Until comparatively recently, Campbell-Ewald had traditionally been one of the biggest non-network agencies in the US, as well as one of the oldest, celebrating its centenary in 2011. Part of the Interpublic stable since 1972, it was for virtually all of its history one of the core agencies on the General Motors roster, handling the key Chevrolet account as well as other business. However, the agency suffered a serious blow in 2010 when GM announced plans to shift all advertising for Chevrolet passenger cars to another shop. CE remains on the GM roster, but in a greatly reduced form. The agency received a significant boost in 2013 when it captured part of the global Cadillac account. That prompted its realignment within the Interpublic portfolio to become - as Lowe Campbell Ewald - the US hub for the Lowe network, which also resulted in the bolt-on of several Unilever accounts. But it was all change once again in 2015 with the loss of Cadillac, and C-E's ejection from the Lowe network (though it remains loosely aligned with what is now MullenLowe). Another crisis was the loss of several accounts in 2016, following the emergence of an offensive email sent out by a member of the creative team and the subsequent dismissal of CEO Jim Palmer, apparently for not having acted quickly enough to resolve the matter. He was replaced by Kevin Wertz, previously president. Chief creative officer Jo Shoesmith resigned in 2020 to head global creative for Amazon. She was eventually succeeded by co-CCOs Silmo Bonomi and Clarence Bradley. In 2007, AdAge had estimated combined revenues of $239m for C-E. By 2019, that figure had fallen to $73m.
Capsule checked 18th June 2020
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Adbrands Account Assignments tracks account management for the world's leading brands and companies, including details of which advertising agency handles which accounts in which countries for major markets.
Adbrands Weekly Update 5th Apr 2018: GM has launched a big new push for OnStar, its proprietary in-car connectivity platform, through longtime agency Campbell Ewald. Though originally conceived as a navigation and safety service, OnStar's focus gradually shifted in the early 2010s towards other areas, such as in-car entertainment and wifi connectivity. However, the rising US auto accident rate has encouraged GM to renew its emphasis on that original brief. As this highly effective, beautifully shot new campaign illustrates, OnStar's live human operators can offer drivers much needed comfort and support in times of emergency. That's one major USP all by itself.
Adbrands Weekly Update 4th Feb 2016: Interpublic has dismissed the CEO Campbell Ewald following the emergence this week of a controversial company email sent out last Fall by one of its creative directors, who has also been fired. Adweek's AgencySpy blog unearthed the email, which had invited fellow staffers to a themed "Ghetto Day" party, with the words "we're inviting our Big D homebitches to cycle in and pop a freak with us. Ghetto music, Malt 45s at lunch, and of course, drugs and prostitution are legal all day until close of business." Needless to say, the creative director who sent the email was white. CEO Jim Palmer issued an apology, but that wasn't enough to prevent client USAA for pulling its account. The exact grounds for Palmer's dismissal were not disclosed, but it's presumably because he didn't sack the creative director at the time, or inform Interpublic managers. Interpublic said it hopes to continue servicing the USAA account through a newly created dedicated unit. Kevin Wertz takes over from Palmer as CEO.
Adbrands Weekly Update 14th May 2015: Interpublic is making yet another attempt to ramp up its Lowe & Partners network in the US. In the latest of what seems like countless different mergers over the years, standalone agency Mullen is being folded into the business, which will adopt a new identity as Mullen Lowe Group. The last such reboot involved the injection of Campbell Ewald into the Lowe portfolio, but that failed to gel. Lowe Campbell Ewald drops the Lowe tag to become a standalone once more. More significantly perhaps, Lowe's CEO Michael Wall is leaving - to become the first global CEO at Mother! - and the top job goes to Mullen CEO Alex Leikikh. He would be wise to feel some trepidation. Though Lowe retains a certain degree of prestige internationally, especially in Asia and the Latin market, the network has failed repeatedly to establish a lasting presence in the US. Past partners for Lowe in the US include Deutsch, until a divorce in 2013; and before that Bozell, Scali McCabe Sloves and Ammirati Puris Lintas, all of whom vanished without trace into Lowe's US presence prior to the steady defection of their client portfolios. Most recently, the combination with Campbell Ewald was followed by the departure of that agency's Cadillac account. Interpublic managers are clearly hoping that the latest combination will prove the long-awaited charm, but we're not so sure. They would be well-advised to keep a close eye on Mullen's recently won automobile account Acura in case the Cadillac curse strikes again.
Adbrands Weekly Update 24th Oct 2013: The Lowe advertising brand is to return to New York for the first time since its local office was folded into Deutsch in 2009. Earlier this year, Detroit-based Campbell Ewald succeeded Deutsch as Lowe's local agency in the US, and changed its name to Lowe Campbell-Ewald. In January 2014, the agency will open an office in New York, and former Lowe New York president Sal Taibi - who had become general manager of Deutsch New York following the 2009 merger - regains his role as president.
Adbrands Weekly Update 11th Jul 2013: Interpublic announced a shake-up of the US arm of its Lowe & Partners network. Since the closure of the dedicated Lowe office in New York in 2009, the network has been represented in the US by Deutsch. However, Lowe's recent appointment to the international Cadillac account alongside Campbell Ewald and Hill Holliday created a potential conflict with Deutsch's client Volkswagen. As a result, Campbell Ewald has replaced Deutsch as the US arm of the Lowe network, and will adopt the new name Lowe Campbell Ewald. At the same time, Jim Palmer was named as CEO of Campbell Ewald, succeeding Bill Ludwig, who is leaving after 31 years at the agency. Kathleen Donald moves up to president from COO.
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