Tag Archives: Cadillac

2012 Car Ad Review

As the curtain opens this week on 2013, it’s time for AutoAdOpolis’ annual year in review. Which carmakers and ad agencies executed outstanding efforts, which had some decent doubles and triples and which were just plain so-so?

Let’s start with the good news.

Chrysler Group scored big with its launch work for the return of the new, modern Dodge Dart. Ad agency Wieden + Kennedy in Portland, really hit it over the fence with this commercial that also debuted the tag line “New Rules”

Not only is this spot clever and witty, the art direction really catches your eye. Plus, this ad actually gives viewers a real sense of the brand.

Chrysler also gets high marks for the commercial for Fiat USA, dubbed “Immigrants” from The Richards Group. The :60 spot, which broke in the summer, hilariously depicts the next-gen 500 arriving to our shores- the hard way.

Like the Dodge spot, this is fun to watch and should put a smile on your face. It’s a perfect way to convey the car’s Italian heritage, which wasn’t the case in 2011 when Chrysler partnered with Jennifer Lopez for Fiat ads- a total disconnect that looked more like a music video for her new song than a spot for the car.

Both the Dart and 500 spots spotlight music from popular artists, a tactic preferred by Chrysler Group CMO Olivier Francois to grab viewers’ attention. The song in the Dodge ad is “No Church in the Wild” by J-Z and Kanye. The Fiat commercial pushed the new “Sexy People” single from Pitbull featuring Arianna. In neither case do the songs overpower the commercials.

Speaking of smiling, how about Volkswagen of America’s brand blitz that bowed with the :30 spot called “Smiles,” showing people of all ages laughing. There are no cars in this brilliant commercial from Deutsch in Los Angeles. It really captures the essence of the brand with the line “it’s not the miles, you how you live them.” The spot directs viewers to the whyvw.com sites, where they can post stories about their VWs or learn more about the cars from other owners and from VW.

Quite a brave move for a car marketer to not show a car in an ad, so kudos to VW’s CMO and chief product officer Tim Mahoney and his right-hand man Kevin Mayer, VP-marketing.

One of the most memorable spots that didn’t show a car was Jeep’s award-winning 1994 commercial, dubbed “Snow Covered” from the now-defunct Bozell in Southfield, Michigan.

Audi of America, which has been one of the industry’s best and most consistent advertisers in terms of creative, hits it out of the park again early in 2012 with a spot called “Ahab” for its all-wheel-drive Quattro system. The commercial spoofs Herman Melville’s epic sea captain character in search of an elusive whale with a northern tow truck operator and his frustration with never “hooking” an Audi with Quattro stuck in the snow. A very smart and entertaining execution from Venables Bell & Partners in San Francisco.

While we’re on Audi, the brand’s Super Bowl “Vampire” commercial for its LED headlights did the best among all the top 10 spots in the 2012 Big Game, ranking 7th for Most Liked, according to Nielsen consumer research the best showing for any carmaker. The commercial was certainly over the top and tapped into the nation’s current craze for vampires.

Audi also ranked highly in my 2011 review. 

It was good to see American Honda Motor Co. raising the creative bar for both its brands in the Super Bowl. The Honda CR-V commercial starred Matthew Broderick spoofing his role in the flick “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off.”

The commercial was one of the best from RPA in Santa Monica for Honda in a long time and blew away the earlier launch work for the CR-V. The spot ranked 10th Most Liked among all Super Bowl ads by Nielsen research,.

The automaker’s first-ever Super Bowl commercial for Acura was also a hit. In the Big Game, a media outlet where advertisers need to go big or be invisible, Acura met the challenge with a funny spot for the NSX starring funny men and car nuts Jerry Seinfeld and Jay Leno. USA Today’s AdMeter, based on consumer voting for their favorite Super Bowl ad on Facebook in 2012, ranked Acura’s spot number 13 and Honda’s 16.

