Tag Archives: Chris Perry

GM Poised to Hire Global Chevy Chief

General Motors is close to hiring a new global chief for Chevrolet who would oversee all its sales, service, advertising and brand management.

GM is said to be readying an offer to a global executive currently working in Europe outside the auto industry

That would be about right since GM CEO Dan Akerson himself is from outside the industry and doesn’t necessarily believe auto experience is mandatory for key jobs at the automaker.

Akerson has been criticized for moving execs without auto industry experience into key posts. Last fall, GM’s CEO tapped Bob Ferguson to the newly-created position of VP to head Cadillac globally, overseeing retail, marketing, brand management and advertising for the lux brand in all markets around the world.

Ferguson was a former AT&T executive and GM lobbyist, who now reports directly to Akerson.

The new Chevy and Cadillac global chiefs will replace a single global CMO at GM. Last year, Akerson moved Alan Batey to VP-US sales and service and interim global CMO after CMO Joel Ewanick was pushed out.

Ewanick’s hand-picked, right-hand man, Chris Perry, is the current global marketing chief for Chevrolet and was said to be a contender for the new global Chevy post that, like Ferguson at Cadillac, would also oversee sales and service.

GM’s moves to hire non-auto outsiders brings back the nightmare of the 1990s, when it brought in Ron Zarrella from Bausch & Lomb as its brand czar in North America, along with a slew of outsiders for brand managers of individual models. It wasn’t long before he was quickly promoted to president of North American operations. Under the marching orders of Board Chairman John Smale, another non-car guy, GM shifted to an ill-advised and clunky brand management system that wasted billions of dollars trying to create individual personalities for virtually all model , which were being designed by committee. It was a disaster of epic proportions. Zarrella resigned in late 2001, within months after GM hired Bob Lutz to succeed him. Zarrella amazingly admitted in a conference call with reporters before he left that he learned much about the car business in the several weeks he had spent with Lutz at GM. Mind you, this was the head of GM in North America confessing to on-the-job training !

GM doesn’t have time to train an industry newbie for the Chevy worldwide post. The brand is preparing to launch more than 20 vehicles around the world this year as it continues a push to grow globally. The new bowtie chief, whoever it is, needs to be able to immediately start swimming in the job, not jumping onto a learning curve and possibly sinking.

MAKING TRACKS: Abbey Berryman joins Carat USA as VP-director on the Chevrolet account from Vibrant Media, where she was senior sales manager. Berryman, a seasoned media maven, also worked on Chevy’s account as media director at Starcom, GM’s former media shop. Congrats!

MAKING TRACKS II: Colleen DeCourcy is moving to Widen+Kennedy in Portland as co-global executive creative director from Socialistic, the social media shop she started in 2010. The move brings DeCourcy back on the Chrysler account, among others. She worked on the automaker’s digital account when she was chief creative officer of Omnicom Group’s Organic.

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

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.

———————

*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

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.

Musical Chairs Again At General Motors’ Marketing

General Motors quietly shifted a couple of marketing execs around in recent weeks.
Chris Perry, named vice president of marketing for all USA brands at the start of 2011, was moved back to Chevrolet, this time to the new position of global marketing and strategy chief. It’s the third position for Perry since he arrived from Hyundai Motor America about a year ago.
Rick Scheidt, who was vice president-marketing of Chevrolet, has been moved to a new product and pricing job under North American GM Prez Mark Reuss, a GM spokesman confirmed to AutoAdOpolis.
So who takes Perry’s place as the head of all GM’s marketing here?
That would be Joel Ewanick, who was named global marketing chief last December.
Perry told me at Chevy’s cool Woodward Dream Cruise event yesterday that he still reports to Ewanick, but Joel is now focusing more on USA marketing.
“We’re going to start managing the brands as brands,” said Perry.
Okay.
The moves all seem to be good news. GM has recognized it has a problem with consistent advertising that is above average.
Now let’s get to it, shall we?

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.

Chevy Runs Deep

Gotta admit I was skeptical when I first heard a few days ago that Chevrolet’s new ad tag was “Chevy Runs Deep.” What in the world does THAT mean? There were some immediate negative reactions in the online chat rooms that the line was mysterious and would never be as iconic as some of famous ones from Chevrolet’s long-time ad agency Campbell-Ewald – “Like a Rock” for trucks and the classic “See the USA in Your Chevrolet.” Cynics were saying Chevy was in deep all right.

