Publicis takes control of Chevy advertising


Automotive advertising isn’t what it once was – but they are still important accounts when you can land them.

It looks as though Publicis, the French holding company, has brought home the rest of the Chevrolet creative business. After it was first reported in Adweek, Publicis today released a short statement confirming that “Publicis Worldwide is proud to announce that Chevrolet has decided to consolidate all its U.S. advertising with Publicis Worldwide U.S.A.”

The shift — essentially taking work on Chevy trucks from Campbell-Ewald and moving it to Publicis — isn’t a total surprise. GM recently pulled lead creative duties on Chevy cars from Interpublic’s Campbell-Ewald, too.  That also went to Publicis.

Interpublic bulking up in Brazil with CUBOCC deal

Brazil Carnival

Interpublic, home to agencies like McCann Worldgroup and DraftFCB, has acquired an shop in Sao Paulo, expanding its footprint in Brazil. Lowe Worldwide and McCann Erickson, among other IPG agencies, already have offices in Brazil, which, of course, is considered a hotspot for advertising and media growth.

The ad and marketing services agency, CUBOCC, concentrates on new media and digital marketing, which, in case you’ve been asleep for a very long time, is also considered a hotspot.

IPG didn’t release financial details, but said CUBOCC would stay a stand-along agency. Roberto Martini will continue to run the shop, which has a staff of about 106 and was started in 2004.

Bearish signs for ad spending

Not much good news in advertising today.

First came the TNS Media Intelligence numbers, which, though dated, paint an awfully grim picture.  First quarter spending fell 14 percent, a big number in its own right, but even more startling when put in context. Take, for instance, the fourth quarter of 2008, when credit had completely dried up and companies were racing to cut marketing, staffing and every other expense. Ad spending then fell just 9 percent. Or how about the fourth quarter of 2001? After the bursting of the dotcom bubble and the attacks of Sept. 11? Spending dropped 11 percent that quarter.

Again, the 14 percent is a backward looking number. The first quarter of 2009 is history. For that reason perhaps the news could be taken in stride — if not for a brief statement by TNS research Jon Swallen that was included in the press release.

“While there are hopeful signs of general economic indicators bottoming out, the advertising sector still appears to be lagging behind. Available data from (the) second quarter shows ad expenditures tracking on a comparable plane to recent months.”

As GM files for bankruptcy, Madison Ave gets to work

“This is not about going out of business. This is about getting down to business.”
So says the latest advertisement from General Motors, which hit the automaker’s web site and YouTube just hours after it filed for bankruptcy protection.

The theme is reinvention (“General Motors needs to start over to get stronger”) and it is the first glimpse of what the folks over at the Interpublic Group agencies that work on GM have planned post-bankruptcy.

Keep an eye on:

    Microsoft offered a look into a future where the Xbox 360 console is the centerpiece of any living room (Reuters)
    DirecTV Chief Executive Chase Carey may be headed back to News Corp (Reuters)
    Lions Gate Entertainment posted a wider-than-expected fourth-quarter loss (Reuters)

Chrysler: Coming soon to a TV near you

As the New York Times puts it this morning: “Even after receiving $15.4 billion in federal loans, General Motors is once again on the brink of financial collapse.” The reason is that the automaker burned through $10.2 billion in the firs quarter, while revenue dropped by almost half to $22.4 billion.

Does that mean GM is heading for bankruptcy? Possibly. Does that mean more bad news for the advertising industry, which has been hard hit by the pullback in spending from automakers? Not necessarily.

Take, for instance, the case of Chrysler. Adweek reports that the company, after filing for bankruptcy protection, is launching a new ad campaign that will debut on May 11 during prime-time television.

Advertising slump shows no signs of relenting

The news media may be preoccupied with Swine Flu and the Banking Crisis and the Auto Industry meltdown, but look beyond those hot topics and you will see a familiar story — you know, the advertising-business-is-getting-slammed story.

Advertising group WPP today said it would not meet its 2009 forecasts after quarterly sales fell 5.8 percent, as companies slashed marketing budgets. This comes after rival Omnicom on Monday reported that its first-quarter revenue fell 14 percent.

Interpublic needed a heap of cost-cutting moves — including job cuts — to help it post a loss that was smaller that Wall Street expected. Revenue fell nearly 11 percent — maybe that’s a case of it-could-have-been-worse for a company that counts General Motors as one of its single largest clients.

Good news for Madison Ave: WPP will only be slightly down

Slightly down is the new up.

At least judging from the reception that advertising giant WPP received today after it predicted like-for-like revenue would drop 2 percent this year.

Shares were up about 5 percent after the report from WPP, the last of the big three advertising holdings to post quarterly results. For all the worry about the advertising recession — and no doubt advertising is bad right now — WPP, Omnicom and Interpublic also showed some bright spots in their numbers.

WPP, in fact, said the in the ”long-term” the outlook for the advertising and marketing services business “appears favorable.” “Long-term” isn’t a particularly well-defined timeframe, but nonetheless those are pretty upbeat comments coming from an industry that has seen auto, retail and financial services spending drop like a stone.

Cautious splurge: the art of luxury advertising

Advertising at the highest end of the luxury market may be the last to get hit in an economic slump, but it’s still going to get scathed before the ad market turns around, Nick Brien, who heads up Interpublic Group’s Mediabrands, a holding company for media buying and planning agencies,  told the Reuters Media Summit in New York.

“There will always be some brands and marketers who are going to want to live beyond the realities that are going on for the masses of people,” said Brien, who’s responsible for agencies like Universal McCann, Initiative, Magna, and J3 . “That will go on… (but) will it be as pronounced as it was, will be it as mainstream?”

Brien didn’t think so. Not when even Russian billionaires – with their boats and Rolexes — are feeling the pinch, he said. “Even if their wealth is coming down from a billion to half a billion, that’s what it is — it’s coming down,” Brien said.

More bad news in advertising outlook

If you were looking for any positive signs from the advertising industry, perhaps as vendors try to drum up business amid the rough economy, forget it. Times are tough there too.

On Tuesday, France’s Publicis said it expects to see weakness in mature markets and traditional sectors and a “marked slowdown” in the ad industry next year.

And Interpublic Chief Executive Michael Roth said clients’ spending plans were under pressure from the financial crisis.

More Boo-Hoo in Yahoo shares

yahoo-sign.jpgWho was it that wrote about the “The Road Not Taken”? Robert Frost?

That’s somewhat ironic, because you have to figure Yahoo shareholders are feeling pretty frosty toward Yahoo’s management now that its stock price is wallowing around $13 , near five-year lows, amid a weakening display advertising outlook.

The road not taken? Microsoft’s offer of $33 a share for Yahoo. That deal died in the summer, before the global banking crisis had reared its ugly head. What was once a $47 billion deal would be worth significantly less today. 

Yahoo’s premium display business is getting roughed up by a slow-down by advertisers such as financial companies and automakers, and caution among online advertising customers.