Unfortunately, Honda and Acura’s over-the-top Super Bowl commercials weren’t enough to keep their ad agencies, RPA and sibling rp&, both in Santa Monica, out of the hot seat. Both accounts recently went into review.

Toyota Motor USA’s Lexus brand also made some inroads into improving creative with the launch of the new 2013 ES and first ES Hybrid. One of the launch commercials, dubbed “Split World” grabbed your attention with special effects and a script that made sense. Bravo to Brian Smith, VP-marketing at Lexus and kudos to Team One

Sister brand Toyota still isn’t there yet. But Toyota’s “Real Owners. Real Stories” TV commercial for the Camry, with online video assets and accompanying web site is not only well done, but is getting tons of input. Toyota figured out how to tweak a year-old site for the Camry launch and took it up a few notches

When it comes to Ford Motor Co., its Ford brand has had some of the most consistent work in the category all year. The advertising from TeamDetroit in Dearborn is visually interesting, makes relevant points and is strategic without shoving people’s faces into it.

Take this launch commercial for the 2013 Fusion. Great way to bring to life the Big Idea of standing out from rivals, which disappear.

Let’s look at Hyundai Motor America. After a pretty decent run with some of the best ads in the industry, seems too many of Hyundai’s ads are getting a bit formulaic. The brand’s Super Bowl commercials, from Innocean Worldwide Americas in Huntington Beach, California, were nothing to write home about.

There are some signs of improvement with the September launch work for the 2013 Sante Fe, themed “Don’t Tell” mom or dad

Shows there are still signs of creative life at the ad agency and at Hyundai.

I’d like to recognize Cadillac as one of the most improved auto advertisers. After a less-than-stellar appearance in the 2012 Super Bowl, General Motors’ lux brand blew out of the gates with impressive summer launch work for the new ATS compact sedan. The work, from Fallon, Minneapolis, was themed “Cadillac ATS vs. The World,” showing how the car performs on some of the ing on and some of the planet’s wildest and most challenging roads. Cadillac smartly posted lots of behind-the-scenes videos on YouTube, as well as links on Facebook and elsewhere.

Keep it up! We’d like to see all of Cadillac’s sibling brands take it up a notch also. Although there were some break-out ads for Chevrolet last year, there simply haven’t been enough of them.

Note to GM and its ad chiefs: Please take some risks!

Looking forward to seeing more break-through work from all auto advertisers in this New Year.

MAKING TRACKS: Steve Rosenblum recently started as general manager of Publicis Kaplan Thaler in Manhattan, which handles the account for the Tri State Honda Dealers Association. Rosenblum had been consulting since leaving General Motors in late 2011 after 15 years in various ad and marketing positions.

Follow me, Jean Halliday, on LinkedIn and Facebook

and on Twitter @jhal2001

Nissan’s Olympic Gold

Nissan Motor Co. Ltd. made a lot of noise at its global headquarters today about  one of the most popular athletes of the 2012 Summer Games in London.

The Japanese automaker inked a deal with Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt, who not only extends his brand ambassador deal with Nissan’s hot GT-R sports car, but he gets the outrageous title of global title “Director of Excitement” at the company.

WOW! Fun stuff.

Nissan flew Bolt in for the hoopla and posted s lots of videos (in Japanese) of his arrival at the airport, leaving the airport in the GT-R and the more formal events with corporate brass in Yokohama. Said Bolt : “Racing is my inspiration, and I want to help Nissan become an even more exciting brand for everyone.”

The carmaker said it will develop a special, limited-edition GT-R although no specifics were given. Nissan presented Bolt with a unique, gold GT-R, which will be auctioned online to benefit his Usain Bolt Foundation.

Details of that auction are due later this month and will benefit children and young adults in Jamaica.

Not usually a fan of celebrity tie-ins, but this one works since the GT-R is such a niche model. Nissan sold just 968 of them in the US in the first 9 months of 2012.

