Tag Archives: Chevrolet

March Marketing Madness: Nissan, Chevy, Dodge

Nissan’s Snowy Deja Vu
  It’s certainly been a winter for record-breaking snow and nasty weather. So maybe it’s no surprise that Nissan used a snowy street scene with snowmen for a TV commercial to launch its redesigned 2014 Rogue.
The spot, which aired first in Canada and then in the USA touts the all-wheel-drive of the new Rogue compact SUV. TBWA created the commercial, dubbed “Winter Warrior.” Both the :60 and :30 versions show evil snowmen attacking a Rogue driver on a snowy street. The production resembles a thrilling movie chase scene. The motorist manages to escape, naturally, because of the AWD system.
Have a look if you haven’t seen it yet


It is a pretty fun spot that shows off the Rogue’s drivability on snow-covered roads and cleverly sneaks in its three-row seating.
The only problem is that this commercial is so VERY similar to one American Suzuki had a few years back for the all-wheel-drive version of its Kizashi sport sedan. Suzuki’s commercial, called Wicked Weather,” ran in 14 key US markets during the Super Bowl in 2011. So it got pretty good exposure. And it ran tons of other times before and after the Big Game. Even Suzuki’s snowmen, created by Siltanen & Partners, look an awfully lot like Nissan’s.
Judge for yourself

TBWA creatives could have dreamed this one up on their own. Or could it be that somewhere in the back of their brain’s memory file there was a glint recalling an ad with snowmen attacking a car with AWD?
Coincidence? We may never know, but you have to admit the executions are very, very close.
American Suzuki Motor Corp. isn’t likely to make much of a ruckus. The automaker is phasing out its car sales operations here in Chapter 11 bankruptcy court.
Chevy’s Crazy Kids
Speaking of coincidences, a Chevrolet Cruze commercial is getting lots of attention- in a good way. The spot, called “Speed Chaser,” for the Cruze broke during the Academy Awards broadcast and was made for a mere $4,000.
The :60 spot was created by South independent Korean filmmaker Jude Chun, who bested 72 other submissions from around the world in Chevy’s MOFILM , a global community of indie filmmakers. It shows children making the commercial, using props and special effects. The ad has a written on-screen disclaimer: “Children should not play in or around vehicles.” That was probably added by GM lawyers.
In one scene, one of the kids uses his hands to flip over a model-size Cruze, much to the dismay of a young female back-seat passenger. Have a peek

Many ads with cute children are well received with viewers and this one is no different. But Chevy got into big hot water in 2004 for a slick Corvette commercial that broke during the Summer Olympics. Called “A Boy’s Dream,” it showed a young boy putting the sports car through its paces, even taking the Vette airborn as a young girl behind the wheel of another Vette passes him in mid-air going in the other direction. It only ran once. General Motors quickly buckled under pressure from safety and advocacy groups afraid young kids would try to drive their parents’ cars like banchees.
It was a mistake in my mind to pull the ad from Campbell-Ewald in Warren, Michigan because it was clearly a dream sequence. If your kid doesn’t know the difference between reality and dreams you have bigger problems than this commercial.

Yes, this ad also had a written, on-screen disclaimer:  “This is a dream. Do not drive without a license. Obey all traffic laws.”
What a difference a decade makes, eh?
Dodge’s New Celeb Mouth
When it comes to Chrysler Group ads, one can expect to see celebrities.
Now here comes Joan Rivers stumping the beauty of Dodge-brand models in regional dealer ads from Doner in suburban Detroit.

JoanRivers

They’re part of the automaker’s multi-brand “Award Season (sales) Event.”
In the spot for the Dart, Rivers touts the car’s beauty and power. “Look at the leather seats,” she coos. “They are softer than the leather on my face,” says Rivers, who regularly pokes fun at all the plastic surgery she’s had as host of “Fashion Police.”
The spots are airing through April in some 122 markets.
The comic’s appearance in the Dodge ad is shocking to a lot of people. “Are they reaching out to 70-year-olds,” wondered a Facebook poster.
The answer is no.
Rivers, whose career has spanned 5 decades, has managed to keep herself in the public eye and is winning over a younger generation. Rivers and these commercials should generate more positive buzz for Dodge.
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You can follow me, Jean Halliday, on LinkedIn and Facebook

On Twitter: @jhal2001

 

Are Chevy Ads Finding New Roads?

Chevrolet recently introduced its new “Find New Roads” advertising tag with a splashy :90 TV commercial that broke during the Grammy Awards. The montage of cars, each with different music, is visually interesting. In case you missed it, here’s the spot from Chevy’s ad agency Commonwealth, a 50-50 joint venture of IPG’s McCann Erickson Worldwide and Omnicom’s Goodby, Silverstein & Partners

It’s good to see that General Motors’ biggest brand included the sexy Corvette in the commercial. But why are there no crossovers or pickups? Those segments are certainly a big part of the brand’s bread and butter these days. The scenes in the spot are pretty nifty. The robo dog is cool and who doesn’t like deer? The  first part of the Sonic section looks very much like a spot for retailer Target, another Grammy broadcast sponsor.

But the whole thing somehow doesn’t gel as one; doesn’t come together. Who is finding new roads? Where are the new roads?

