GM drops Big Fuel as social media AOR

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As part of its ongoing agency consolidation, General Motors (GM) dropped its social media agency, Big Fuel, from its AOR roster, effective Jan. 1.

GM has been consolidating its agency business since September, after Joel Ewanick took over as global CMO of the company. The company has been working with 20 to 30 agencies in the media space. Additionally, GM is consolidating its relationships with 70 different creative agencies for the Chevrolet business.

“We are reducing the number of agencies that we are working with to be more effective,” said Pat Morrissey, director, product and brand communications at GM. “Our creative agencies will now handle the social media duties in order to make the process more streamlined.”

Big Fuel would not comment on the account loss and instead directed all calls to its public relations agency, DiGennaro Communications. “It's just a matter of a new way of reporting in, said Kathleen Ruane, executive director at DiGennaro. "GM's creative agencies are going to be the lead agencies,” she said. “They will have oversight in social, but in many cases they don't have social offerings so they will work with Big Fuel.”

In July, Publicis Group, GM's incumbent creative AOR, acquired a majority stake in Big Fuel with much of GM's social media work still being funneled through Publicis to Big Fuel. Morrissey said that Fallon will continue to handle Cadillac's creative; Leo Burnett will lead creative for Buick and GMC; and Goodby Silverstein & Partners will handle Chevrolet's creative work. Morrissey also pointed out that Big Fuel has relationships with these agencies.

In spite of the account loss, Big Fuel will keep its Detroit office open, although it opened last year primarily to serve the GM account, Ruane said. She added that the agency doesn't have any plans for layoffs in the Detroit office.

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