The links are almost too obvious, really. Bolt has a slew of Olympic gold medals & his special version of the car is gold. Bolt is called the fastest man in the world and the GT-R is crazy fast. The 2013 model churns out 545 horses, while still meeting ultra-low emission vehicle (ULEV) standards.

Nissan first hooked up with Bolt early this year. Within months, Bolt, a GT-R owner since 2009, was appearing in airport ads for the car and online videos like this one for Nissan,  themed “What if you had no competition”

Smart move, Nissan.

MAKING TRACKS: General Motors Chairman-CEO CEO Dan Akerson tapped Robert Ferguson to the new position of vice president to lead Cadillac’s growth and development globally. Ferguson, 53, joined GM in 2010 and was VP for global public policy. He’ll now be responsible for Cadillac marketing, brand management and advertising around the world.

I’m sure Ferguson is a very smart and decent man. But the fact of the matter is Cadillac needs and deserves a proven player to lead it forward. There’s no time for learning curves here. That boat has sailed and Cadillac is already late.

Follow me, Jean Halliday, on LinkedIn, Facebook, Reddit and Forbes.com

And on Twitter:  @jhal2001

BIG IDEA FROM HYUNDAI’S MOTHER SHIP

South Korea- based Hyundai has been on a roll in the past several years, with much-improved products that have boosted sales and lifted the brand’s image around the world.

Why mess with success, right?

Not exactly.

The marketing “gurus” at the Mother Ship in Seoul decided it was time for Hyundai’s first worldwide ad campaign to build a consistent global message for the brand. Or maybe they felt it was time to flex their authoritative muscles or justify their positions.

What did they come up with?  A new brand campaign themed  “Live Brilliant.”

Really?

Take a look at this lame attempt to stir emotions, just one of four :60 television commercials in the series

How does this differentiate Hyundai from others? Not much. Seems you could just pick another car brand and insert it into this spot. Also don’t see how this ties to Hyundai’s stated strategy to reinforce its new brand direction of “Modern Premium.”

Who uses the word “brilliant” anyway, unless you’re talking about your kids?

Believe it or not, Hyundai says it spent a year doing leg work preparing for this, including consumer research. Then it shot the commercials over 10 days in Los Angeles earlier this year.

And the Mother Ship spent some dough on this, hiring award winning German director Juergen Bollmeyer and buying “Departures,” the song from “Like Crazy,” which won the Grand Jury Prize for Best Drama last year at  Sundance.

What Hyundai’s Mother Ship DIDN’T do was consult in other regions with its marketing chiefs or officials from Innocean, the ad agency owned by Hyundai’s controlling family. Instead, the Mother Ship simply forced this work down their throats, regional strategies be damned.

Mind you, Hyundai in North America just launched its new ad slogan “New Thinking. New Possibilities” about 14 months ago. It takes a lot of time for the public to grasp new ad themes. Sometimes people never catch on to ad tags, especially if they are inane, which too many of them are.

We’re not a fan of the Mother Ship dictating ads to other parts of the world.

Here’s some examples. From Japan, Fuji Heavy Industries Ltd. decided in 2011 it was time for its Subaru of America arm to use the new ad theme “Confidence in Motion,” which has zero emotional appeal. From Germany, Volkswagen insisted in 2009 that VW of America use “Das Auto” to convey German engineering. DUH!

Hyundai’s “Brilliant” idea?

I think not.

MAKING TRACKS: Michael Jackson is returning to Motown and he’s bringing his year-old ad agency with him.

His year-old shop, Jackson & Partners, is relocating from Las Vegas to Midtown Detroit and expects to create 30 news jobs in the next three years. Jackson’s partners are Detroit-area native and auto creative chief Gary Topolewski, along with Randy Easterbrook, an indie communications consultant who has done work for many big companies, including General Motors and Mini.

 Jackson joined GM in 2000 as executive director of sales and marketing support, but he rose to VP-marketing and advertising for North America in 2006, overseeing a $2-billion-plus ad budget.  He left GM and Detroit in 2007.  Since then he was CEO of SPEEDSHAPE, worked at digital shop Sarkissian Mason and more recently VP of global sales and distribution for Coda in California.

