DETROIT -- In another sign that General Motors Co. wants more provocative advertising, it is inviting ad agencies to pitch creative work for upcoming Chevrolet campaigns.
Incumbent agency Campbell-Ewald will remain the brand's agency of record and has been invited to submit ideas, GM says.
Separately, Bob Lutz, GM's vice chairman of marketing, said in a media briefing last week that the tone of GM advertising will be less predictable.
"We'll be accepting some risk that you might offend someone somewhere," he said. Lutz also has said he wants advertising that pitches product benefits and features -- the steak vs. the sizzle.
Two weeks ago, Cadillac called for a review of its national and regional dealer creative account. Incumbent Modernista, of Boston, decided not to compete.
At Chevrolet, the review should affect the high-profile launch campaign for the Cruze small car, which will replace the Cobalt in the spring.
The bulk of Chevrolet advertising work -- including digital, catalog and retail campaigns -- still will be handled by Campbell-Ewald, GM says. Campbell-Ewald has been Chevrolet's agency of record since 1922.
Said Tony Hopp, CEO of Campbell-Ewald: "We will aggressively compete for new Chevrolet opportunities to grow their brand and their business in every segment."
Chevrolet's invitation to other agencies comes within months of the return of Brent Dewar to head the brand, this time as global brand coordinator and vice president for North America. Dewar headed Chevrolet in the United States as general manager for two years until 2005. He returned this summer from a one-year tour of duty in Europe for GM.
During Dewar's first reign at Chevrolet, he was tough on Campbell-Ewald, said two former managers at the agency. And one of his first moves upon his return, one of those managers said, was to pull the plug on a brand blitz that was ready to go and already had been approved by Mark LaNeve, who until July 10 was vice president of sales, service and marketing for GM in North America.
Last week, LaNeve left GM to become marketing chief at Allstate Insurance.
Jean Halliday of Advertising Age contributed to this report