Posts Tagged ‘Chevrolet’

Super Bowl XLV–Will the auto industry carry the day?

Wednesday, January 26th, 2011

Last year, I asked the same question and I think the answer was “no.”

Audi’s terrific A3 TDI commercial led the automotive pack, ranked 6th of 65 by USAToday but all the others were also-rans. Here’s how the automotive participants ranked in last year’s advertising beauty contest:

A dismal showing by the auto industry.  Despite being one of the highest interest product categories with some often fantastic products, we seem to be unable to captivate the Super Bowl audience.

To be clear, getting highly ranked in USAToday’s poll has nothing to do with judging a TV commercial’s effectiveness, it simply is a measure of a panel of consumers’ reactions and “how much they liked each ad.”  But it is without question, ‘the game within the game.’  As a Super Bowl advertiser you spend $3MM or so for 30 seconds and the chance to get noticed and liked. It’s an opportunity to get tongues around the world wagging about your ad, your brand and maybe even your products.

But to make that happen, you have to do something amazing. (more…)

Buick behaves unexpectedly.

Monday, December 13th, 2010

When General Motors was going through bankruptcy many industry observers were surprised that Buick would be one of the four brands that would be part of the new company (along with Chevrolet, Cadillac and GMC). The explanation was that the Buick brand was very successful and respected in China. What was left in the “un-said” was that Buick was a basket case in the United States.

Since coming out of bankruptcy there has been lots of discussion and coverage regarding Chevrolet and Cadillac but relatively little about Buick.  Chevy represents 70% of the company’s business and certainly warrants attention.  No one was really surprised that shortly after arriving, Joel Ewanick hired Goodby, Silverstein & Partners to help re-build the Chevy brand.  Cadillac, the company’s luxury brand also seems to garner a lot of attention.  With bold designs, terrific new products, another new agency (Fallon), the folks at Cadillac believe that they are in a position to finally break into the Tier 1 portion of the luxury segment.  Marketing for Chevy and Cadillac has been stepped up and through November sales are up 18% for Chevrolet and 38% for Cadillac.  All good.  There’s also quite a bit of anticipation for the Superbowl as one or both of these brands will launch new campaigns in the big game.

While Chevrolet and Cadillac seem to grab the headlines, Buick has been quietly going about its business and making unexpected progress in the US market.  In fact, Buick is the fastest growing GM brand; it is also the fastest growing automotive brand in the United States with sales +54% year to date.

It would be easy to attribute Buick’s success entirely to product, after all the new Lacrosse and Regal are pretty darned impressive (see my earlier blog post) but that would be unfair to the marketers.  The folks responsible for marketing at Buick continue to find interesting ways to let us know our expectations of Buick are misplaced and that we should think of the brand differently.

This starts with the television advertising that clearly establishes an unexpected competitive set for Buick:

(more…)

Chevy Runs Deep

Wednesday, October 27th, 2010

Chevrolet’s new advertising was previewed today in Detroit at Goodby’s new offices and breaks officially on the World Series tonight.  We learned a few days ago that while not a “tag line” the new work would include the theme “Chevy Runs Deep.”

Here’s the first commercial:

Already the pundits are criticizing the campaign.  Advertising Age has an article headlined “Criticism of the new Chevy theme runs deep” which does a very nice job of  chronicling the pundits’ negative opinions and I’m sure by tomorrow morning there will be more.

Much of the criticism stems from the idea that Chevy is trying to capitalize on “patriotism” or “American heritage.”  Other folks are implying that there is nothing new here, that in fact Campbell Ewald did this sort of work for Chevy for years and reference “Like a Rock” and “Heartbeat of America” as proof points.

Got it.  It’s true, the advertising is referencing the fact that the Chevy brand has long been a part of the fabric of America.   (more…)

Chevrolet breaks new Cruze television ads.

Wednesday, September 8th, 2010

This morning Chevrolet’s campaign for the new Cruze broke.  Two televsion commercials produced by Goodby with Tim Allen as the voice-over.

Nothing earth shaking here, nicely produced  and very product focussed, the commercials clearly make the point that the Cruze is a car that is surprising people. “Get used to more” is a nice line and a huge improvement over “Excellence for all.”   More than anything else the tone and manner sets these executions apart from recent Chevrolet work:

These commercials certainly make the point that the Chevrolet Cruze offers a lot versus the competition and is worthy of a look but they do not offer a big “ah ha” regarding the positioning of the Chevrolet brand.

It will be interesting to see where they go from here.

Cadillac breaks new ground in auto industry marketing with an old idea.

Friday, August 6th, 2010

I was speaking with a colleague the other day and we were trying to think of an instance where an automobile manufacturer (or any brand for that matter) looked back into its own history and re-introduced a brand tagline that had been thrown in the bin.