 J&P’s current client roster includes auto dealers on both coasts, plus brand-building work for a nationally-known jewelry group.

Mr. Easterbrook is in the process of moving from New York.

Topolewski’s experience includes Jeep at Bozell, where he and his team won a Gold Lion at Cannes; Cadillac at Leo Burnett; and Nissan, Taco Bell and Apple at TBWA/Chiat/Day.

Good luck, guys!

MAKING TRACKS TOO: Bob Rickert has joined the Denver-area office of HMH as executive creative director, handling accounts that include Nike, Freightliner, Detroit Diesel and Dr. Martens. Rickert had stints at David&Goliath on Kia and Saatchi & Saatchi on Toyota.

You can find me, Jean Halliday, on Facebook and LinkedIn and also on Twitter @ jhal2001


Help Wanted: Luxury Brand Advertising

Someone call the ad police!

There’s too many crimes being committed against some luxury car brands.

One example is Toyota’s Lexus brand, a proven player that recently topped J.D. Power’s 2012 CSI ranking in the lux won segment for the fourth straight year.

Here’s the brand’s latest television spot for the new 2013 GS from TeamOne in El Segundo

 

Sorry, folks, but this commercial is a big snoozer that doesn’t do justice to this brand, just like the spot Lexus ran during the Super Bowl this year.

Could these yawn-worthy ads be part of the reason buyer consideration for Lexus is down 11% in the first two months of the year compared to a year ago, according to CNW’s Purchase Path Studies? Lexus also made a big deal about its official marketing partnership with Sports Illustrated magazine’s swimsuit property. It was a no-brainer for Lexus to have a four-page spread in the issue.  Bu the brand also backed several related events,  offered custom integrations for digital tablets and created an iPhone game.

The wildest tie-in was the racetrack Lexus created in the shape of swimsuit model Tori Praver’s body. Consumers can watch online videos of pro drivers zooming around that so-called TORI 500 track or use a camera app to put Tori in their own photos.

No secret Lexus is trying to attract younger males, saying in its press release that the annual SI Swimsuit hoopla reaches more than 70 million people and more men between the ages of 18 and 34 than the Super Bowl.

Lexus isn’t the only offender.

Let’s move onto Cadillac, which  is still airing this commercial for the CTS-V coupe from Fallon that broke last fall

Oh dear. We get the main point Caddy is trying to make here in this :60 spot. But why waste precious seconds with the silly valet tipping scene? That part I don’t get…and if you do please explain it to me.

Despite a slew of lackluster advertising, including a poor showing in the Super Bowl, the GM brand has managed to increase buyer consideration by 6% in January and February vs. the same year-ago period, CNW says.

Congrats Caddy, but please juice up your advertising.

Another lux maker with so-so messaging is Acura, which has had a long string of irrelevant ads with the exception of its over-the-top Seinfeld-Leno Super Bowl spot for the NSX.

Acura just posted its upcoming commercial for the 2013 RDX on YouTube, part of a multi-media partnership with Marvel’s “The Avengers” flick, arriving May 4 in theaters

rp&, a division of the Honda brand’s ad agency RPA in Santa Monica, handles Acura

Consideration for Acura slid by 19% in the first two months of 2012 compared to a year ago, CNW says.

Making some progress, but not there yet, is Nissan’s Infiniti brand, which just launched its new JX crossover with new work from TBWA/Chiat/Day.

Have a gander

Not a big fan of features’ advertising, but the backup collision intervention system seems worth crowing about.

Infiniti couldn’t resist  throwing in the third-row seating in the same spot too!

After losing its way for a while, BMW has made great progress with the launch work for the new 3 Series. Love the humor in this one from Kirshenbaum Bond Senecal + Partners

What a fun way to highlight a feature and sure to get chuckles from men who aren’t on the best of terms with their mothers-in-law.