What probably bothers me most is the boastful line “with the best lineup of vehicles ever….”

Memo to Chevy: Who said you have the best lineup ever? It’s better to use third-party ratings than pound on your chest with that blanket statement. Why? Because there’s plenty of skeptics out there and people are more likely to trust third party sources. Hopefully Chevy will have some testimonial ads touting its “best lineup” ever.

And say goodbye to Tim Allen as the voice of Chevy advertising. He was thrown out with the “Chevy Runs Deep” ad tag that lived for a little over two years, created by Goodby, Silverstein & Partners in San Francisco. That’s OK, you can still hear the actor narrating ads for Campbell’s Soup. You’re now hearing John Cusack doing Chevrolet ad voice overs.

The second spot out there with the “Find New Roads” ad tag is for the 2013 Chevy Traverse.

Check out how the ad shows seating for 8, whether they are real or imaginary

Sorry, Chevy and Commonwealth, but this ad is awful close to Kia’s 2010 Super Bowl commercial for the Sorento, showing the critters from kids’  popular cable TV show Yo Gabba Gabba come to life

It certainly looks like Chevrolet and Commonwealth stole the idea from Kia and their ad agency DavidandGoliath. These sort of coincidences happen from time to time in this business. There was one season in the ’90s when 2 or 3 different car brands featured grocery store parking lots and shopping carts in their commercials.

The longer you’ve been in this business, the more examples of these coincidences you see. Here’s another one, this time it’s Kia, which in recent weeks broke a national spot for the 2014 Sorento. Check out how Kia touted the crossover’s power-folding mirrors and programmable power lift gate in a tight parking space

Of course lots of people would never jam their $23,000-to$33,000 new vehicle into such a tight spot. This Big Idea isn’t so fresh. Check out this commercial from WPP’s JWT (now TeamDetroit) for the 2000-model Ford Focus

And so it goes. If you’ve got any to add, please leave a comment and thanks for taking the time to read AutoAdOpolis.

MAKING TRACKS: General Motors has shifted Craig Bierley from ad director for Buick GMC to the same post at Cadillac. Craig, a Michigan native, has been with GM for 22-plus years, starting there as a financial analyst. He succeeds Molly Peck, who was moved last fall from the Caddy post to USA ad director of Chevrolet. The merry-go-round continues over there.

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and on Twitter @jhal2001

Auto Brands Tease the Big Game

It’s more than a week before the Super Bowl and the carmakers advertising in the Super Bowl are rolling out their teasers and actual commercials. Smartly, the brands are upping their exposure  in social media.

Volkswagen of America just released this 1:30 gem teaser it calls “Get Happy,” starring Jamaican regaee legend Jimmy Cliff

 

Love the crying “cat lady” and the whole spot just makes you smile. VW is very smart to push its own web site, vw.com, where it is offering downloads of this exclusive track and directing viewers to #GetHappy. Kudos to Deutsch Los Angeles.

Of course the teaser isn’t necessarily what VW will air in the game on Sunday, Feb. 3. VW fooled us all last year with a whacky teaser of dogs barking the “Star Wars” theme, then in the game ran a Beetle spot of a dog getting in shape so it could chase the car. I do know VW will air a brand spot in the Big Game.

Here it is

I think I prefer the teaser.

“You can be a little bit crazier with the teasers,” CMO and chief product officer Tim Mahoney, told me. And since he’s arrived at VW in spring 2011 he said he and his team has learned that “you can stretch the conversation” about your brand when you release your Super Bowl teaser earlier rather than later. In 2011, VW got several million views for “The Force” Super Bowl spot on YouTube less than a week before the Big Game.

The VW brand has advertised in the Super Bowl since 2010, when it returned after a 9-year hiatus.

Mercedes-Benz is getting a lot of attention for its pre-Super Bowl video for the all-new CLA starring Kate Upton. Uploaded on YouTube on Jan. 21,  the 1:30  attracted an impressive 3 million views by the middle of the day Jan. 24. The commercial, from Merkley + Partners in New York City, is a spoof of a scene from the 1967 prison drama “Cool Hand Luke,” in which a sexy young thing teases the chain-gang guys with a suggestive car wash. Here’s Mercedes’ take

This seems unusual for Mercedes-Benz, but hey, sex sells, right. R&B star Usher will also be in the final ad airing in the fourth quarter.

Mercedes also went big for an earlier teaser too, buying the rights to the Rolling Stones’ “Sympathy for the Devil,” in this video posted just a few days ago on Jan. 19

Meantime, two car brands- Audi and Lincoln- are letting consumers get involved in decisions for their Big Game commercials.

Starting Jan. 25 at midnight for 24 hours, Audi will have people pick one of 3 endings for a :60 Super Bowl commercial. The story line for the 2013 Audi S6 spot is a teen boy at his prom. Somehow that doesn’t sounds very prom-ising.

This still photo from the spot is about all that’s out there now from Audi

AudiTeaser13SuperBowlDoesn’t give us  much to go on, eh? Should make for a wild and crazy week for Audi’s ad agency, Venables Bell & Partners in San Francisco as they edit the most popular ending into the commercial.

