The Interpublic Group has hired Abbott Mead Vickers.BBDO vice-chairman Alfredo Marcantonio to spearhead a new unit to handle General Motors business across Europe.
The move comes just four months after IPG missed out on the 35m pan-European launch of the new Astra. General Motors chose Rainey Kelly Campbell Roalfe rather than either of the IPG networks – McCann-Erickson and the Lowe Group – despite the fact that they handle GM work across Europe (MW November 27 1997).
Marcantonio joins the GM Brand Communications Group, created at the end of last year, as senior vice president executive creative director. He will run the venture – believed to have a role in sharing information across both agencies and working directly with GM brand managers – with general manager Garry Neel.
The division already has a unit in Frankfurt which deals directly with GM’s brand managers, and Neel says it is seeking to recruit more staff.
“The need for someone like Marcantonio surfaced before the Astra situation,” says Neel.
“We needed a strong creative strategist to work with both agencies on Astra, and other projects. But he is coming in response to client needs. It is not such an unusual structure when a client has a brand management system,”he adds.
GM’s brand management system, introduced in Europe over the past 18 months, has been criticised in the US for failing to boost profits.
Marcantonio worked across all AMV’s accounts, ranging from BT to Mars.