Glad to see BMW making a strong push back to its “Ultimate Driving Machine” ad tag.

As far as the offenders, in at least one case, which I won’t call out, the top marketer is really a sales pro. Moving sales folks into marketing slots is a common industry tradition. But it’s not smart. As I have often told top OEM execs : “You wouldn’t  put a finance expert in charge of design, so why do you  think it’s OK to put a sales person in the top marketing job?”

Sales and marketing, although  usually lumped together in one silo, require  vastly different skill sets. And in today’s increasingly complex communications world, companies with experienced, trained ad pros certainly seem to outperform  their rivals.

It is amazing to me that OEMs still fail to realize this.

Follow me, Jean Halliday, on Facebook and LinkedIn

or on Twitter  @jhal2001

*This post first appeared as Jean Halliday’s Ad Rap in CNW’s monthly, subscriber-only newsletter.

AUTOMAKERS UNVEIL SUPER BOWL ADS

 

The countdown clock is ticking until the kick-off of Super Bowl XLVI and more auto advertisers are revealing their Game Day commercials. Noticeably absent in the pre-game hype- AGAIN this year- is Chrysler Group. Last year, Chrysler was mum until its 2-minute “Imported From Detroit” spot for the Chrysler 200 aired during the game. Sometimes surprises are good. This year, Chrysler will have a :90 commercial that we’ll all just have to wait to see.

American Honda Motor unleashed a long version of its Super Bowl commercial, starring actor Matthew Broderick in a modern-day version of his movie “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off.”

This 2:25 video shows Broderick calling in sick and escaping in his all-new, fourth-generation 2012 Honda CR-V to have some fun.

This is a fun spot that’s bound to break through the clutter during the Big Game this Sunday. Honda’s longtime agency, RPA in Santa Monica, tapped big-time director Todd Phillips (The Hangover, Old School) for this work.

The commercial is one of the best RPA has done for Honda in a long time and is far and away superior to the first launch work for the new CR-V that broke at the start of the year, including this one from RPA, called “Proposal”

Honda’s CR-V Super Bowl commercial is also tied into the Leaplist. Honda.com site, where there’s a CR-V Leap Year Contest to win a new CR-V and other prizes. Honda has smartly tied in with social media, encouraging its Facebook fans to find and comment on the dozens of “Easter eggs” in the spot reminiscent of the original Bueller flick. That link is http://www.facebook.com/hondacrv

And here comes the Toyota brand, which is advertising in the Super Bowl for the first time in three years.

Toyota is pushing the seventh-generation 2012 Camry with this entertaining commercial called “Reinvented” from Saatchi & Saatchi Los Angeles

Although this version is a minute long, this spot will be sliced to a :30 commercial for the Super Bowl and one of two :30s the brand will have in the game. Toyota says this commercial is scheduled to air in the third quarter and will be backed by a social media play kicking off after the spot airs. Viewers will be encouraged to go to Twitter and tweet with the #Reinvented hashtag about what they’d like to see reinvented. Toyota will respond to select tweets in real time with a creative depiction of that idea.
Toyota doesn’t have a history of exciting advertising, so this one is a breath of fresh air.

Not so for Kia, which has only released a sexy teaser for its Super Bowl commercial, starring Victoria Secret model Adriana Lima for the new Optima

We’ll see if the old adage “Sex Sells” works for Kia in this case. Don’t bet on it. We much prefer Kia’s “Epic” entry in last year’s Super Bowl for the Optima, also from DavidandGoliath in Los Angeles.

Kia’s affiliate, Hyundai is back for its fifth straight year as a Big Game advertiser. Hyundai said it will have five spots on game day: two during the pre-game, one in pre-kick slot and two in the game. Innocean Worldwide Americas in Huntington Beach, California, is the brand’s creative agency of record.