Here’s Audi’s final cut 

Ford Motor Co.’s lux Lincoln brand asked Tweeters in December to help it write the Big Game spot for the new MKZ sedan. Lincoln teamed with Jimmy Fallon in videos, in social media, on Twitter at www.Twitter.com/LincolnMotorCo and and via the site steerthescript.com.

On Saturday, Jan. 19 Lincoln released a 1:15 video of sneak peeks of the spot

Hmmm- tortoises, a motorcycle gang, llamas and a UFO? That’s certainly an interesting combo, eh? But only a disappointing 1,506 views on YouTube by this afternoon, Jan. 24.

Lest we forget, Lincoln said back in early December it had signed a deal with with NFL rushing leader and three-time Super Bowl champ Emmitt Smith as a “brand ambassador” for the MKZ launch. So I fully expect to see him in the final cut on Game Day. HudsonRouge in Manhattan is Lincoln’s ad agency.

Lincoln is NOT really a Super Bowl freshman. Lincoln was an advertiser in the Big Game in the mid-90s. And it had an ad buy for the 2005 Super Bowl for the Mark LT pickup truck. But Lincoln pulled out in the eleventh hour after advocacy groups complained it made light of the Catholic Church’s sex scandals. The spot showed a clergyman tempted by the keys to the 2006 pickup left on the collection plate. Instead, Ford used the ad slot during the game for an existing Mustang convertible spot.

The Toyota brand said weeks ago TV actress Kaley Cuoco would star in its Super Bowl spot. Here she is this :36 teaser, dubbed “I Wish,” arrived Jan. 23 on YouTube with the “Big Bang Theory” star and the RAV4

I don’t think this is going to get much attention for Toyota unless the actual :60 commercial airing in the first quarter from Saatchi & Saatchi in Los Angeles really dials things up. The look of this is too similar to the one the ad agency did for the recent launch of the new Toyota Avalon

You just get the idea they wanted to use this cool camera technique. Toyota also turned to social media to woo people for a chance to be in the commercial on game day. And Toyota is a sponsor of the post-game show.

Toyota finally released the in-game commercial

Hyundai still hasn’t officially released its ads or teasers, although I and other members of the media have seen the rough cuts . (You can check out my earlier blog about Hyundai’s Super Bowl ad plans here

http://autoadopolis.wordpress.com/2013/01/23/hyundais-super-bowl-ads-better-than-2012/

This is my favorite among Hyundai’s two in-game spots, called “Stuck” for the Sonata Turbo

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SohqIBOb03k

Here’s the other in-game spot, just released today, called “Team”

Chrysler Group is again keeping a lid on specifics about its ad plans for Super Bowl. But you can pretty much count on something over the top.

Kia, readying its fourth year as a Super Bowl advertiser, seems late to the teaser party. But word is out it bought a :30 slot in the third quarter for the Forte and a minute-long slot in the fourth for the Sorento. DavidandGoliath, Los Angeles, handles. Here’s the teaser, which was released AFTER I originally posted

Car brands that aren’t returning this year are Chevrolet, Honda and Acura.

It’s a shame they’ll miss the big hoopla.

MAKING TRACKS: Ian Marlowe quietly shifted gears on auto accounts last year from group account director on Audi at Venables Bell & Partners in San Francisco to global brand director at TBW on Infiniti in all  markets. Did former Audi of America Prez Johan de Nysschen, now president of Infiniti globally, cherry pick Marlowe?

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On Twitter @jhal2001

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.

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and on Twitter @jhal2001

Chevy Ads Run Deep/Shallow

General Motors’ volume Chevrolet brand is in the midst of advertising for two key car models: its newest-generation Malibu and the 2013 Spark.

Chevy says the Malibu is the auto industry’s longest-running mid-size nameplate, having first arrived in 1964 as the top model in Chevelle’s line. So the newest generation of the sedan in the competitive mid-size category deserves a top-shelf send-off.

The Spark mini car is aimed at a younger crowd who could be the next wave of loyal GM buyers.

Both cars have gotten decent reviews.

It’s not unusual for a mass-market car brand to have two very different kinds of campaigns for different models. The rub here is the blitz for the Malibu doesn’t do the car justice. The work out there, so far, is shallow. It doesn’t run deep. But the Spark campaign is much more creative and entertaining.

What’s puzzling is the work comes from the same ad agency- Commonwealth, which seems to have a split personality.

That’s entirely possible since Commonwealth was created earlier this year with a 50-50 venture between agencies from two different public holding companies: Omnicom Group’s Goodby, Silverstein & Partners and Interpublic Group of Cos.’ McCann Erickson Worldwide. Both ad agencies were already on GM’s roster, but this new entity is handling Chevrolet in most parts of the world.

The new Malibu campaign is in full swing. Check out this national Malibu television commercial, called “State of Mind”

 There’s nothing compelling about this commercial. It’s like Commonwealth just phoned in this car-on-road, B-roll video with narrator Tim Allen talking about product benefits. And what exactly is this mysterious “Malibu state of mind?”

