GM Awards Nearly $5 Billion in Ad Duties to Carat

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General Motors has awarded its nearly $5 billion global ad media buying and planning duties to Carat, an ad agency owned by the holding company Aegis that previously only bought ad space for GM in Europe.

Losers on the business include the U.S.’s Starcom (owned by Publicis), which handled American buying and planning, and Interpublic Group’s Universal McCann, which handled Latin America.

GM spent $4.26 billion globally on advertising in 2010, as part of a $5.1 billion ad and sales promotion budget.

The reassignment of duties came after a months-long pitch process that involved up to 90 agency presentations, and GM global chief marketing officer Joel Ewanick publicly fretting that he could not make up his mind.

Here’s the text of the release:

For Immediate Release: Tuesday, Jan. 24, 2012

GM Names Carat Global Media Planning and Buying Agency

DETROIT – General Motors has awarded its global media operations account toCarat, part of the specialist media and digital group Aegis Media,after an extensive review of the company’s global marketing operations. The account carries responsibility for most of GMs global planning and buying operations for consumer-facing media, including broadcast, digital and social media.  

“We wanted a media agency partner with the sophistication to leverage global marketing opportunities,” said Joel Ewanick, GM vice president and global chief marketing officer. “Carat has an innovative approach to drive significant marketing value and their service model has been tailored to align well with our global and regional brands. They are uniquely positioned to help us form strong media partnerships and drive significant global efficiencies.”

Carat will immediately begin to transition responsibility for GM’s media operations in most global regions, with the exception of China, India and Brazil, where these activities will continue to be managed by agencies specific to those countries.