Hyundai is using the very-recognizable and uplifting theme from the movie “Rocky” for this minute-long spot, called “All For One,” about team work at its Montgomery, Alabama plant

Then there’s this one, called “Think Fast,” for the 2013 Genesis Coupe, which comes with a 348-horsepower, V-6 engine

How about this one for the 201-horsepower Veloster Turbo?

Sorry, but a guy getting mauled by a cheetah isn’t that funny.

Hyundai is also patting itself on the back for its big win for the 2012 Elantra as Car of the Year at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit earlier this month with this commercial, called “Victory Lap”

Look for that one to air sometime before the game starts.

Lastly is Cadillac, which is pre-launching its new ATS with this snoozer called “Green Hell” from Fallon

There are certainly a lot of car ads made at Germany’s Nürburgring, so this commercial won’t break through the clutter. If you’re going to advertiser in the Super Bowl- Go Big or don’t bother!

Late Edition Addition: Honda’s Acura brand is pulling out all the stops for its first appearance as a Super Bowl advertiser. The brand has a minute-long spot featuring Jerry Seinfeld, who tries his hardest to move from number 20 to first on the list to get the new, upcoming 2012 NSX. There’s appearances by the Soup Nazi, Jay Leno, an, an alien and dancing holographic monkeys. You can see the longer 1:52 version here

Acura says it wants to strengthen its brand awareness. No doubt. The brand sold 123,299 new vehicles in the USA last year, an 8% drop from 2010.

The spot, called “Transactions,” was created by Acura’s agency rp&, a sibling of Honda’s longtime shop RP&A in Santa Monica.

OUCH! And Chevrolet has taken direct aim at Volkswagen’s already-released Big Game commercial teaser, with dogs barking out Star Wars’ theme song.

General Motors’ volume brand has uploaded a dog video of its own, from the popular OK Go group. Chevy teamed with the band for a new MTV video arriving this weekend featuring the Sonic. Chevy doesn’t call out VW by name, but in describing the video on YouTube says “we’ve all seen videos with talented dogs. Chevrolet’s favorite came from OK Go last year.”

Let the game begin!

(See my earlier posts for Chevrolet, Volkswagen, Lexus and Suzuki’s Bowl entries)

MAKING TRACKS: Anthony Kuhn joined Everist Genomics Inc as Director of Strategic Alliances. Tony has lots of ad agency experience, having worked at TBWA, Lowe and Bozell.

FOLLOW ME, JEAN HALLIDAY : on Facebook & LinkedIn

On TWITTER @jhal2001

GM’s Advertising Is Disappointing

General Motors has had plenty of time to get its advertising house in order.
It’s been more than a year now since the General moved the account for its biggest brand, Chevrolet, to San Francisco’s Goodby, Silverstein & Partnership. And the one-year anniversary of Fallon, Minneapolis, taking over the Cadillac account, is coming up.
Overall, the work has been a huge disappointment, with only a few shining moments.
A shame really, since what better time for GM to really kick their advertising into high gear. GM should have used this time to clearly define each of its four brands, differentiate them and try to win back American buyers with compelling communications in all channels.
And a bigger shame when you also consider how much GM is spending. The automaker shelled out $542 million in U.S. measured media in the first quarter of this year, according to Kantar. That was enough to rank GM as the nation’s third largest advertiser. GM outspent the three other carmakers in the top 10 – #7 Chrysler; #8 Toyota and #9 Ford. GM outspent Ford by $243 million, Toyota by $235 million and Chrysler by $223 mil.
Arguably, at least two of those other automakers are getting more bang for their ad buck.
Now the grapevine is buzzing that Goodby Silverstein is in the hot seat with GM.
And Fallon had an exodus of its Detroit staffers on Caddy, with less than 10 of its original 22 staffers still standing a couple of months ago. Some of them split on their own; others were pushed.
Is there a Chevy or Cadillac ad that impressed any one of you and made you say “I wish we had done that?” I doubt it.
Even Joel Ewanick, GM’s VP of global marketing, seems frustrated.
During a recent interview on Autoline Detroit, Ewanick confessed he’s been hard on all of GM’s agencies, including Leo Burnett USA on Buick and GMC. (Ads for those two brands aren’t setting the world on fire either.) He said the reason he’s tough on them is he’s looking for consistency in the messaging.
While Joel handed kudos to Fallon for “nailing” Caddy’s new ad theme of “red-blooded luxury” in the first TV commercial early this year, he admitted “we had some trouble getting the (other) ads ready,” and those others were “just okay.”
Yeah, like this one- still airing- called “Raindrops” for the CTS-V. Narrator Laurence Fishburne tells us in the spot: “ When you build the world’s fastest production sedan, you consider everything. Like at 190 mph, even a simple raindrop becomes a powerful force. The Cadillac CTS-V, every detail built for speed and performance, right down to the windshield wipers. We don’t just make luxury cars, we make Cadillacs.”

