NEW YORK -- Publicis Groupe's Fallon advertising agency is severing ties with Chrysler after General Motors Co. tapped the agency as the new home for the $270 million Cadillac ad account.
"Fallon's deep, 17-year experience with other luxury automotive brands like Porsche and BMW makes them a perfect fit for our flagship brand," Joel Ewanick, GM's vice president for U.S. marketing, said in an announcement posted on Cadillac's website today.
Under Fallon, Cadillac officials are eager to pursue new marketing platforms for the brand.
"We look forward to working with Fallon to illuminate Cadillac as the new 'Standard of the World,'" said Don Butler, vice president for Cadillac marketing.
Fallon replaces New York-based Bartle Bogle Hegarty, which is 49 percent-owned by Publicis. Bartle Bogle was released from the Cadillac account by Ewanick last week after just five months working on the business.
"We're looking forward to helping chart a bold new course for this great American brand," Chris Foster, Fallon CEO, said in a statement. "Our commitment is to brave work that makes a difference and our work with Cadillac will give us the opportunity to further realize this."
"It's a privilege to be invited to work with such an iconic brand and to reconnect with Joel. Great things will happen," said agency founder and chairman emeritus Pat Fallon.
Fallon, based in Minneapolis, was awarded the Chrysler brand account in December.
"We're proud of the work we did with Chrysler and wish them well going forward," said a Fallon spokesman.
A Chrysler spokeswoman today confirmed the company and Fallon had parted ways, and declined further comment.
For Chrysler, it means another ad agency search.
Under the new management of Fiat head Sergio Marchionne, the Chrysler Group has completely redone its agency roster, bringing aboard a long list of new shops such as Wieden & Kennedy, the Richards Group and SapientNitro.
Ewanick's move reunites him with Fallon, where he worked 20 years ago on Porsche advertising. The agency has a history of producing much-talked-about work for Porsche and BMW, such as its "BMW Films" series.
The Cadillac account is a huge victory for Fallon, which struggled for a few years but more recently has shown an ability to prevail in new-business pitches to win spots on the rosters of marketers such as General Mills and Purina.
Minneapolis-based Fallon is expected to open a Detroit office to oversee the Cadillac account.
In its short tenure on the Cadillac account, BBH produced just one round of work, mostly print and TV ads, that carried a new tagline of "Mark of Leadership."
Second major change
The agency switch is the second major change Ewanick has made since arriving at GM in May. He also shifted advertising duties for all Chevrolet brands to Omnicom Group's Goodby Silverstein & Partners, where he worked during his stints at Hyundai and Porsche, from Publicis Groupe's Publicis.
Cadillac has seen a spike in sales with the improving economy, coinciding with its brief relationship with BBH. Last month, Cadillac's U.S. sales rose 39 percent to 11,788 vehicles. It was the fifth consecutive month of year-over-year sales gains. Through the first half of 2010, Cadillac sales are up 33 percent compared to the year-prior period.
In addition to brand advertising, Fallon will likely be tapped to launch the 2011 CTS coupe and promote a new service called "Cadillac Premium Care Maintenance."
"We're strengthening the lineup with a distinctive new vehicle and elevating the brand by providing owners with a long-term commitment to customer service," Kurt McNeil, vice president of Cadillac sales and service, said in a statement.
Rich Thomaselli and Abbey Klaassen contributed to this report