We couldn’t think of any and we began to talk about what a mistake that was.  We were able to rattle off a number of instances, where great automotive brands walked away from positioning or taglines that perfectly encapsulated their brands.  Mercedes-Benz left behind “Engineered like no other car in the world.”  Volkswagen threw away “Drivers wanted.”  Chevrolet moved away from “Heartbeat of America.”  A few months ago, BMW, one of the most consistent marketers in the industry, looked as if they were moving away from “The Ultimate Driving Machine” in favor of  “Joy.”  In the case of BMW, this has been hotly denied and “TUDM” still appears at the end of the ads but it has certainly been demoted.

Why does this happen?  Why does it seem so difficult for marketers to realize that they have a real asset that needs to be protected and nourished?  A lot has to do with the constant pressure to increase volume and the find something new to “take the brand to the next level.”  The other factor is the constant churn of marketing management and agencies.  New marketing leadership needs to demonstrate that it is moving the business forward and that means doing something new.  Every agency is genetically coded to do something “new and unexpected” to burnish their reputation.  Bringing back an old idea can also be seen as a copout.

So it struck me this morning when I read an article in Advertising Age where Joel Ewanick was interviewed and he said that Fallon (Cadillac’s new agency) had developed the brand’s soon to be introduced tag-line: “The new standard of the world.”

(more…)

Corvette vs. Jeep Grand Cherokee. Ads not product.

Thursday, July 22nd, 2010

We wouldn’t expect one of the buff books to have a comparo between the 2011 Corvette and the 2011 Jeep Grand Cherokee but in marketing circles there’s an active discussion going on comparing their new advertising.

Chrysler’s new ad for the Jeep Grand Cherokee first appeared about a month ago and seeks to stir Americans’ pride in our heritage as builders and innovators:

Chevrolet’s new ad for Corvette appeared last week on the All-Star game and draws a parallel between our country’s space program and the 2011 Corvette:

Some critics have gone as far as saying that Chevrolet should not have aired the Corvette commercial because it was too similar to the Jeep spot.  There are certainly similarities between the executions. (more…)

The “Chevy” vs. “Chevrolet” dust-up. What it means for a global brand.

Friday, June 11th, 2010

The last twenty-four hours has been full of articles, blogs, tweets, surveys, all questioning the wisdom of the folks at Chevrolet who were apparently seeking to remove “Chevy” from the brand’s lexicon (NYTs 6/10/10).  Predictably, people were shocked and the Chevrolet folks accused of varying levels of insanity, some even questioning their patriotism.

Thankfully, as the day wore on, Chevrolet made an effort to explain that it had been mis-understood (see the press release) and that the memo leaked to the New York Times had been “poorly worded.” Unfortunately for the folks at GM, this whole incident has just added fuel to the fire for those folks who want to find fault with every thing the company tries to do.  If you take the GM folks at their word, what they were trying to do really isn’t crazy.

At the heart of this dust-up is a real issue.  How to most effectively manage a global automotive brand.

Here’s a video of Alan Batey explaining that indeed “Chevy” is just fine but that “Chevrolet” is the global brand:

Put aside Mr. Batey’s understandable defensiveness and his desire to assure us that “Chevy” is OK.   (more…)

New ideas from Chevy and Cadillac. We’re still waiting for a brand idea.

Wednesday, May 12th, 2010

Last year, fresh out of bankruptcy, General Motors ran the first ad with Ed Whitacre.  At the time, GM rationalised the Whitacre ad by saying:

“The spot will set up a wider TV campaign featuring commercials about each of GM’s four surviving brands: Chevrolet, Buick, GMC and Cadillac.”  Automotive News, 9/10/09

The implication being that the brand advertising would clarify the brands’ identities. Almost three heads of marketing later, we still have yet to see an ad  or an idea that positions these brands clearly in the marketplace.  Three of the four GM brands have not put a stake in the ground telling us what they stand for (GMC is the exception and that work was done years ago).

Last week it leaked out that Chevy was going to have the tag-line “Excellence for all.” That idea has been roundly criticized as a strategy looking for an execution.  We used to describe an idea like this by saying its “strategy is showing.”  The point of course is that it lacks passion, emotion, bravado, something magical that makes you feel something about the brand, rather it’s as if research wrote the line. Chevrolet is truly one of America’s most storied and iconic brands, surely it deserves better.

Predictably the industry was quick to blame Publicis (Chevrolet’s new agency), I think that’s misplaced.

Ironically, exhibit number 1 in defense of Publicis is the new Cadillac campaign from Bartle Bogle & Hegarty.  Just announced yesterday, here are a couple of the commercials: (more…)