Malibu is also chasing women shoppers with a separate, integrated blitz featuring fashion designer Isaac Mizrahi. He’s created his new Chevy Malibu collection, which he and Chevy are touting all over the internet in videos like this

His collection is now being sold on Living Social, which has good reach with 70 million members around the world. There’s also an online promotion offering a $5,000 shopping spree. Chevy’s marriage to Mizrahi is interesting to say the least. It’s certainly not the first time GM has partnered with a fashion designer. From 1996 through 2000, GM teamed with the Council of Fashion Designers for Concept:Cure, a fundraiser for breast cancer research. Every year several designers would get a single GM model from across its brands to rework with interior and exterior colors and fabrics. Chevy’s now-defunct Cavalier was a mainstay of Concept:Cure.

GM’s new media agency, Aegis Group’s Carat, put the deal together with Mizrahi. Time Inc. produced some 50 online videos for the blitz- yes 50!. The videos can be seen on Time-Warner’s stable of sites, which certainly makes the whole deal seem like a giant media buying deal, although the effort does include non-Time-Warner sites such as Facebook and Twitter.

Mizrahi said “each piece of my capsule collection was inspired by the features of the car, from the leather seats that feel like they are hugging you, to the ice-blue interior lighting.”

That interior lighting color is the inspiration for his Malibu Blouse, a $140 robin-blue number made of silk crepe.

Mary Kubitskey, Malibu’s advertising manager, said “collaborating with Isaac Mizrahi on this collection has helped us speak to women who embrace style, but want a smart product to make their lives easier.”

Okay, but not sure how a $140 blouse will make anyone’s life easier.

There’s been some hand-wringing on LinkedIn auto groups that this tie-in positions the new Malibu as a “chick car.” Such fretting isn’t warranted, since Chevy is balancing media buys for the Malibu with heavy rotations during NFL and post-season MLB games. It’s doubtful most men will even catch onto the Malibu-Mizrahi marriage. Despite this, the whole tie-in seems a bit forced.

Let’s move onto the Spark.

The little city car, an import from GM’s South Korean operations, first arrived here in 2009. Chevy is now giving the 2013- model Spark a digital-only push, with no plans to take the videos to television.

Since the Spark is a global car, Chevy wanted the videos to have a global feel. So the campaign is themed “Importing our Export.” The first online videos of the 2013 blitz started on YouTube and Chevrolet.com/Spark, featuring ads from around the world.

Here’s one the first, called “Anthem”

The video is a compilation of online spots that are generally fun and engaging. I especially like this video, dubbed “Hurdy Gurdy” that touts the car’s movie-watching capabilities from the USB port

What a creative way to show off that feature!

Although the Spark is aimed at a younger crowd, some of the videos have a lot of cross-generational appeal.

Chevy said the campaign has already gotten over a million views and lots of positive feedback.

Commonwealth hits it out of the ball park for the Spark, but strikes out for the Malibu. A mass market car like the Malibu doesn’t and shouldn’t have to have bland, mass-market advertising.

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*This post first appeared in CNW’s monthly Retail Automotive Summary, a subscriber-only newsletter, as my AdRap column.

MAKING TRACKS: Stay tuned to see who will fill two major car marketing jobs in Detroit. Ford Motor Co. is looking for a marketing chief for Lincoln, after moving  C.J. O’Donnell, group marketing manager, to head marketing of Ford’s electric vehicles. And GM is looking for a global VP to oversee Chevrolet brand management, advertising, and marketing, with sales and service also expected to be part of the job. Earlier this month, GM tapped its lobbyist, Bob Ferguson, to that same newly-created global post at Cadillac. Currently Chris Perry heads Chevrolet marketing globally and is said to be a candidate for the newly-created job.

MAKING TRACKS UPDATE: Don Romano, former CMO of Mazda in North America and president of Mazda Canada,  is now managing director and CMO of  Toyota Saudi Arabia.

You can also find me, Jean Halliday, on LinkedIn, Facebook and Forbes.com

On Twitter: @jhal2001

Who Should Be GM’s Next CMO?

AutoAdOpolis is wondering who General Motors will tap as its new CMO after the automaker unceremoniously forced Joel Ewanick to resign as VP-global CMO.

It will take a while for GM to get to it, which will give this red hot story a chance to cool down and get the media’s attention looking elsewhere. But GM SHOULD find a successor by the end of the year. It needs a strong-willed CMO to pull things together, streamline the ad approval process and improve advertising- fingers crossed on that one.

For now, GM named a sales and ops insider, Alan Batey, as interim chief.

The Brit, who joined GM in 1979 as a mechanical engineering apprentice, had held several key management posts overseas. Batey was only just moved in May to the newly-created post of GM VP for US Sales and Service from the same post at Chevrolet in the US. Nothing in his bio offers any hints at his marketing expertise. But not to worry, since the buzz is that GM will find a new CMO.

 Note to GM and its CEO Dan Akerson: Please don’t pick a sales guy or gal for your new CMO. We’ve been down that road with GM before- and let’s just say it didn’t exactly work out. Also-engineers and finance experts need not apply. GM needs another change, which translates to an outsider.

But what if GM opts to hire back one of its “grads,” now outsiders again? There are several interesting possibilities.

