GM invests in Detroit media-buying firm, will bring city 200 jobs

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Photo of the downtown Detroit skyline.

Detroit will gain 200 jobs from GM's partnership with Carat. (Photo Credit: Public Domain/Kirby51688/Wikipedia)

New jobs are good jobs when it comes to Detroit and the U.S. auto industry. The Detroit Free Press reports that General Motors is bringing approximately 200 new jobs to the insolvent city by partnering with local media-buying company Carat. Carat, which is owned by the London-headquartered Aegis Group, will open a new office on the 23rd floor of One Detroit Center on Woodward Avenue in order to cement the partnership with GM.

Global media buying cut from the same cloth

General Motors marketing chief Joel Ewanick told the Free Press that the automaker was definitely looking for a global media-buying headquarters that is a “part of the fabric of the city” of Detroit.

“We think it’s even more important to show this commitment right now,” he said. “We know what it’s like to have friends come and help us when we’re going through hard times, and we want to be that kind of good citizen right now. We understand how much work this is, fixing the city. We’re not going to wilt away from that.”

Currently, Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder and Detroit Mayor Dave Bing are facing a full-court press when it comes to developing an economic plan for the city that will lead it out of financial crisis. Financial experts familiar with Detroit’s finances generally paint a bleak picture, but Martin Cass of Carat Global Management sees a ray of hope.

“There’s definitely a sense of buzz, a sense of revival,” Cass said. “I hope the political elements get sorted out, and we can all get on with life.”

[Go on with your purchase, thanks to auto loan financing]

Global media in an online age

Media buying has become significantly more complex with the growth of the World Wide Web and social media. No longer are newspaper, radio and television enough, when Facebook, YouTube, Twitter and other platforms are waiting to serve the needs of an advertiser like General Motors. The truly global nature of online communication has changed the game, and GM believes Carat is optimally positioned to help it get a leg up on the competition.

Now, rather than using 50 media buying firms located around the globe, the automaker is happy to funnel its advertising dollars through one local agency. Carat has worked with GM since 2007, handling media planning and buying for Chevrolet in Europe, Opel and Vauxhall, but according to Cass, this is the first time the automaker has brought all of its business to the company.

“We should’ve done this global review and global integration 10 years ago,” said Ewanick. “Most companies our size have already gone through this. We’re late to the party. It’s not only a money decision, but it allows us as a marketing organization to be more efficient at how we look at our buying, our best practices.”

Money saved, money earned

Peter De Lorenzo of estimates that GM will save as much as 20 percent on media buying by allying exclusively with Carat. In terms of how much advertising money General Motors will run through Carat, Cass estimates that his company will handle more than $2.5 billion in advertising and marketing investments from GM. This will enable the Detroit-based automotive giant to reach at least 100 different markets, worldwide.

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