launch. Similar to the Crispin Porter + Bogusky win of VW, the move followed a move of the marketing chief from one brand to the other.

Unlike VW, Cadillac has a brand that has credible product- but is still not connecting with all its target markets with the right voice. The Burnett produced fashion show spot for the new Escalade that aired in the SuperBowl was blamed for the switch- but, once again- car clients are looking for excitement about their brand- generated by advertising, as opposed to being generated by the merits of the vehicle.

Toyota sells a ton of vehicles in this country- with the most unremarkable advertising- but a high quality, high value, reliable product.

We believe that there are more cost effective ways to market motor vehicles- including a total rebuilding of the dealer networks. Look to what Harley Davidson, Apple and Nike have done with their brand experience retail destinations for a look at what the future of automotive retailing should look like.

It’s not the agency that’s the problem in most cases- it’s the manufacturers who still haven’t let go of their old ways of doing business. The questions is can small ad agencies keep the creative energy and freshness once they land one of these monster accounts- and come under the watchful eye of the old school masters in a new school world?
It will be interesting to see what Modernista does with Cadillac- and if they will be able to hold on to Hummer too.

What do you think?