When I first heard about Joel’s ouster, the first name I thought of as a successor was Mark LaNeve, who left GM in 2009 shortly after the automaker emerged from bankruptcy and not long after he was moved to VP-sales from a four-year stint as VP-sales, service and marketing in North America.  But just as GM’s CMO fiasco was exploding, LaNeve was preparing to join Ford Motor’s ad agency, Team Detroit in Dearborn, as COO. Timing is everything, eh?

One of my sources, a former GM ad agency exec, suggested W.W. Brent Dewar, another GM alum. Dewar retired from post-Chapter 11 GM in early 2010 as ChevroletVP-general manager and global co-ordinator. Dewar, a 31-year vet of GM, was one of those execs either loved or not loved by insiders. According to Dewar’s Facebook postings, he certainly seems to be enjoying his times and travels with his family.

What about GM grad Mark-Hans Richer, who left in 2007 to join Harley-Davidson as senior VP-CMO? Richer has the right experience, having worked at DDB Needham Worldwide in Chicago before joining GM in 1998 as ad manager of  Chevy trucks. He has international experience too; he was director for Latin America on the McDonald’s account at DDB.

Richer is willing to take risks, having helped orchestrate a watershed media stunt as Pontiac’s marketing director to give away new G6 cars to the entire audience of Oprah Winfrey’s in September 2004.

His launch of Pontiac’s sexy, Solstice roadster should be a text-book case study. Under Richer’s baton, Pontiac won a slew ad of awards, including two Cannes Gold Lions, Gold Effies and a Super Reggie.

But I don’t think the odds are very good for a Richer return — even if GM would make make him an offer. He’s back in his home town of Milwaukee working on an iconic brand. I really think he’s having too much fun at Harley. Richer spent a week in China earlier this month to ride the Tibetan Plateau on a Harley to help kick off the brand’s 110th anniversary.

Which candidates should GM consider? Please take this quick poll

 

Thanks for your input!

MAKING TRACKS: Congrats to Dan Riley, promoted to VP at Time Inc. from group ad director in Detroit since November 2008. Dan joined Time in 2001 as ad director of People.

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On Twitter: @jhal2001

GM Kicks Off Global Soccer Deal After Budget Review

Detroit-General Motors, which spends some $4.5 billion annually in advertising globally, is betting on soccer- or football, depending on where you live, to boost the image of its volume Chevrolet brand around the globe.

In one of the world’s worst-kept secrets, GM announced today its Chevrolet brand inked a 5-year global deal with the UK’s Manchester United, one of the world’s most popular soccer teams.

GM’s volume brand will first activate the Manchester United deal in China, where the team will play in July’s Chevrolet China Cup against Shanghai Shenhua FC and another yet-to-be-named team.

Joel Ewanick, global CMO at the automaker, said at GM’s Detroit headquarters today that McCann Erickson and IPG sibling Jack Morton Worldwide will work with Chevrolet in China to give away game tickets to fans and invite them on the field during practices, as well as advertise during TV broadcasts of the games. Popular Manchester player Park Ji-Sung, a South Korean native, will represent Chevrolet.

In the U.K. at home games, Chevrolet’ owners will be able to park their cars in a special lot close to the stadium, Ewanick said. Chevy’s name and logo will be on swanky red chairs the players and coaches sit in during games and a spot frequented by cameras during TV broadcasts. There’s TV ads too, natch.

Why soccer and Manchester United?

The sport’s and the team’s numbers are pretty impressive. Ewanick said of the world’s population of 7 billion, 3.5 billion of them consider themselves soccer fans. Manchester has 659 million followers worldwide and more than 25 million Facebook fans. Meanwhile, the NFL has 100 million fans globally. While the 2012 Super Bowl attracted 125 million viewers, a recent, televised  Manchester match had an audience of 400 million. And Forbes ranked Manchester United as the most valuable sports team from 2007 through 2011.

Pretty impressive stats, eh?

The genesis of the deal wasn’t from one of GM’s agencies. Ewanick said the seed germinated at an ad conference last fall in San Francisco, when he met and chatted with Manchester United’s Commercial Director Richard Arnold. “The more we talked about Chevy and where we are strong and they want to grow and where they are strong and we want to grow it was easy to see there were ways for us to work together.”

As part of the Chevrolet’s new sponsorship, it is donating 1.5 million indestructible soccer balls over the next three years to the One World Futball Project. The non-profit will distribute the balls to children in war zones, disaster areas and disadvantaged communities, including in the U.S. Chevy introduced its partnership with this two-minute video featuring Sting

Lisa Tarver, co-founder and COO of One World, said 30 million children globally will benefit from these 1.5 million soccer balls and bring them hope for a better future. Here she is with Ewanick today (He’s holding the durable Chevy-branded ball, while she’s got a so-called “rag ball,” made from rags and leaves by kids in many parts of the world)

The news comes in the wake of GM’s very public, recent move to pull out of the Super Bowl and yank its $10-million annual ad spending from Facebook. Other than 2009 and 2010 in the wake of GM’s post bankruptcy reorganization, the automaker had a major, longtime presence as a Super Bowl advertiser. Chevrolet had 5 ads in both the 2011 and 2012 games, plus  one in both post game shows when it awarded new Corvettes to the MVPs. This year, it gave away 20 new Chevy vehicles and  made a huge digital and mobile play, along with an MTV music video and several online sponsorships.

