Chevy Enlists Goodby as Lead Shop

General Motors hired Joel Ewanick as vice president of U.S. marketing just two weeks ago, but he’s already making a mark.

A month after GM consolidated creative duties on its Chevrolet brand at Publicis Groupe’s Publicis, the automaker is undoing that decision by shifting lead duties on the brand to Omnicom Group’s Goodby, Silverstein & Partners — Ewanick’s agency when he led marketing at Hyundai Motors America — and rehiring longtime Chevy shop Campbell-Ewald to handle retail and sponsorship ads, according to sources. It was not immediately clear if creative duties on Chevy trucks also would return to C-E, a unit of Interpublic Group.

Goodby declined to comment and C-E did not return calls. In a statement, Publicis USA CEO Susan Giannino said: “We are continuing to pick up work on Chevrolet and to work diligently through the transition, both with the Chevy client and Campbell-Ewald,” adding, “We have not been told anything other than we have the business, and we have been working hard and in good faith to get the work done in the highest quality.”

The carmaker could not immediately be reached.

Major media spending on Chevy totaled nearly $650 million last year, down from $685 million in 2008, according to Nielsen. Those figures don’t include online spending, however.

The move comes after GM executives met with Goodby execs in San Francisco earlier this week, a source said. The decision illustrates not only Ewanick’s confidence in Goodby but also the decision-making power he sought when he accepted the GM role, just weeks after joining Nissan as vp of marketing. At GM, Ewanick oversees four brands: Chevrolet, Buick, GMC and Cadillac.

Bigger picture, the hiring of Goodby puts an Omnicom agency in a stable of GM roster shops long dominated by Publicis Groupe and Interpublic.

–with Noreen O’Leary and Eleftheria Parpis