But I changed my mind after sitting through this morning’s press conference in Detroit with GM’s US marketing chief Joel Ewanick, Chevy’s marketing VP Chris Perry and Jeff Goodby, co-chief of Chevy’s new agency Goodby, Silverstein & Partners. Seeing the new work obviously helped put the whole thing in perspective.

The first commercials in the new campaign show off Chevy’s 99-year U.S. heritage with a look to current models and the future. (Some footage was shot recently with vintage cameras to give them an old look). There’s an obvious attempt to tap into emotions, but it isn’t overly sappy. The positioning of Chevy as this country’s all-American car brand is done without waving the flag in your face. There IS a bit of chest-beating – like the line “This isn’t just any car company. This is Chevy.” But thankfully the ads don’t do too much of that and the narration of actor-comic Tim Allen helps.

Take a look at the :60 brand anthem commercial that’s breaking tonight during the World Series broadcast

[http://tinyurl.com/chevyanthem%5D
The three other commercials are all :30s and are part of what Perry called “shared moments” of “those emotional events that kind of connect us as a society.” One shows owners posing proudly with their first Chevrolets. Another is of couples bringing their newborns home in their cars, with Mississippi John Hurt’s soulful rendition of “You are my Sunshine.” The final spot, for Chevy pickups, is a montage of dogs in the trucks, with Hank Williams’ “Move it On Over” (his first big hit in 1947).

There’s not a lot of narration from Tim Allen in those three commercials and that works fine.

The out-of-home posters are so cool that lots of people are really going to want them. I’ll be first in line! There’s also digital, print and social media.

It’s good to see Chevy making a serious play in the ad game after more than a year of ad agency turmoil and insanity. GM needs Chevrolet to do well. Chevy accounts for 7 out of every 10 new vehicles GM sells, Ewanick said today.

Before you criticize “Chevy Runs Deep” remember what Publicis, and Chevy’s old management had planned for an ad tag- “Excellence For All.” Ewanick dumped both the agency and the tag and hired Goodby, Silverstein, which now has roughly 100 people working on the account in Detroit. (See my May 26 post “New Era for GM Advertising?)

We weren’t a fan of Campbell-Ewald’s “American Revolution” campaign that started in 2003, but have reason to believe it was driven by the client. Regular readers know how I felt about Howie Long in Chevy ads and glad to see him gone. (nothing personal, Howie )

“A lot of pressure is put on tag lines,” but they’re all about context, Jeff Goodby said today. “You have to let these develop.”

I know what he means. After Goodby won the Hyundai account in spring 2007 (Ewanick was Hyundai’s marketing VP then) the first big blitz the agency did was a shocker- carless car commercials that asked viewers to “Think About It” and visit the web site of the same name.

I wasn’t an early fan and neither were Hyundai dealers. But after a short time we all got the message and Hyundai is still using that ad tag today.

Stay tuned.

MAKING TRACKS: Michael Jackson, hired in January by CODA Automotive as senior vice president of global sales and distribution, has left the electric-car maker.

 

We’re Putting the Band Back Together

Looks like Joel Ewanick, General Motors’ ad czar, is putting the band back together.
GM’s newest hire is Kevin Mayer, who jumped ship from Subaru of America to join Chevrolet as advertising director in a few weeks.
Who woulda’ guessed that Mayer woulda’ ever leave Subbie, one of the most successful auto brands with some of the best advertising in the U.S.?
Mayer had been at Subaru since March 2007 as marketing director.
The move reunites Mayer with a former co-worker, Chris Perry, wooed away after a decade at Hyundai Motor America by Ewanick last month to become vice president of Chevy marketing.
Mayer, a well-respected car markeeter, worked with Perry at Hyundai when he was as national ad manager. Mayer will actually report to Liz Boone, another Ewanick hire who joined GM in July as director of advertising strategy for all four of GM’s brands from Innocean Worldwide Americas, Hyundai and Kia’s in-house shop.
This industry never ceases to surprise.