(SEE AUTOADOPOLIS CHEVY-2012 SUPER BOWL BLOG HERE BOWLhttp://autoadopolis.wordpress.com/2012/01/26/chevys-multi-media-super-bowl-blitz/

Ironically GM raved about the results of its Super Bowl effort after the game.

Ewanick said today that NBC wanted too much of an increase for the carmaker to re-up for the Big Game in 2013. “This time every year we evaluate every line item in our media budget,” he said. Although GM found a great return on its investment, next year’s “significant” hike for the Super Bowl was just too expensive.

Not to worry. Another carmaker will gladly pick up the slack. And although Ewanick said “right now that door is closed” for Super Bowl advertising, “we can always change out mind.”

Ditto for Facebook, where Ewanick said GM spent $30 million a year creating content in addition to the $10-million ad buy. “We’ll continue our conversations with Facebook over the summer.” He said Facebook users found GM’s ads “a little bit distracting” and that the automaker had unsuccessfully proposed to Facebook more than a dozen new ways to try to make the ads less intrusive, more engaging and relevant.

GM won’t spend less on advertising in the U.S. and will spend more outside the U.S. as the automaker tries to grow its volume brand. “We are reapplying the Super Bowl dollars for our 2013 launches” in the U.S., (including the crucial next-generation Chevy Silverado and GMC Sierra pickups), said Ewanick. “It’s not like we’re cutting in North America.” Although his 2013 ad budget  hasn’t been finalized, he said he’s trying to keep it “up a little bit every year.”

Ewanick estimated that GM and its brands spend roughly a third of their total annual ad expenditures here in the U.S. and the rest outside this country.

GM needs to improve its global marketing, said Ewanick, adding “this is something we have not done well.” For example, he wants GM to do better in Brazil and its large Rio de Janiero hub, where GM has a 12% market share. “We should have a 22% share” there, he said. “You’d be astounded by how much Hyundai spends in Brazil.”

MAKING TRACKS: Elizabeth “Liz” Boone, who was hired with much fanfare from Hyundai’s ad agency, Innocean Worldwide Americas in Huntington Beach, California in 2010, has left General Motors, where she had been global director of digital and social engagements. Boone has joined Federated Media Publishing as a VP, leading the auto category. (Ewanick told AutoAdOpolis GM is strongly considering a candidate in Shanghai as her successor)

Follow me, Jean Halliday, on LinkedIn and Facebook

And on Twitter @jhal2001

 

Most Effective Car TV Ads

So what are THE MOST EFFECTIVE national car commercials? Nielsen’s Automotive group announced the winners in Manhattan recently during the press days of the New York auto show. It was the sixth straight year Nielsen has honored the most remembered messages, most  liked along with brand and model recall.

You might be surprised by some of the winners in the bunch for calendar 2011. If you are, please post a comment.

Let’s take a look

Lexus took home the prize in the Best Sales Event category- for its “December To Remember” year-end clearance. Lexus has used this sales theme for years, along with the giant red ribbon. Team One in  El Segundo, California, is Lexus’ longtime ad agency

In the Luxury category, Nielsen tapped Acura for the Best Campaign of the year. The so-called “Aggression” campaign launched the 20112 TL. rp& in Santa Monica is Acura’s ad agency. Here’s one spot from rp& in Santa Monica starring Calvin Johnson of the Detroit Lions


Another other spot in the TL blitz featured Ashleigh McIvor, a 2010 Olympic Gold medal skier

Haven’t been a big fan of Acura advertising for some time. And although I’m not enthralled with the above award-winning TL work, I did really like Acura’s Super Bowl over-the-top commercial this year with Seinfeld and Leno. This more recent spot, for the launch of the new 2013 RDX is one of my current auto favs and shows how Acura and rd& are improving the work

Toyota won Nielsen’s most effective Hispanic TV advertiser for a Corolla spot from Conill called “Memories.” You should be able to see it here

 

The other winner was the Ford brand for the Green Award. (Sorry, but I was unable to secure this spot). The Ford work, featuring an actual owner named Ivan, was created by TeamDetroit in Dearborn, Michigan.

The car TV commercial with the highest Nielsen scores, and thus catapulting it to win Best of Show is… Chevrolet, for “The Salute” commercial

Nielsen Global Automotive’s Exec VP Ian Beavis, described this spot as  “very emotional” and one that “clearly broke through” the clutter.

Chevy’s winning Equinox spot was from filmmaker Ben Alagna, not the brand’s 2011 agency of record Goodby, Silverstein & Partners. Alagna entered a short video contest sponsored by Chevrolet and Mofilm and took third place. The spot also did well at the New York Tribeca Film Festival last year.

While we’re on Chevy, let’s take a look at some new work for the Malibu Eco from Goodby

Anyone else out there who finds this spot too long and too silly?

I prefer this one for the Malibu Eco

Have you seen this commercial for Toyota from Australia themed “Tougher than you can imagine” for the Hilux pickup?

Now that’s a bit of fun, eh mate? Anyone want to predict how effective it will be?

MAKING TRACKS:  Jack Valente, who was the client leader at Mindshare on the Ford account, moved to InStadium as Sen VP-national business development.