Windshield wipers? Really? And this has exactly WHAT to do with Cadillac? You gotta wonder what they were thinking.
Actually Sherry Weitzman, national ad manager of Caddy, explains in this behind-the-scenes’ YouTube video that the big idea behind the ad is to show the brand’s attention to detail, craftsmanship and excellent engineering.

But is that what the commercial is really doing?  Not even close.
This YouTube video has only gotten 5,500 views in six months- not exactly a viral marketing miracle by any means.
Seems the Fallon guys just wanted to use their fancy camera. And the commercial is too similar to a Cadillac Super Bowl spot about 7 years ago showing a car driving through rain in slow motion.
At least Fallon didn’t propose an ad with sofas driving down the road, as Bartle Bogle Hegarty in New York did during its short tenure on the account. BBH figured just because THEY thought of Cadillacs that way, the rest of the world still did. Hello!
Speaking of Fallon, Ewanick admitted “it’s never the agency’s fault, totally.” (A main truism of the business rarely verbalized by CMOs) So, he said, the client made people changes at both Fallon and inside GM.
Meanwhile, on Chevrolet, Ewanick gave Goodby a grade of “a solid C” overall. (Ouch!) Although he added “thanks to the Super Bowl, it was closer to a B.”
Were we watching the same Super Bowl with all those so-so commercials for Chevrolet?
At any rate, what compelling advertising have we seen for Chevrolet since then? Can’t think of any? Me neither.
Chevy should be in high gear by now with its new messaging and ad tag “Chevy Runs Deep.” But we’re simply not seeing it. That’s a damn shame. Let’s hope Goodby hits it out of the park for Chevrolet’s big centennial communications.
“You’ll see the work get better,” said Ewanick.
Let’s hope so.
* THIS POST IS ALSO MY CURRENT “AD RAP” IN CNW RESEARCH’S LATEST PULSE EDITION OF RETAIL AUTOMOTIVE SUMMARY.

MAKING TRACKS: MARTIN COLLINS has recently returned to Ford Motor Co. as a general sales manager after 4+ years at Group One Automotive, where he was most recently regional VP in the West. He’s moved back to Michigan to work in Dearborn. Marty started his career in 1985 at Ford where he held a variety of assignments within Ford Division including marketing, field operations, franchising, product development and strategy. He also worked internationally, where he was Northern Regional Manager for Ford of Britain for two years. Welcome back, Marty!

Buick Ties with March Madness and Non-Profits to Crystallize its New Positioning of Luxury

