Blow to IPG as GM hands Rainey Kelly 35m Astra

General Motors Europe has gone outside its agency roster for the first time and hired Rainey Kelly Campbell Roalfe for the 35m pan-European launch of its new Astra model.

The move is a blow to the Interpublic Group, whose subsidiaries the Lowe Group and McCann-Erickson Europe handle all GM advertising in Europe.

The Lowe Group handles Vauxhall ads in the UK and Opel in Germany through Lowe & Partners. McCann handles Opel in the rest of Europe.

It is understood that IPG president Phil Geier has been personally involved in the pitches.

Rainey Kelly won the account after its pan-European work went into research earlier this month, as did work for the UK from Lowe Howard-Spink, work for Germany from Saatchi & Saatchi Frankfurt and McCann’s work in France, Italy and Spain.

The first round of pitches also included M&C Saatchi, one German agency and HHCL & Partners. It is thought design agency Wolff Olins took part.

But GM Europe’s director of advertising Patrick Dunster denies that hiring Rainey Kelly to launch the Astra will lead to other GM accounts held by IPG being reviewed. “That’s not the plan. This is a one-off,” he says.

The win means Rainey Kelly will launch the Astra across all European markets from April next year.

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