Find me, Jean Halliday, on Facebook and LinkedIn or follow me on Twitter @jhal2001

Is Chevy’s “Global” Creative Solution A Good Idea?

General Motors’ Chevrolet brand certainly came up with an interesting solution to its so-called “global” creative review by inking a contract with two agencies from different massive holding companies. (as predicted here January 19)

http://autoadopolis.wordpress.com/2012/01/19/gms-global-gambits/

Omnicom Group’s Goodby, Silverstein and Partners in San Francisco and IPG’s McCann Erickson in New York formed a new 50-50 joint venture called Commonwealth to shepherd creative for GM’s biggest brand. GM was crowing that this is” the first of its kind” global venture and indeed it is. Hmmm- could there be some reason no other marketer has tried this before?

Let’s be clear on one thing: the account is not truly global, since it doesn’t include China, India or Uzbekistan, which are among the world’s biggest and fastest-growing car markets. GM CMO Joel Ewanick said in the phone press conference this week that China and India, both handled by McCann, “are investigating whether or nor they want to come along” under the Commonwealth tent.

Ewanick touted savings of more than $2 billion over the  next five years as a result of this creative consolidation from 70 shops PLUS GM’s recent global media consolidation to Carat, which is part of yet a third big holding company Aegis (More on that later).

Has the scope of the work really changed here for Chevrolet creative? Even if the same creative idea is used in several different markets around the globe, the ads will have to be reworked in other languages and GM’s legal beagles will have to be more involved. Commonwealth bring complexity, not simplicity, to the mix.

There was lots of happy talk during GM’s phone press conference from the involved agency partners. McCann Worldgroup Chairman Nick Brien, chairman and CEO, McCann Worldgroup, called the new Detroit-based shop “a unique opportunity… that will make sure Chevrolet has a global voice.”

Jeff Goodby,co-chairman and creative chief at Chevrolet’s USA agency, dubbed it “a great collaboration.” Goodby, whose shop was hand-picked by Ewanick for Chevy’s US creative account , admitted during the call that the interests of the top brass of the holding companies can “kind of be at odds with each other.” But, he added , that doesn’t extend down the corporate rank and since he knows all the McCann creatives who will be involved personally, “the egos will be checked at the door.”

Easier said than done. Anyone who has worked for an agency creative chief knows how they can be. It’s great these creatives from different agencies know one another. But that’s personal and this is business we’re talking about. I do think these guys will play well together – for a while at least anyway – for the sake of the client and the account.  But how long will it last if one agency’s work keeps winning? Will the egos stay at the door? Let’s be realistic I think not.

GM has tried this dual-company approach in the past, when it had its massive USA media planning and buying split between IPG and Publicis. At the time, GM’s brass said the holding companies’ two agencies would work well together. But in the end, to the surprise of no one but GM apparently, they didn’t play nice with each other at all. The automaker ended up consolidating its media business at Publicis, which just lost its US account to Aegis’ Carat after a global review.

GM’s dual media agency set up all happened before Ewanick arrived. Still, isn’t history there to teach us lessons, especially when things go wrong? It’s the old “live-and-learn” adage, which really just means we have to learn the hard way.

Adding Carat on media into the mix globally to work with Chevy’s hybrid creative agency owned by two other holding companies certainly has the potential to complicate things further. What are the best mediums to use in each country? And will the creatives and media folks agree? Who’s the referee here? If the bottom line determines the buys, will the creatives be happy?

I AM impressed with the creative firepower Commonwealth has assembled. Jeff Goodby is one of four creatives on the new agency’s board and will serve as Commonwealth’s creative chairman.

The other three are:

–Washington Olivetto, chairman of WMcCann and chief creative officer of McCann Worldgroup across Latin America and the Caribbean. Olivetto has won more than 50 Lions at Cannes in just the film category, elected  Advertising Man of the Century by the Latin American Advertising Agencies and in 2009 was inducted into the FIAP’s Hall of Fame of FIAP (Ibero-American Advertising Festival).

- Swede Linus Karlsson, who joined McCann earlier this year as chairman and chief creative officer of its Manhattan and London offices. Karlsson moved to the US in 1996 to work at Fallon in Minneapolis on brands like BMW and Miller Lite before co-founding the successful, indie New York shop Mother.

-Indian-born Prasoon Joshi, who, since late 2006 has been executive chairman for McCann Worldgroup India along with regional creative director-Asia Pacific. He started his ad career as a copywriter, but is also a Bollywood film songwriter, poet and screenwriter. In 2007 and 2008, he won the Filmfare Best Lyricist Award.

Here’s the foursome

(Left to Right: Olivetto; Goodby; Joshi; Karlsson)

Meanwhile, an interesting duo to watch will be the co-managing directors of Commonwealth in Detroit: Joe Garcia, president of McCann Midwest in suburban Detroit and Todd Grantham, Goodby’s account chief in San Fran, who will relocate to the Motor City.

Believe it or not I am rooting for this whole thing to work. I’d like to see Chevrolet get its act together and do well around the world. But the biggest challenge I see in this whole set is : It up simply flies in the face of human nature.