The “new” General Motors has gotten around to Buick advertising – finally – and is hoping Americans, starting tonight, get a clearer impression of the brand’s positioning as approachable luxury. And Buick will lean heavily on March Madness, the annual tournament that stirs up ten of millions of college basketball fans. Buick’s sibling, Pontiac, had been a long-time March Madness partner, but Pontiac is gone now.
Buick is a leading auto sponsor of the NCAA’s March Madness tourney. The first  TV commercial with Buick’s new positioning breaks during tonight’s broadcast, also available on truTV.com. Publicis Groupe’s Leo Burnett in Troy, Michigan, is national creative agency of record for Buick and handled. Actor Kevin Bacon is the new narrator for the brand’s ads. There’s no tag line; Buick says it doesn’t need one. Having no tag is probably a good thing considering all the silly ones it used starting in 2001. Remember “It’s All Good?” Probably not.
Yes, it’s certainly time for Buick to start tooting its own horn and making some relevant noise after dallying around most of the past decade with branded-engineered models and a revolving door of ad campaigns and ad tags. Buick’s newer, sleeker-looking models in recent years are a huge leap for the brand and attracting tons of positive ink from auto enthusiast mags. Problem is not enough people know .
Ads in recent months haven’t been very impressive, but GM had been busy developing new messaging for its volume Chevrolet brand and longtime lux brand, Cadillac. GM’s fourth vehicle brand, GMC, is in the best shape in terms of knowing what the brand stands for and able to communicate that message.
As part of Buick’s “approachable luxury” positioning, it has joined a corporate partnership with the NCAA, Turner Sports and CBS Sports to focus on the accomplishments of former student athletes who are now giving back to society and their communities. The auto brand and the NCAA will tell inspirational stories of these athletes in a new series dubbed the Buick Human Highlight Reel. Several :90 video stories of individual former athletes went live last night on ncaa.com/buick, where visitors are asked to submit other former NCAA athletes making a difference.

buick

Turner is the producer, although some online stories are from Buick’s digital agency Digitas. Online user-generated ad community Zooppa will also contribute to the 50-to-60 stories Buick expects to eventually have on the site, the brand’s ad director, Craig Bierley, told me.
Buick is also the exclusive title sponsor of a 30-minute TV show of select Human Highlight Reel stories that will air prior to the televised Final Four semi-final games April 2. The year-long initiative will extend into other NCAA sports, including football this fall, as well as the lacrosse championship and women’s soccer.
Buick is teaming with the the non-profit Samaritan’s Feet, founded by former U of North Dakota basketball player Emmanuel Ohonme, who attended today’s press conference at a downtown Detroit YMCA. Ohonme said Wisconsin missionaries gave him his first pair of shoes when he was 9 years old in his native Nigeria, which helped him dream of bigger and better things that eventually led him to this country. The NCAA has been a supporter of his non-profit and already helped donate shoes to more than 3 million youngsters in 40 countries. He is one of the featured video stories on the NCAA’s Human Highlight microsite with Buick.
Buick started giving away the first of 150 pairs of shoes and socks to needy Detroit kids today at the Y after the press conference.

Ohonme and GM's Chris Perry (foreground) Give Detroit Kids New Shoes

During the long Final Four weekend in Houston, Buick, the NCAA and National Association of Basketball Coaches have partnered to donate 2,011 pairs of shoes and socks during the long Final Four weekend in Houston.
The GM brand will make a major splash in social media for the Human Highlight Reel with NCAA-sponsored apps on Facebook, Foursquare YouTube and Twitter.
Buick’s-NCAA Facebook app will let college round-ball fans post their team via a “March Madness badge” on their profile. The app will keep track of each team’s fan base.
Buick expects to generate a billion consumer impressions over the three weeks of the Final Four tourney, said Tony DiSalle, who became VP of the brand’s US marketing on Feb. 1.
Having two luxury car brands is going to be a tricky balancing act for GM, as it would for any automaker.
But DiSalle, Bierley and Chris Perry, VP of all GM’s marketing in this country, are all singing from the same song sheet when it comes to how the automaker plans to differentiate the two brands. They each told me that Buick owners have long been an inclusive bunch and like to be part of the community rather than above it. They’re referring to the good old ’50s, when Buicks were very popular purchases for doctors and lawyers. Still, the brand’s peak year was 1984, when Buick sold 941,611 cars in the U.S.
Meantime, the GM guys say Cadillac owners are more individualistic and more entrepreneurial.
Sounds good and probably looks even better on paper. Now let’s see how it plays out in real life.