Cadillac Leaves Fallon for IPG Team [UPDATED]

Campbell Ewald is part of winning pitch

General Motors has confirmed the hiring of a team of Interpublic Group agencies to handle Cadillac’s creative business.

The team comprised leaders from Hill Holliday, Campbell Ewald and Lowe. Hill Holliday will lead creative development; Campbell Ewald will handle account management, digital and retail marketing and customer relationship management; and Lowe will adapt and distribute ads overseas, as needed, according to GM. The interagency group is calling itself Rogue.

U.S. media spending on the brand runs around $250 million annually.

The outcome does little to dispel reports before the pitch that the account was exiting Fallon for Campbell Ewald. And, as if to distance itself from the notion that Campbell Ewald was the favorite going in, Cadillac parent General Motors positioned the selection as an IPG hire.

"They shared a vision that we embrace in terms of how to grow this brand not only here the U.S. or North America but also globally," said Craig Bierley, Cadilac's advertising director. "We were impressed with their creativity, with their degree of integration."

Sources previously identified the other finalists as DDB in Chicago; the Publicis Groupe duo of Digitas and Publicis; and Fallon, which had handled the brand for three years.

In an email to his staff today, Fallon CEO Mike Buchner expressed disappointment about the loss, pointedly noting Cadillac's recent sales momentum and the bronze Effie the agency won last month for its "ATS v. the World" campaign. 

"This is an outcome that we do not deserve, but the decision has been made," Buchner wrote. "So we move on."

In an interview with Adweek last month, Bierley downplayed talk of favoritism in the review, which only grew in April when GM hired Campbell Ewald managing director Steve Majoros as director of global marketing on Cadillac.

"This review was completely open. Transparent. And fair. Everybody had an equal shot going into this," Bierley said.

But even before the Majoros news—and despite assurances from Cadillac marketing executives—an exec at a contending agency conceded that the review is "not clean," adding sarcastically, "I've got to hold out hope for this disgusting industry."

Again, today, however, Bierley insisted that the playing field was level, adding that Majoros did not have a say in the decision. Last month, a GM representative said that Majoros had "recused himself" from the process "for reasons of timing an as a point of order."

@GabrielBeltrone Gabriel Beltrone is a frequent contributor to Adweek.