-Jean Halliday-

Follow me on Facebook, LinkedIn and Forbes.com

On Twitter: @jhal2001


Chevy’s Multi-Media Super Bowl Blitz

Chevrolet is significantly turning up the heat on its Super Bowl media buys this year. In addition to three in-game TV commercials, two pre-game and two post-game, General Motors’ volume brand pushed into online and mobile in a big way, including social media plays, a mobile app car-giveaway promotion, an MTV music video and several online sponsorships.

“There’s 11 automakers advertising in the Super Bowl, so we had to figure out how we can make people laugh and make sure it’s enteraining enough to get out information from us- not just during the Super Bowl, but what do we do before, during and after,” Chevy’s Chris Perry VP-global marketing and strategy said today at a press conference at GM’s Detroit headquarters.

Believe me, you’re not going to be able to miss Chevrolet before, during or after the game. This is a smart play by Chevy, which needs to change brand perceptions and improve buyer consideration.

Chevy got the ball rolling Jan. 22 with this national commercial during the NFL NFC Championship game introducing the Chevy Game Time mobil app. Entrants can win one of 20 Chevrolet vehicles and other prizes from Chevy, Bridgestone, Motorola, Papa John’s Pizza, apparel from the NFLShop.com and Sirius XM Radio.

Perry said Chevy got more than 100,000 downloads of the app within the first 36 hours and now stands at over 130,000.

The brand has several Super Bowl sponsorships this year. Chevrolet is the only advertiser for Twitter’s official Super Bowl area, which is already live. Chevy is the exclusive auto sponsor on NBC’s live online streaming of the Big Game and gets ad time during every 30-minute break. Post-Game, it has auto exclusivity as the co-sponsor with USA Today of its AdMeter on Facebook that will let consumers vote on their favorite Super Bowl ads seen on Hulu and YouTube. Also post-game, the marketer is giving away a Chevy Corvette to the Most Valuable Player, as it did last year.

Starting February 2, look for short, online snippets on video sites like Hulu and YouTube starring actor Rainn Wilson of “The Office,” taunting viewers to watch Chevrolet’s Super Bowl ads on its YouTube channel. Chevy’s Group Advertising Manager Rick Martinek, who shepherded the brand’s entire Big Game effort over the past four months, said Wilson appears in 15 short promos ranging from 5 seconds to 15. Here’s one

Let’s get down to the nitty gritty – the actual television spots. Perry said he hasn’t decided which ones will air and several of the ones he showed today to reporters were still rough cuts. Chevy won’t upload the commercials until next week.

One that will be seen on Game Day for sure is a minute-long commercial that broke recently called “Happy Grad” for the Camaro Convertible and is from New York independent filmmakerZack Borst , 26, who entered Chevy’s Route 66 promotion last year

 Chevy’s USA creative agency of record Goodby, Silverstein & Partners, did most of the other commercials for the Super Bowl. The Sonic is getting its first television advertising since its online-only launch last September. Goodby’s one-minute Sonic spot, called “Stunt Anthem,” shows a compilation of all of the wild non-televised exploits for the Sonic, including this so called Kickflip

The commercial directs viewers to Sonic’s LetsDoThis.com site. The music in this spot is “We are Young,” from the group Fun, which since Chevy tapped them for this project has seen this song rising on MTV’s charts to numero uno last week and was featured on the popular Glee TV show.

Arriving Super Bowl weekend will be a new MTV video featuring the Chevy Sonic and the popular band OK Go, a decent way to get the car before its millennial target.

Curiously, McCann-Erickson’s Detroit-area office created one of Chevy’s Super Bowl spots. The :30 commercial, for the Sonic, dubbed “Joy,” shows how much fun computer-generated bugs have riding on the car’s front grill.

It’s a real gem that I predict will do well in the polls.

But back to Goodby, which also developed two versions of a :30 spot for the Volt called “Aliens,” in which five little green men are checking out the car’s technology at night in the garage of a frustrated owner wearing his bathrobe.

In the first version he moans “Come on guys, this is the third time this week.” And the aliens get a bit weird when his wife shows up.

The wife is absent in the second version. Instead the Volt owner gets miffed when he realizes the visitors have told other aliens about the car.

Tim Allen provides narration at the end of both : “From the coolest car on the block to the smartest technology in the galaxy.”

On Saturday morning at about 10:30 am EST, Chevrolet started a poll on social media asking fans to vote for their favorite of the two spots.  Chevy didn’t give voters  much time. The polls closed at 11:59 PM today. The spot with the most votes will be air Super Bowl Sunday.

Chevy has posted its :60 commercial for the Silverado pickup from Goodby.

Take a look


Love the Twinkees’ gag
.

Hundreds of Chevy dealers are also carrying the look and feel of the national Super Bowl blitz, with the help of Promoboxx in Boston.

Perry He predicted the whole multi-media shebang will generate 1.5-billion…yup BILLION….impressions with consumers from Jan. 22 through the week after the game. “That’s probably conservative,” Perry added.

Overall it appears Chevy will make a much better showing as a Super Bowl advertiser this year than in 2011.

And that’s good news for Chevrolet….and GM.

 MAKING TRACKS: Chuck Hipsher just started this week as creative director of FKM Advertising in Houston. Hipsher worked on Chevy trucks for almost three years as senior VP-creative director at Campbell-Ewald in Warren, Michigan until 2008.