Who Needs Auto Company Ad Accounts

Auto company ad accounts aren’t anywhere near the plush things they used to be:

In the first quarter, troubled GM slashed ad spending by 31 percent to $480.9 million – the fourth straight quarter of 25 percent-plus declines, according to TNS Media Intelligence.

“They aren’t the great accounts they used to be because automotive isn’t the great business it used to be,” said Dick Roth, president of Roth Associates, an ad agency search firm.

For decades, auto accounts have been the most prestigious and hotly contested in the ad business. More so than soft drinks or department store accounts, they allowed Madison Avenue to pay the bills and win creative awards.

They also tended to be stable because car companies developed new models years in advance and needed to rely on their agencies to keep their plans under wraps from competitors.

But ad agencies that land an auto account these days are in for a rough ride. Carmakers – under pressure to cut costs and stand out in the ad glut – are pressing their agencies for better financial terms or casting about for ideas from rival firms.

[via NY Post]