- Alfredo Marcantonio, the veteran copywriter and vice-chairman of Abbott Mead Vickers BBDO, is joining the Interpublic Group to beef up its creative work on General Motors Europe.
Marcantonio's appointment was made jointly by the European management of General Motors' two Interpublic agencies -- Lowe and Partners Worldwide and McCann-Erickson Worldwide. Lowe Howard-Spink handles GM's Vauxhall business in the UK and Germany, whilst McCanns covers the rest of Europe.
Interpublic's tenure of the General Motors account was dealt a severe blow in November following the appointment of non-roster shop Rainey Kelly Campbell Roalfe to the £30 million pan-European launch of the Astra (Campaign, 28 November).
Marcantonio will work alongside Garry Neel, general manager of Interpublic's GM Brand Communication Group, a strategic partnership set up by Lowes and McCanns last year to co-ordinate strategic efforts on General Motors Europe. Marcantonio takes the title of GM Brand Communications Group executive creative director.
Neel said: "We identified a need for a pan-European creative leader some time ago, but this became more obvious during the Astra activity. Marc matches the brief directly."
He added: "Lowe Howard-Spink and McCanns are still the agencies of record for Astra. The launch creative assignment went outside IPG, but a lot of work handled by Lowes and McCanns is from a strategic planning standpoint. The agencies are still very heavily involved and expect future Astra assignments."
Marcantonio, who will be based in London and Zurich, said his appointment had been a "collaborative" effort between Lowes and McCanns: "It was a bit like the college of cardinals voting for the Pope. A lot of people were sounded out about it and I found myself being approached. Then a puff of white smoke appeared."
Marcantonio began his career at Volkswagen. He joined Lowes in 1982 as a senior writer rising to creative director a year later. After a spell at the-then WCRS Mathews Marcantonio as executive creative director and deputy chairman, he joined BBDO as deputy chairman.
In 1991, when BBDO merged in the UK with Abbott Mead, he took the job of senior writer with a seat on the board. He was appointed vice-chairman of Abbott Mead and creative vice-president of BBDO Milan in 1997.